George Mari, MPP
Democratic Alliance KZN COGTA Spokesperson
WHILE Msunduzi municipality’s 2013 electrification plan for informal settlements is a welcome step towards reducing the tragic loss of life as a result of unsafe connections, a remark by Municipal Manager Nkosi around the responsibility of local ward councillors within these communities cannot go unchallenged.
According to Nkosi, local ward councillors will have to assist the municipality in ensuring that informal settlements do not expand once they receive electrification. Not only does this statement show a remarkable lack of understanding around the role of ward councillors – it is also completely reckless.
To expect ward councillors to prevent the spread of informal settlements is not only beyond their powers, it will also place their lives at risk. It is the municipality’s job to deal with this issue and there is legislation in place which enables Msunduzi and every other municipality to have a land invasion unit, with trained personnel. As an urban municipality, Msunduzi should in fact have such a unit.
The Municipal Manager must clarify his unfortunate statement. If he believes that ward councillors are in a position to control the expansion of shack settlements, then he is deluding himself.