The MEC for Transport and Community Safety visited Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma Local Municipality’s Creighton Offices on Friday 05 April 2019 following a violent service delivery protest by communities of Ward 04,05, 06 and 08 that took place on Thursday, 04 April 2019. The MEC first met with the Municipal Leadership and Ward Councillors of the wards in concern to first assess the damages to the property and then craft a way-forward in addressing this matter.
Before the presentation of the report on the status and progress of the four roads in question, the Honourable MEC highlighted the following particularly for the attention of the seven Community Representatives who were present during the session:
- That the Department together with the Municipality already had a plan to respond to communities’ concerns and that plan was disrupted by this violent protest.
- Cautioned community members that as much as it was within their democratic rights to protest against government on service delivery issues, instigating an unlawful violent protest is a criminal offence which leads to prosecution.
- Clarified that government is working on limited resources and no amount of protest would propel government to accelerate service delivery.
- Briefly explained how government operates in terms of allocating responsibilities and funding to its entities.
- Highlighted the achievement of KZN as a province in delivering services to its citizens since 1994 citing that on sanitation the province is at 91%, provision of potable water is 85%, electricity at 90%. In terms of population the province is the second largest in the country. The latest Statistics revealed that Gauteng is the largest provincial economy in the country followed by KwaZulu-Natal and this region contributes to the provincial economy through agriculture and dairy production.
- Contrary to the above statement the province is also famous of the following; political killings, high road accident rate, burning of trucks, Hub for smuggling of drugs and ukuthwala.
- Pleaded for cooperation with all stakeholders. Destroying/ damaging state’s property is a violation of other people’s rights. Government is going to take drastic actions against all offenders and perpetrators.
- Expressed his displeasure that there were IEC Officials and Professional Teachers who were part of this violent strike this is a violation of code of conduct for IEC.
- Warned community members for using minors during the strike as this instils a wrong culture and its consequences are rebellious and unruly future generations.
PROGRESS/ STATUS OF THE FOUR ROADS IN QUESTION
The MEC reiterated the statement influenced by the protest and reiterated the
P8/3– (5km) This road is in the 2019/20 plan the delays were due to the appointed Consultant being transferred to another district however the new Consultant is currently busy with the reviews and the award to a suitable Contractor will be done soon.
P429 (35km), the Department was challenged by the AGSA at the previous audit and queried as to why the road was listed in the asset register of the province whereas it is a regional road. The department is currently reviewing its policies in order to allow this road to be incorporated in the regional asset register. 8km will be done in 2020/21 financial year. Some portions of this road is too damaged and therefore will be repaired.
P419(22.km) only 5km has been done so far, the community requested that the road must come from both sides. 10 km will be constructed in 2019/20 financial year (5km from both sides) as per the community’s request.
P422-(20km) 16 km of this road has been tarred and will be completed in 2019/20 financial year.
P123connects R617 and R612- will be re-gravelled and the department is accelerating completion of this project.
Amongst other challenges that the department is facing is under-performing Contractors and decisions by the Appeals Tribunal as it is not assisting the department in terms of the developmental agenda. There is a need for a Summit whereby all these issues will be discussed in order to find a solution.
In his closing remarks he mentioned that most of violent protests have hidden political agendas aimed at destructing government operations. The SAPS will be visible to monitor the situation and only peaceful march will be entertained and so SAPS will use force to defend and protect innocent lives and government’s property. The Municipal Leadership will continue visiting the concerned wards to provide responses on their concerns. Offenders will be prosecuted regardless of their age, gender or race. Moreover, he appealed to all government officials to serve with integrity.
Mr Mhlabunzima Christopher Mbhele of Ward 08 expressed his appreciation on the address by the MEC and that they were hopeful that their service delivery concerns will be attended to. He also apologised about the incident and advised the meeting that they did not plan the disaster that happened on Thursday the 4thof April 2019.