War of words erupts between ANC and DA over delivery of aid to storm affected areas in uMngeni Municipality
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Durban - uMngeni Mayor Chris Pappas and the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Human Settlements Jomo Sibiya are involved in a bitter war of words over the delivery of aid to Howick residents that were recently hit by a storm.
The office of Human Settlements said Pappas was politicising the delivery of aid, while Pappas accused the MEC of dishonesty and undermining the office of the mayor.
The dispute is over Sibiya’s visit to the uMngeni/Howick area to assess the storm damage. The DA has alleged that Sibiya had ignored the office of the mayor when he visited the area.
The DA alleged that Sibiya had visited areas under UMgungundlovu affected by the storm and had requested mayors from the affected areas to accompany him, except Pappas.
The DA took charge of the uMngeni Municipality after the local government elections last year.
The insinuation being made is that Sibiya had deliberately excluded the office of the mayor because it's a mayor from the opposition party.
“We reject any attempt to politicise the rollout of human settlements by any leader of society. This includes politicians across all political parties,” said Sibiya in a statement.
“We wish to single out Pappas. Shockingly, he has embarked on a campaign to monopolise this municipality into his “No-Go-Area Fiefdom” despite the fact that hundreds of families are without shelter,” Sibiya said.
Sibiya said he had received a “bizarre” telephone call from Pappas who had questioned why he and the mayor of UMgungundlovu District visited “his” municipality to assess damaged houses without his permission.
“We wish to confirm that there were councillors from uMngeni during this visit,” he said.
Pappas fired back, saying the MEC had blatantly misled the public by stating that he observed all good inter-governmental relations protocols.
“The office of the Mayor was never contacted. In fact, calls and WhastApp messages were sent to the MEC, none of which were answered despite being read. Eight different numbers were contacted, ranging from the MEC’s personal assistant, head of ministry and the Premier’s office in trying to ascertain the MEC’s programme and intention.
“As the leadership of the uMngeni Municipality, we welcome any visitor to the municipality. It is common courtesy and good inter-governmental practice for office bearers to notify the office of the mayor when conducting events in a particular municipal area.
“One must then question why the MEC failed to communicate with the municipality’s official structures as per inter-governmental protocols,” he said.