Premier Sihle Zikalala Picture: Theo Jeptha/African News Agency(ANA)
Premier Sihle Zikalala Picture: Theo Jeptha/African News Agency(ANA)

KZN Premier puts officials on the clock after La Mercy ratepayers raise concerns about service delivery

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published Oct 21, 2021

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Durban: KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has given officials seven days to provide a detailed report addressing the concerns raised by ratepayers living in areas north of the city.

Zikalala said the departments had made commitments but could not deal with specific issues.

"These departments must come back within a weeks’ time to deal with each issue and develop an action plan," he said.

Zikalala met concerned residents living in Ward 58, which covers Canelands, Verulam, Waterloo, Umdloti, La Mercy, Westbrook and eMagwaveni in oThongathi, earlier this week.

Residents quizzed the province's leadership about the need for formal houses for the communities living in sprawling informal settlements. They said the people there were living in appalling and squalid conditions, without basic services such as water, electricity, sanitation and refuse removal.

Other issues raised include drainage challenges allegedly emanating from the Anton Lembede Mathematics, Sciences and Technology Academy in La Mercy, environmental degradation, maintenance of verges along the M4, unemployment and crime.

The residents said they were unhappy about the continuous overflows from sewerage networks and leaks.

They requested the construction of a pedestrian bridge, houses for residents living in informal settlements, a clinic, community halls, and sports and recreational facilities.

Zikalala apologised to the community. He said the poor relationship between the community and councillor had compounded the issues.

"We need to find a way of building organic development which should be based on a very structured approach. We must build a relationship that must be sustained. We should establish a structure that will link the local ratepayers’ associations with the war room. With the formation of this structure we will be able to move forward," he said.

Zikalala said the departments must come up with a plan to unlock opportunities to support SMMEs in order to empower the locals.

"We will try to meet with the structure that will be formed to meet four times a year, so all issues can be dealt with systematically. We cannot deal with community issues overnight; there are issues that are dealt with as part of short-term plan, medium-term plan and long-term plan.

“We must be practical in our approach but that must start with building community trust.”

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