La Mercy residents desperate for service intervention from KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala
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DURBAN - THE La Mercy Ratepayers and Civic Association raised several service delivery issues with Premier Sihle Zikalala during his visit on Saturday.
A follow-up meeting is expected to take place on Monday. In a memorandum by the association outlining the problems, which included issues in the informal settlements of Pholani and Lungelani, it said they hoped some of their long-standing issues would be addressed and resolved urgently.
The association claimed stormwater drainage at the Academy of Maths and Science was poorly designed resulting in excessive flow, sediment deposition and flood damage to the roads and surrounding properties. This had occurred during the past two storms, and while interim measures were being implemented, long-term solutions had to be developed and implemented urgently.
The association called for the provision of housing, the prevention of illegal electricity connections, and the regular removal of solid waste in Pholani and Lungelani.
They said the population in the area was increasing and there was a need for primary and secondary school facilities. Further, they said the academy has been built on the land of the La Mercy Primary School, and this had resulted in the loss of local primary schooling opportunities for residents’ children. Local children had to travel by bus to the Seatides Combined School in Seatides.
Association president Ravi Ramsundar said they were also concerned about the poor state of the popular La Mercy Lagoon and recreational area, which had resulted in a security threat for visitors.
“Visitors and fishermen are under constant threat of car theft and robbery. This area has the potential to attract local tourism if improved and secure. A lifeguard service is needed to prevent drownings as a matter of urgency and before the December holidays,” he said.
Other problems residents were experiencing were continuous overflows from sewerage networks and leaks. Ramsundar said no solutions were being presented or implemented.
“Currently, raw sewage is seeping into the lagoon and in turn the river and on beaches. We have challenges with the pollution in our Mdloti River (Verulam Wastewater Treatment Works) and on local beaches from the overflowing and blocked sewer pipes.”
Ramsundar said there were very limited employment opportunities in the area, particularly for the youth. Through its efforts, the association had secured approximately 15 learnerships for young people in the motor retail industry.
He wanted to see development and investment in small, medium and micro enterprises, and more job opportunities, in the area.
The association said the infringement of environmental laws and regulations, and “inappropriate” businesses in the residential area, presented a challenge.
“The La Mercy area is a haven for peace and environment-loving people. The La Mercy residents would like to see the sustained, inclusive development of the area. This partnership must go beyond the elections for future generations.”
Lennox Mabaso, spokesperson for the premier’s office, said the association’s concerns were noted, and a follow-up meeting was scheduled.