Irate residents demand dissolution of EMLM

KEEP WARM: Elderly women from ward 17 received blankets donated by ward 17 councillor Mncedisi Mbengo at a hand over at Mzingisi Sikweyiya Hall on Sunday. They were, back from left, ward committee member Fatima Pulumani, councillor Mncedisi Mbengo and ward committee member Totomi Noyila and front from left, Joice Hadi, Notyantoni Lali, Nombeko Lena and Nobantu Bali Picture: ZINTLE BOBELO

Residents of ward 17 in Mlungisi have called for the dissolution of the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipal council, citing maladministration and failure to deliver services.

Community members gathered in a meeting led by ward councillor Mncedisi Mbengo and committee members at Mzingisi Sikweyiya Hall on August 15 where the residents expressed their concerns over municipal mismanagement and total disregard of citizens as ratepayers of the local authority. It was resolved that a letter should be written to the MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs to make an urgent intervention.

We have a municipal manager who failed to comment when the municipal public accounts committee offices went up in flames. Nothing was said when municipal construction equipment, which was recently recovered, was stolen in Whittlesea. He only commented when the traffic department caught fire last week. There are no employment opportunities for young people in this town. They only employ outsiders. We have no street lights, no electricity, but we have ratepayers. We ask that the MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs intervene on this matter,” said resident Lindikhaya Dumani.

Community members in attendance also indicated that new systems for revenue collection in other areas were needed. Concerns over power outages and maintenance issues, illegal connections, poor road infrastructure, water and sanitation problems, unemployment and irregular appointments plus the illegal occupation of land, were raised.

Ward councillor Mncedisi Mbengo indicated that he was going to relay all points raised to council. “When I was elected and given a responsibility as a councillor I had to ensure that I brought service delivery to the people, rooted out corruption and ensure that I engaged with local businesses to provide employment opportunities for young people. Unfortunately I have to account to some of the issues raised and agree with the people that the municipality needs to be dissolved.”

Mbengo said the day was also to fulfil a commitment he had made to deliver blankets to elderly people. 40 blankets were distributed to elderly women of the ward, with 60 to be delivered to identified beneficiaries at the their homes.

Beneficiary Nobantu Gwaza said: “We are happy that during Women’s Month and amid the freezing weather conditions we have been experiencing, our councillor has taken the time to give us blankets. We are also grateful that we are given feedback about what is happening with the municipality because I pay municipal rates. We are constantly without electricity. I am often told I am in arrears while my house smells and is flooded with sewage. This municipality needs to be dissolved.”

Community men’s forum member Dennis Sali added there was no service delivery to the people and appealed to those in power to step in.

Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality spokesperson Lonwabo Kowa said: “When the application to dissolve council was brought in 2020, the council resolved to contest it in court and that resolution still stands. The municipality was placed under administration by the cooperative governance and traditional affairs. Implementing the financial recovery plan which when successfully implemented will help address challenges faced by Enoch Mgijima. The financial recovery plan seeks to put in place revenue collection systems throughout the municipality and a number of campaigns which include the smart metering project are already underway.”