DA bemoans eThekwini tree department staffing woes

Tree felling at Rhodes Memorial.

Tree felling at Rhodes Memorial.

Published Nov 9, 2022


Durban — The DA has called on the head of parks, recreation and culture department, Dr Simphiwe Ndlovu to urgently address staff shortages and lack of resources within the department in preparation for the festive season.

This follows the DA’s oversight visit to the district two, parks department that services the entire of Phoenix, Inanda, Mount Royal and Mount Moriah areas.

In a statement he sent to the media on Tuesday, DA eThekwini councillor Tino Pillay said, “it is reported that a shortage of staff has been a thorn in the department’s side for many years now”.

“District Two that is originally supposed to have a staff complement of approximately 270 personnel, now has a mere 185 staff members,” Pillay said.

He continued to say the staff simply could not compete with the increasing demand for basic services such as grass cutting and tree pruning among others.

Pillay further said, “it is of concern that the ‘tree felling’ department has one operational truck, and has a backlog of around 1 800 complaints for Phoenix alone”.

Pillay said vacancies within the department were not advertised and finally fell on deaf ears when brought to the attention of senior management.

Pillay said the main contributing factor to the inefficiencies of District Two is lack of resources and failure in efficient management.

“These range from theft of equipment… which is either stolen, vandalised or broken… to delays in the Supply Chain Management (SCM) processes.

“This equipment cannot be replaced (if stolen) as there is no insurance covering this presently.

“Trucks and vehicles are lying for months on end at the workshop, allegedly waiting for replacement parts,” Pillay said.

“There are around 10 trucks that are assigned to the depot, but only three are operational.

“Four senior staff members are sharing one vehicle for oversight duties.

“One law enforcement officer to Phoenix, Inanda and the surrounding areas is a task too big for any one person”, Pillay elaborated.

In conclusion, Pillay echoed his frustrations by saying, “the DA will continue exposing and fighting for measures to address these glaring challenges as we head into the festive period”.

eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the DA is on a relentless campaign to mislead the public.

“The respective unit is fully equipped to discharge its responsibilities.

“As a result, we are ready for the festive season,” Mayisela affirmed.

Daily News