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Durban - Durban mayor James Nxumalo’s delivery of meat parcels to the poor in eThekwini backfired on Saturday when angry residents started a fire in protest at his presence.
Nxumalo and his helpers, some riding in a four-ton truck laden with the beef parcels sponsored by a Turkish company, zipped through the city as part of a mayoral outreach programme.
First stop was the Kennedy Road informal settlement, before moving on to Sydenham, Amaoti, KwaMashu, Isipingo, Austerville, Chatsworth, and then ending off the outreach drive at Inchanga, Nxumalo’s home town.
Residents of Kennedy Road barricaded the roads and burned rubbish to vent their anger over the council’s failure to deliver houses.
“I don’t need meat – I need a house,” said Sandile Sebetha.
“The mayor must not bluff us with meat, thinking he can get my vote. I’m not happy. I’ve been waiting so long for a house,” he said.
He said he had rushed to hear Nxumalo speak about housing, but had been disappointed when he heard about the parcels.
Thulsile Mpanza said she would give her package to a needy family.
“I think the mayor is trying to get our vote with meat.
“The ANC must not disrespect people who are living in shacks.”
Resident Philani Jali said ward councillor Bhekisisa Ngcobo encouraged residents to register for the elections, but wouldn’t entertain questions from the public.
A policeman at the scene said the protest was started by non-ANC residents who did not receive a goody bag.
A spokesman for eThekwini Municipality, Thabo Mofokeng, said the city had donated meat to 1 250 poor families.
“The families were identified by their ward councillors,” he said.
“This is part of the mayoral outreach programme that reaches out to the poor.”