Diplomat turned eThekwini municipality critic slams city for partnership with Cameroon port city Douala as not well thought out

Published Feb 10, 2023


Durban - A South African diplomat who was once deployed in the US city of Los Angeles has slammed eThekwini municipality for forging ties with the Cameroonian city of Douala, saying it won’t bear any positive results.

Cyril Sibusiso Ndaba’s scathing commentary was sparked by a recent visit of officials from Douala to Durban.

During that visit, eThekwini’s head of intergovernmental relations, Eric Apelgren, hailed the visit, saying they would learn from each other.

However, Ndaba, who recently lambasted eThekwini municipality for allegedly not taking advantage of a partnership with Los Angeles, labelled the partnership a joke.

“What a joke this is!

“Douala in Cameroon out of all places instead of a first world city that LA is.

“I wish you had ever been to Douala yourself to see what infrastructure they have there. What is there to share, even when you consider their port?

“Eric Apelgren is hiding his incompetence. He has misled Exco (the municipality’s executive committee) all these years,” Ndaba charged in a statement sent to IOL.

Ndaba claimed that eThekwini cannot learn any good practices from a country run by a dictator who does not even live in his own country because the infrastructure is bad.

“Cameroon is the last country you can learn good practices from.

“From Africa's longest-ruling dictator, President Paul Biya, almost 40 years in power, no elections, bushmeat factories.

“Their president Biya lives in Switzerland, and he only comes to his country once to open Parliament and go back.

“How much of the ratepayer's money was spent on this delegation?” Ndaba asked.

However, eThekwini municipality’s spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela defended the partnership and said it was worth it.

“We just received the mayor of Douala - the port city in Cameroon.

“There are businesses from Durban and Douala have been doing business exchanges through our annual business fair.

“There is exchange of ideas on infrastructure development within both cities.

“Both mayors have committed to work together to mobilise funding for both cities' investment projects and climate change intervention support projects from C40 and the Africa export bank.

“There is ongoing port management exchanges. Ndaba must refrain from spreading disinformation,” Mayisela said in response to Ndaba.

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