Durban - Durban's grass may be legendary in the coffee shops of Amsterdam but the weeds that are shooting up from the pavements and are growing wildly on the city's verges have residents up in arms.
Ratepayers and residents across the city complain that the grass in the neighbourhoods is not being regularly cut leading to an ugly state of unkempt verges.
In addition, many residents complain that manhole covers in the city are missing and not replaced on time. Potholes take weeks to repair which compound the unkempt look of the city that prides itself on being a tourist destination.
This week, an angry ratepayer sent the Daily News pictures 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.
"It is quite embarrassing actually," Mdu Nkosi the leader of the IFP in eThekwini Municipality and a member of the city's executive committee said.
He said the city's Parks and Recreation Department was a "concern" and one of the most under-performing clusters.
"They are neglecting their core function. Resident in every part of the city are complaining about how the grass does not get cut and how untidy their areas area," Nkosi said.
He said it was particularly embarrassing that the city does not regularly maintain the precinct around Moses Mabhida Stadium, an iconic spot on the city's landscape and a drawcard for international and local tourists.
"Imagine what people think when they come to Durban and go to Moses Mabhida and are confronted by weeds and long grass? We have people from countries in Africa and people from Europe who meet in Durban and they want to visit the stadium. How are we supposed to attract investors when what they see when they drive around is uncut grass," he said.
Nicole Graham, leader of the official opposition in the eThekwini Municipality who also sits on the city's executive committee agreed.
"Basic services and basic line departments aren't functioning as they are supposed to be. We look specifically at DSW and Parks Department they are not performing as they are supposed to be. A lot of the weed and grass cutting that a managed by Parks are given to contractors and there are performance problems with those contractors and this is the reason that Parks gives us. But it is simply unacceptable, especially in areas that are supposed to be looking very good. The only areas where you will find where there is a good level of service are areas where there are UIP's ( Urban Improvement Precincts) or special rating areas," she said.
IOL sent eThekwini Municipality spokesman, Msawakhe Mayisela, a set of questions on the matter on Tuesday and reminder on Wednesday. A media liaison officer said they would "revert" but at the time of publishing at noon on Thursday, no response had been sent.
Here are the five questions the city did not answer:
1) What is the city's response to these very legitimate concerns by residents?
2) Does the city have the budget to cut grass?
3) Why are prime areas like Moses Mabhida and the bicycle lanes around Greyville Racecourse allowed to be overrun by weeds?
4) How often is the grass cut in the city?
5) What reasonable period of time can ratepayers expect potholes and manhole covers to be repaired?