Dr Rishigen Viranna, MPL
DA KZN Spokesperson on Social Development
The Democratic Alliance calls on KZN Social Development MEC, Weziwe Thusi to show strong leadership and present an urgent report on her department’s maintenance plans for its offices throughout the province.
This, following the announcement that the department’s maintenance budget has been slashed by two thirds – from R75 to R25million – and last week’s disclosure that it’s Lower Umfolozi offices in Ngwelezane have been closed due to horrendous conditions. These include the elderly, mothers with babies and young children being attended to outside in the elements, a departmental truck without any sides on its ‘ladder’ leaving clients prone to falling off, lack of privacy for staff interviewing clients with social problems due to lack of space and rooms and lack of resources such as computers and desks.
According to staff at the centre, their pleas to the department for assistance have fallen on deaf ears. Even a letter to the MEC, sent via the district office months ago, has still not been responded to. In desperation staff eventually complained to the Department of Labour which took a decision to close down the office.
This is unacceptable. Where is the KZN Social Development department’s own internal monitoring team? More importantly – where is the MEC?
The DA believes that the MEC has shown a profound lack of leadership in this instance. In failing to identify the problems and address staff concerns she has allowed the closure of this facility. In so doing she has denied the people of this poor community access to social services – the proposed alternate premises for offices in eSikhawini and Richards Bay is simply too far away for them to access.
Unless the MEC has a plan to address maintenance issues then she and her department will simply lurch from one crisis to the next.
The DA expects her to advise how she plans to deal with this looming disaster.