By Aphiwe Ngowapi and ‘Odidi Matai-Sigudla
Dozens of community members in Hlalani and Tantyi have voiced dissatisfaction with Makana municipality’s service delivery at this week’s Integrated Development Plan (IDP) review meetings.
The municipality is obliged to hold annual consultation meetings with residents in all wards as part of its yearly IDP review.
At the Tantyi Hall on 8 March, the meeting ended on a sour note with several community members walking out while shouting at the municipal officials assembled.
“We want the mayor to come because we’ve been told for the past 10 years that things would change, but nothing happens”, the residents shouted.
Ward 2 councillor Rumsell Mpumzi Xonxa of the ANC led the meeting on behalf of Mayor Yandiswa Vara, who was out of town. Ward 12 councillor, Mzobanzi Nkwentsha, Ward 11 councillor Sakhiwo Zono, Ward 10 councillor Zodwa Cetu, Ward 7 councillor Lunga Masinda, all from the ANC and IDP manager Mzoxolo Pasi and IDP official Mama Eddie, were faced with tough questions.
Xonxa started off talking about the community’s “basic need” – water, repeating that water outages occur because the dam “has not reached the point to provide for all of us” and saying that council was aiming to generate 20 million litres of water a day soon.
One community member said the municipality must find a way to communicate water outages. “When you open the tap, that is when you find out you have no water” she said.
Xonxa replied that the water shedding schedule was online, sparking a round of mumbles of disagreement. His proposal to start WhatsApp groups to alert residents of water outages was overruled by a community member who said “many of the community members don’t have cellphones or data. We would prefer uBukho (when a speaker goes around the area with a megaphone alerting the residents)”.
Nomvuzo Mamani, chairperson of Makana Black Progressive Business Chamber then said there was no development in the area. Resident Ntobeko Nyengane added: “As the people of Xolani, we have been lied to a lot. Even with these time frames, we don’t see anything happening throughout these years. Is there something that can be done for the people to see that something is being done?”
Xonxa again sidestepped the question, stating that “houses are the responsibility of Human Settlement, not the municipality”. But Nyengane said that the 178 home Tantyi II housing project had first been mooted in 2013, with Mamani adding that the project was budgeted for in 2019 but the money had still not been utilized.
Municipal officials promised that the money would be used and would not be returned to Treasury.
At another IDP meeting on 8 March, about 90 residents of Hlalani gathered in the Foley Sports Centre, voicing anger at the high rate of unemployment, lack of support for small businesses, the poor state of the roads, and the water crisis.
The municipality’s own analysis for Ward 9, which includes Hlalani, listed 33 problems ranging from 50 bucket toilets that need to be eradicated to a backlog of 1000 RDP houses to burst sewer pipes and potholes that needed to be mended.
The first IDP meeting of the year, scheduled for 7 March at the Joza indoor sports centre, was postponed after loadshedding began, leaving municipal officials to speak by the light of their cellphone torches. Lightning had also deterred residents from attending, they told Grocott’s Mail.
Next week’s IDP meetings are at City Hall on 14 March at 5:30pm and BB Zondani Hall near Raglan Road on 15 March at 5:30pm.
On 16 March, there is a meeting at the Dlukulu Clinic and at the open space on Reverend Lolwana Street at 5:30pm.
At 10am on 16 March, the IDP review meetings will be at Salem Sports Club and Alfred Dike Kota hall in Kwanomzamo.