‘Garden town’ residents tackle Trollip on decaying infrastructure, poor delivery
Uitenhage residents are taking on the mayor over what they say is the municipality’s failure to prioritise the garden town. They say a lack of intervention has led to the steady decay of infrastructure and poor service delivery.
E-mail communication between a handful of residents and mayor Athol Trollip last week resulted in a terse response from Trollip, who told the residents that “Rome was not built nor repaired in a day”.
This after he told them he had read their e-mail with incredulity.
The residents had been complaining about illegal dumping, stray animals, crumbling infrastructure and the municipality’s delayed response to other issues in the area.
Uitenhage resident and Garden Town Initiative chairman David McCleland, who was among those bringing their concerns to the mayor, said the situation had been one of gradual decline over a couple of years.
“Uitenhage has never been on any priority list in the metro, but really [is] forgotten. No matter how much we shouted, it fell on deaf ears. So don’t fool yourself . . . it’s not going to get any better soon,” he said.
“If we don’t complain, imagine what it would look like. I was born here so have had to watch the steady decline over the years and it’s not been easy looking at the decay.”
Fellow Uitenhage resident Jeff Bratby initiated the discussion last week, attaching an article about former mayor Danny Jordaan’s plan to rejuvenate the town.
He also included a letter by Trollip, which emphasised the importance of cooperation between the municipality and residents, as well as photos of infrastructure problems in the town.
Trollip, responding via e-mail, said: “I’ve just read your last e-mail with incredulity. If you seriously believe that your attached images are a reflection of what has happened to Uitenhage since the departure of Mr Jordaan, I rest my case.
“This new administration has been responsible for the affairs of NMBM since the end of August 2016! Rome was not built nor repaired in a day.
“We will continue to do all in our power to address all the myriad issues that require our attention across the city.”
Trollip’s e-mail sparked a snappy response from Bratby, who stated: “Yes Mr Trollip, there’s a lot of incredible situations in Uitenhage, that’s why some of the residents are not happy with the situation.
“We need to know how much rates are paid from all in Uitenhage and how and where it is spent, just like any business fills in the SARS forms.
“The municipal departments need to communicate with each other and the government departments.
“Like you say, it all takes time, and I’m not here to moan, I’m using my experience, not my crystal ball.”
Speaking to The Herald yesterday, Bratby said he was “despondent” regarding what he had been trying to achieve for Uitenhage “as it seems that our mayor has too much on his plate and has not given me much to be happy about”.
His views were echoed by another Uitenhage resident, Shena Rosanne Ruth.
“I do believe people like Jeff and Dave have been absolute stalwarts in putting their money where their mouths are and have physically gotten their hands dirty in Uitenhage and still do,” Ruth said.
“Uitenhage is fortunate to have such committed citizens who have plodded on, regardless of being ignored by all of the offices that are meant to be looking after and promoting the town.”
Trollip has yet to respond to the follow-up e-mails. Yesterday, the mayor’s office did not respond to queries at the time of going to print.