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City squabble over DSW’s new vehicles

The embattled Durban Solid Waste (DSW) Unit has received its first batch of vehicles that were purchased at a cost of R183 million.

DSW on Nandi Drive after the looting. File Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Jun 28, 2022

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Durban - The embattled Durban Solid Waste (DSW) Unit has received its first batch of vehicles that were purchased at a cost of R183 million.

The first batch arrived last Friday and another batch is expected this coming Friday. There will be around 30 vehicles in total that will service different areas of waste management, including refuse collection and landfills.

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DSW was in desperate need of new vehicles. In 2020, the unit was allocated more than R500m to purchase new vehicles.

It recently revealed that it was spending more than R1.5m a month on private contractors to collect refuse in uMlazi township because it did not have capacity internally.

A launch event to unveil the new DSW vehicles yesterday fell apart amid allegations of a “territorial” dispute between the mayor Mxolisi Kaunda and his deputy, Philani Mavundla.

An invitation to the event shows that Mavundla, who chairs the municipal Human Settlements and Infrastructure committee, which has oversight on DSW, was scheduled to oversee the unveiling.

Councillors who had been present for the launch said before the event could get under way it was abruptly cancelled. They claimed it was because Kaunda wanted to do the unveiling himself.

The mayor's spokesperson, Mluleki Mntungwa, when asked if the mayor had blocked the event, said the mayor had been made aware of the new vehicles on Friday and would announce the date for the launch.

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According to the invitation circulated among councillors, Mavundla was set to preside over the unveiling.

It said: “the chairperson, Councillor PG Mavundla, would like to invite you to join him at the unveiling of the new DSW fleet for waste collection”.

DA councillor Mzamo Billy said the fiasco was another indication of the tension between the two leaders.

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“Myself and IFP councillor Gwala arrived at the event. We called the chairperson of the committee and deputy mayor, Mavundla, to enquire, and he told Gwala that the event was now cancelled because apparently the mayor wanted to be the one doing the unveiling of the new trucks.”

IFP councillor Sandile Gwala said the manner in which the event unfolded was disgraceful.

“We are in trouble as a municipality. We were already at the venue when we were told that there has been a “miscommunication” between the office of the mayor and that of the deputy mayor, and the mayor wanted to do the unveiling himself, hence the event has been postponed.

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“It is disgraceful that we are led by people who cannot lead as a team but only as individuals,” said Gwala.

Asked specifically whether the mayor had blocked the scheduled event as he wanted to preside over it, Mntungwa said he was not aware about the event scheduled for yesterday.

“I am saying to you, the mayor was briefed about the vehicles on Friday, I cannot comment on something I do not know anything about.”

Attempts to speak to Mavundla were unsuccessful yesterday.

THE MERCURY

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