Ethekwini Municipality responds ratepayer concerns over unkempt state of city
Durban - The eThekwini Municipality has blamed errant contractors and budgetary constraints for the poor maintenance of the city's verges and around the prime tourist sites of Moses Mabhida Stadium and the cycle lanes of the Greyville Racecourse.
Ratepayers and residents across the city have complained that the grass in the neighbourhoods was not being regularly cut, manhole covers in the city were missing and not replaced on time and that potholes took weeks to repair.
Their complaints were highlighted on Thursday when the Daily News ran pictures sent by an angry ratepayer of the unsightly state of the grass growth around the prime tourist precinct of Moses Mabhida Stadium and along the cycle path around the Greyville Racecourse which was paved to the tune of millions of rands. The pictures paint a telling story of weeds shooting out the paving around the cycle track and around the city's iconic stadium.
Ethekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the concerns of residents had been noted
He explained that the grass cutting and verge maintenance was not undertaken by one department within the city, nor the city alone.
He said the city currently has a budget to cut the verges only 8 times a year commencing in September – through to April when the growing season eases up for the Winter low growth.
"The average cost to ratepayer per cut (of unmaintained verges is around R12.5 million per cut). This is also undertaken on a cut and leave policy," he said.
Msawakhe said that city would ideally like to cut once a month (12 times) a year.
"However, the cost to the city and ratepayers would require a substantial increase in the budget, which would have a knock-on effect to the city's rate base," he said.
Asked why the prime areas like Moses Mabhida and the bicycle lanes around Greyville Racecourse were allowed to be overrun by weeds, Msawakhe said the city has a weed spraying contract in place but some of the co-operatives assigned to undertake this function, "have failed to deliver on the service awarded to them".
"The city is following the correct routes to get this addressed. In the interim, the Parks, Leisure and Cemeteries Staff to try and catch up with the backlogs caused by the non-performance of the contractors awarded to undertake this task. The city wishes to apologize for the non-performance in this area," he said.
He added that the city tried to repair missing manholes and repair potholes as soon as it is reported.