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KZN protesters after mayoral diss

By Sharika Regchand Time of article published Nov 23, 2011

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Pietermaritzburg residents who marched to the city hall on Tuesday to hand over a memorandum were incensed when the mayor did not turn up to receive it.

Their key demand was that 200kW of free basic electricity be given to households with prepaid electricity connections by the Msunduzi municipality.

Members of the Electricity Action Group, supported by Cosatu and the SACP, refused to hand over the memorandum to a member of the council’s executive committee, saying that mayor Chris Ndlela had agreed to receive it at 1.30pm.

Angered by his not turning up, the residents dispersed without leaving the memorandum.

Msunduzi municipal spokesman Brian Zuma said Ndlela had not said he would receive the document, but that “it would be received”.

Zuma added that Ndlela had had other commitments.

The memorandum states that residents were disgusted by the indifference of the municipality to the plight of the poor. “This indifference manifests itself in various ways, including the scrapping of municipal service subsidies for the poor (indigent policy) and the removal of thousands of people living in RDP houses from the list of beneficiaries of service subsidisation; the continued refusal to implement 200kW of free basic electricity…” it says.

A major concern was that there was no policy, nor were there sufficient resources, for subsidising municipal services for the poor properly.

The demands were that:

**200kW of free basic electricity be universally implemented.

**Continued discrimination against households with prepaid connections be stopped.

**The municipality substantially revise how it responded to the poor.

**Public representatives be accountable to citizens, and spaces for dialogue be opened up.

**The municipality substantially revise its indigent policy.

“For eight years we have waited… we will intensify our efforts to mobilise communities… we will not waver,” the memorandum said.- The Mercury

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