ATC201021: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on the Petition Pertaining To Lack of Service Delivery in Ward 52, Under the City of Ethekwini dated, 21 October 2020
REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS ON THE PETITION PERTAINING TO LACK OF SERVICE DELIVERY IN WARD 52, UNDER THE CITY OF ETHEKWINI DATED, 21 OCTOBER 2020
The Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, having considered the petition from the residents of Ward 52 in eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality pertaining to lack of service delivery in the Ward, and the Office of the Speaker having referred the matter to the Committee on 11 June 2020, reports as follows:
- On 11 June 2020, the Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs received correspondence from the Office of the Speaker, urging the Committee to consider and report on a petition received from residents of Bhambayi, Mamba, Brooksfarm and eMaoti ward 52, in the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality.
- The petition detailed the residents’ complaints in relation to lack of service delivery in their areas, as they had been waiting since 2017 for the delivery of, amongst other services, houses, roads, drainage systems, a satellite primary health care facility and a police station.
- In response to the request, the Committee called the City of eThekwini on 31 July 2020 to brief it on the matter.
Ms Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi, a member of the Committee and a resident of the City of eThekwini, introduced the petition by tabling 14 items of grievance on behalf of residents of Ward 52. These items pertained to housing; roads; drainages; partisan distribution of food parcels, vouchers, employment and sub-contracting opportunities. Further concerns: satellite primary healthcare and police station facilities; an electricity contractorwho left after electrifying only 20 houses to the value of R14 million; a multi-purpose centre valued at R30 million; labour exploitation by a contractor called GNS; ward committee members earning two incomes; as well as the arrogance of the ward councillor in the municipality’s Human Settlements Department.
- RESPONSE BY THE CITY OF ETHEKWINI
- In respect of housing, the municipality had submitted Stage 1 application to the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Human Settlements in March 2020. The COVID-19 outbreak delayed the process. The Department was now assessing the application, following the easing of the lockdown. The municipality will commence with advertising tender services for the Bhambayi Housing Project once it has obtained SPLUMA approval. Construction was in progress (340 units completed) in respect of Amaoti Cuba pilot project under Greater Amaoti, following approval of Stage 1 planning and implementation by the Human Settlements and Public Works MEC.
- Regarding roads and drainage, the municipality presented a list of roads-related and storm water-related construction projectspreviously undertaken in Ward 52 during the last five years. It also listed projects due for implementation in the area within the next two financial years.
- On the matter of a satellite primary healthcare facility, the municipality indicated that it would engage the eThekwini District Office of the Provincial Health Department to undertake a feasibility assessment of the community’s request.
- Regarding the request for a satellite police station, the municipality was of the view that the current policing arrangements are sufficient to meet the policing needs of the petitioners.
- On the matter of the electricity contractor, the municipality submitted that it had re-issued the tender to the contractor, and the project would resume in the first week of August 2020.
- In respect of the R30 million Multi-purpose Centre, the municipality furnished the Committee with an Architectural Design Report and demonstrated that the facility will fully accommodate Ward 52 in terms of access.
- Regarding the Ward Committee Members who allegedly earned two incomes, the municipality submitted that these members were not municipal employees, and as such did not earn income from the municipality. However, it was incumbent upon the municipality to pay these ward committees members out of pocket travelling expenses while performing their duties.
- In relation to the alleged labour exploitation (alleged underpayment of community members by a contractor), the municipality could not locate the contractor (GLX) in respect of Ward 52. It emerged that the reason for this was that the petitioners had spelled the contractor’s name incorrectly. The correct spelling was GNS.According to GNS, there was no of exploitation of workers by the contractor. However, the municipality undertook to pursue the matter further and verify the contractor’s assertion.
- In relation to the partisan distribution of food parcels, the municipality requested evidence for submission to the Office of the Speaker. Perceptions alone did not constitute adequate evidence. There needed to be names provided in relation to the councillors assumed to be the recipients of food parcels. The distribution of food parcels did involve ward councillors, as it was part of their responsibility to do so. The fact that there has been no court challenges in relation to this indicates that there are no legal issues. However, the food distribution process excluded PR councillors to ensure that there was no politicisation of the matter.
- In response to the allegation that employment and sub-contracting opportunities in Ward 52 are politically biased, the municipality submitted that its recruitment and supply chain management policies did not discriminate among work seekers and entrepreneurs based on their political affiliation.
- The municipality, via the Speaker’s Office, had also looked into the matter of the alleged arrogance of Councillor Sthembiso ‘Boxer’ Zulu, and found his refutation of all the allegations levelled against him satisfactory.
- ADDITIONAL INPUTS BY PETITIONERS
- The appointment of a second housing company (Vuvama) to undertake exactly the same project (Pat Mashaba Project) as the previous company was confusing and causing unnecessary delays.The community was not happy with the response from the municipal officials in this regard.
- The municipality had no open door policy and there has been no proper communication to the Brooksfarm community in relation to the Brooksfarm Housing Rectification project. The community engagement skills of the project’s Community Liaison Officer, Mr. Gazu, were extremely deficient. Alternative solutions, other than demolishing people’s houses,are available if the municipality is willing to sit down and discusswith the community.
- COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS AND DISCUSSION
- In response to the petition, the municipality made a clear and detailed presentation, with portfolio of evidence, to make it easy for Committee members based in the KwaZulu-Natal to undertake oversight. However, the report was not in all instances consistent with what was happening on the ground.
- The municipality should also afford such clear and detailed presentation to the community of Ward 52. There is legislative provision for monthly and quarterly meetings with communities, and the municipality needed to comply with these. Project steering committee members also needed capacitation and empowerment. In the absence of these, the committees were meaningless. In response, the Mayor indicated that the municipality complied with the provisions of the Municipal Structures Act regarding at least one community consultation per quarter. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the municipalityalso consulted with communities on a monthly basis.
- There needed to be appreciation for the municipality’s prompt reaction to the issues of Mr. Thulani Cele, which some members of the Committee had raised in a previous meeting. However, some committee members felt that the municipality should not have waited for a media exposé to move on the issue. The municipality indicated that it was ignorant of the matter until the Committee raised it.
- The Committee must meet to discuss the way forward on this petition.
Report to be considered.
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