Year-on-year, the Msinga Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has been rated one of the worst performing municipalities in the country. Water provision for this community has been a perennially unsolved problem with the Umzinyathi District Municipality, even though the United Democratic Movement (UDM) in KZN has consistently highlighted this issue. It is therefore no wonder that residents in this area have recently taken to the streets to protest poor service delivery.
The UDM in KZN is however concerned about the language and tone of Msinga Mayor, Buyiswa Ngcobo, in addressing these service delivery issues, in particular regarding Ward 12, where she is the responsible ward councillor. When she recently spoke on a community radio station, she was arrogant and unsympathetic, indicating that some protestors had already been arrested. As much as the UDM condemns violence and destruction of property, the powers that be in Msinga must realise that the blame for such behaviour is to be laid squarely at their feet.
The UDM in KZN furthermore would like to understand why the Mayor of Msinga and the Mayor of Umzinyathi District Municipality, Petros Ngubane, would drag community representatives to a meeting, today, at the Helpmekaar Police Station, which is quite far for the community leaders to travel at great cost to themselves, whilst they are amongst the poorest of the poor.
We also question why the mayors wanted the meeting to take place in a police station at all? No community member would feel free to voice their frustrations about service delivery whilst surrounded by armed police, inside a police station. Should tempers flare, we could have another Marikana on our hands. This is unadulterated intimidation and is, in fact, quite irresponsible.
The UDM in KZN calls on both the MECs for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and for Safety and Security to speedily intervene in this situation to help the people of Msinga.
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Mr Boysey Gumede
UDM-KZN Interim Provincial Secretary.