Veliswa Mvenya MPL
Wards where certain connected ANC councillors of the Umzimvubu Municipality live are enjoying service delivery while the rest of the community looks on. This is a recipe for yet another protest in the province.
Those close to the mayor, Khulukazi Phangwa, and certain ward councillors are benefitting while the Umzimvubu Municipality ignores communities when it comes to service delivery for all.
Mrs. Phangwa was accused earlier this year of benefitting from a local RDP-housing scheme by building two houses on what appeared to be her yard. Nay-saying the claims, she and the Department of Human Settlements responded that the houses belonged to her sons.
Two more shocking examples of how only certain people are enjoying services were brought to my attention recently:
In Ward 4 the community identified the site for the construction of their community hall but the ward councillor, Nobantu Mphephanduku, had it built right next to her home. I intervened by writing a letter of complaint and the erection of a second hall was approved. The community again identified the original site as the place where they wanted to hall. However, Mayor Phangwa arrogantly ignored the wishes of the community and had the hall built at the homestead of the local chief, also an ANC-member.
The council resolved to electrify Ward 6 in this financial year, but the ward councillor, Noxolo Jona, ignored the resolutions and allegedly colluded with a fellow councillor to take the project to Ward 11. The Ward 6 community had already been informed about the project but despite that the project has been redirected. This has infuriated residents of Ward 6.
The ANC appears not to listen to people unless they are well-connected or if they protest.
The principle that the people shall govern does not ring true for Umzimvubu Municipality.
The MEC for Local Government, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, needs to take a stand and demand that public representatives fulfil their mandate to serve all the people. They cannot be allowed to serve only their own interests while destitute families in the poorest district of the Transkei continue to live in makeshift huts and leaking shacks.
No municipality can afford violent service delivery protests like we saw in Mnquma earlier this week and in Cape Town yesterday. Strong action is needed from the current government to address the concerns of communities.