Covid-19 no excuse for poor services, residents say

Residents from the Alex Matikinca cluster, which includes Wards 53-60, take part in one of the IDP meetings being held around Nelson Mandela Bay on Wednesday
STOP MAKING EXCUSES: Residents from the Alex Matikinca cluster, which includes Wards 53-60, take part in one of the IDP meetings being held around Nelson Mandela Bay on Wednesday

The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality should not hide behind Covid-19 and the national lockdown as the reason for poor service delivery, Motherwell residents told authorities on Wednesday.

The municipality took its Integrated Development Programme (IDP) meetings to the Raymond Mhlaba Sports Centre in Motherwell NU4 on Wednesday night, where residents from the Alex Matikinca cluster, which comprises Wards 23, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59 and 60, voiced their frustration over the level of services.

They mostly complained about poor refuse collection and illegal dumping.

Ward 59 resident Maxhoba Buwa said illegal dumping had reached crisis levels.

“I just wish the public health head was here so we can tell them ourselves, our ward is filthy, there’s a heap of dirt and pile of rubbish in most corners.

“We end up having to pay out of our own pockets to have the rubbish removed because the service is not available.

“Our ward is filthy, the entire city is filthy,” Buwa said.

Just as at the IDP meeting in Soweto-on-Sea on Tuesday night, residents also complained of making inputs in previous IDP gatherings on what projects should be prioritised in their areas.

Buwa said: “We understand the council had to make budget cuts [because of Covid-19] but we still need clarity on why some of the previous issues have not been attended to.

“No-one is accounting to us.

“We asked for traffic calming measures, speed humps or traffic circles five years ago [and they have still not been constructed].”

Buwa also complained about vandalism and the lack of police visibility which led to a spike in crime.

Ward 53 resident Mzuhleli Chithwa complained of bad roads and a lack of street lights, which he said was an issue residents had been raising for years.

“We have high mast lights, yes, but the streets are still dark.

“People are getting robbed and motorists are also struggling at night.

“There are many issues here which I am sure you are aware of.

“We also need a community hall — we do not have a hall in that ward and people have to hold their meetings in the streets,” Chithwa said.

Mthobeli Maya, of Ward 57, said irregular and wasteful expenditure were prevalent before Covid-19.

“We never elected incompetent leaders and all we need is for them to lead us, and stop these squabbles over money and tenders.

“I have many things to complain about but I will highlight the most important, which is the electrification of shacks.

“In Nomakanjani, people are connecting illegally and surely that adds an extra burden even to the municipality.

“You should put boxes in those shacks so that those people can start paying for electricity just like the rest of us,” Maya said.

Human settlements political head, councillor Andile Mfunda, said they noted residents’ complaints.

“We make a commitment, not a promise, to attend to those service delivery issues.

“We also don’t want to say the same thing every year.

“We need progress. All we need to do now is implement,” Mfunda said.


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