Residents of uMsunduzi Municipality in KZN lament lack of adequate services

The 2020-2021 Local Government Audit Outcome report has once again painted a bleak picture of the financial status of South Africa’s municipalities.

In KwaZulu-Natal, the Inkosi Langalibalele and Nquthu municipalities received disclaimers. The uMsunduzi Municipality is among the municipalities cited for poorly managed projects running into the millions of taxpayers’ money. The city has found itself under administration twice, in the last 12 years.

The uMsunduzi Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal received a special mention in the Auditor General’s 2020-2021 local government audit outcomes. It overspent about R90 million due to delays in implementing the SAP system.

Auditor-General’s media briefing on local government audit outcomes:

uMsunduzi residents say a lack of services including water, timeous collection of refuse and regular electricity outages are now the norm.

Resident Nereshnie Sookraj shared her frustrations of enduring days without electricity and refuse collection.

“It is not very good because we had to throw away some food, we did not have lights, you will come from work cook some water to have a bath and we ran the same process it was a bit difficult for us. Sometimes we had two to three days without electricity in Northdale, we had water problem as well, at work there is dirt everywhere, it is unhygienic and it is worse working in an environment like this.”

Businessman Mohammed Dawood laments the impact of power outages on his business.

“We have had no electricity since Monday night and this is happening very often, every time there is load shedding after the load shedding. Everybody has electricity besides us, we are about fifteen houses and this has been carrying on since load shedding was implemented, we are having this problem. My business runs through an internet so if there is no electricity, I have no internet because I run a finance company, I do books.”

Driving though the city centre of this capital city, one is greeted with filth and potholes. Stagnant water from leaks makes it difficult to spend time in some stores.

#sabcnews #sabckzn Some stagnant water at one of the busiest roads in Pietermaritzburg. Community says it been like this for for months. pic.twitter.com/KfefKQGhWZ

— Nonkululeko Hlophe (@Leko3) June 22, 2022

Melanie Veness CEO of the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business, says despite cries for a conducive work environment for years, several businesses and investors have moved out of the area…

“It is absolutely catastrophic for business I mean, business does not expect fairytales or anything outrageous, we just want a secure supply of electricity, water, sanitation and decent roads to ride on so that we do what we do that is to conduct business. We just need an enabling environment, it has not been a conducive environment in Pietermaritzburg for the last six years. It has not been anything enabling, it is disabling I’ve seen lots of investment that should be happening here in Pietermaritzburg taken to other areas.”

DA caucus leader in the uMsunduzi municipality Ross Strachan says the municipality is facing a systematic collapse.

“It is obviously the second time we have been under administration in twelve years, the first time was in 2012. The second time was in 2019 and it has been three years under the administration. The main factors for the intervention was financial obviously as well as the basic lack of administration in terms of our finances infrastructure, compliance issues, various structures of forensic investigations and corruption which has never been dealt with. As you know if there is lack of administration, your city starts to fall apart and it has been a systematic collapse of uMsunduzi.”

In other notable mentions for KwaZulu-Natal, in the Umzinyathi District a material irregularity was issued at one of the disclaimed municipalities for the failure of the municipal manager, as an accounting officer, to ensure that there was adequate record-keeping that had resulted in the prior year’s audit findings.

The province’s third largest municipality, uMhlatuze, was also cited for poorly managed projects.

 

 

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