Service-delivery failings, joblessness highlighted at Soweto-on-Sea IDP meeting

Members of the public attend the Integrated Development Progamme meeting at the Soweto-On-Sea multipurpose centre on Tuesday evening
SHARING VIEWS: Members of the public attend the Integrated Development Progamme meeting at the Soweto-On-Sea multipurpose centre on Tuesday evening
Image: Werner Hills

Illegal dumping, broken street lights, a library in a shambles, the need for maintenance of stormwater drains, the construction of RDP houses, lack of sports facilities and youth unemployment.

These were some of the issues raised by residents at an Integrated Development Progamme (IDP) meeting in Soweto-on-Sea, near Zwide, on Tuesday night.

Residents from the Champion Galela cluster, which comprises wards 25, 26, 27 and 28, also sharply criticised the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality for engaging in what they said was a box-ticking exercise.

They claimed that none of the projects they wanted to be prioritised had been implemented in the past decade.

Less than 50 people attended Tuesday night’s IDP meeting, at the Soweto-on-Sea multipurpose centre,  but residents were also able to contribute virtually.

It was one of many meetings that have been lined up by the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality to enable residents to indicate which projects should be prioritised in their areas.

An entry limit of 20 people per ward was placed on the physical Soweto-on-Sea gathering.

Lona Makwetu,  of Ward 26, proposed that the meeting be postponed until a bigger venue was found to accommodate more residents.

“I wonder with only 20 residents allowed per ward, [whether] we are doing justice to the needs of the community.

“I realise that we’re still in a pandemic but could the municipality not find a bigger venue?”

Another Ward 26 resident, Linda Festile, said the Zwide library was in a shambles and that repeated requests had been made to the municipality to fix it, to no avail.

Festile also complained about illegal dumping and broken street lights, which made residents easy targets for criminals at night.

“Our community is dark and we can’t even leave our homes after 6pm because we get robbed,” Festile said.

Ward 27 resident Tawuya Mushaike said though items raised at previous IDP meetings were on Tuesday’s agenda, none had been implemented.

“I don’t think we are taken seriously as residents because even by being here we are promoting a culture of wasting our time because nothing from the previous IDP has been implemented.

“Houses have not been delivered.

“Houses have not been rectified.

“All of the things listed here — nothing has been done.

“We’ve been pleading time and again for sporting fields for the youth.

I don’t think we are taken seriously as residents because even by being here we are promoting a culture of wasting our time because nothing from the previous IDP has been implemented.
Tawuya Mushaike

“I’m saying if those in power can’t do these things we’ve been repeatedly asking for, then they must make way for those who can because it’s tiring coming here and seeing the same faces without anything changing,” Mushaike said.

Luzuko Peter, of Ward 30, said he could not relate to what was being discussed because it did not address the concerns of young people, who were most affected by rising unemployment.

“We’re asking for representation as young people in the metro,” he said.

Sinethemba Soldati, of Ward 27, said:  “RDP houses were built on graves and those houses are now falling apart.

“This is an issue we’ve raised repeatedly with the department of human settlements.”

Ward 28 councillor Xola Tyali told residents that because the meeting was virtual, many people had tuned in via WhatsApp while others were listening on community radio stations.

Human settlements political head, councillor Andile Mfunda said building houses was the competence of the provincial human settlements department.

“National [government] allocates a budget, this is sent to province and then we’re allocated a budget,” Mfunda said, adding he had noted the issues raised.

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