KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development,Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Sihle Zikalala. PHOTO: Motshwari Mofokeng / African News Agency (ANA)

PIETERMARITZBURG  - KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development,Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Sihle Zikalala has apologised to the Pietermaritzburg business community over the decline of governance and service delivery in Msunduzi Municipality over the past months, and said this was the reason that provincial government had decided to place the municipality under administration last week.

"It is correct that on behalf of the ANC (African National Congress) I should apologise to all of you, especially the business community and the community of Pietermaritzburg. We should apologise and commit ourselves to rectify this," said the MEC in reference to the decline in governance in the KZN capital.  

His apology to local businesses, which included the Msunduzi Economic Development Agency (Meda) and the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business (PCB), on Monday came just days after Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube held an imbizo in Caluza to explain to residents why the city was placed under administration.  

Zikalala told the audience of small and big business people that the ANC-led government had observed that for a while Msunduzi Council has been dysfunctional and there was failure to hold councillors accountable and this in turn had affected service delivery in many parts of the city.  

"There has been unacceptable, ongoing failure, of Council to resolve service delivery issues like waste management, roads and street maintenance, as well as electricity services," said Zikalala.    

He noted that Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas had fallen behind Durban and Richards Bay when it comes to economic development and said this was reflecting poor political leadership, but promised that this would now be addressed as the KZN capital was important.

"We are in full agreement with MEC Dube that  it is time for a fresh start in this municipality. After a long period of instability and poor results, the people of Pietermaritzburg deserve that we give them a municipality they can be proud of through our hard work and flawless performance," said Zikalala.

He added that government was hopeful that a ministerial representative who will be coming to Msunduzi Municipality to implement a comprehensive recovery plan would ensure that KZN capital returns to its former glory.  

The MEC commended local both the PCB and Meda over their continuing effort of raising issues that concern them and commitment to working with government, labelling the business formations the real patriots. 

Aside from heads of government entities such as the Provincial Growth Fund and Trade and Investment KZN , the gala dinner was also attended by uMgungundlovu District Mayor Thobekile Maphumulo, Msunduzi Mayor Themba Njilo, local and district councillors.

- African News Agency (ANA)