Siyamtanda Capa
3 minute read
19 Jun 2021
06:04

Service delivery grinds to a halt in Pietermaritzburg as Msunduzi runs out of funds

Siyamtanda Capa

Service delivery in Msunduzi has ground to a halt after the City’s coffers have apparently run dry. Ward councillors were told during a Rapid Response meeting on Friday that there was no money to deliver critical services.

Service delivery in Msunduzi has ground to a halt after the City’s coffers have apparently run dry. Ward councillors were told during a Rapid Response meeting on Friday that there was no money to deliver critical services.

Services apparently not being delivered include repairing of faulty traffic lights, some at major intersections. Grass cutting and electricity outages are not immediately being attended to also. This is according to councillors who were at the meeting.

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Msunduzi mayor Mzimkhulu Thebolla denied this though, saying the situation “had not got that bad”.

DA ward 36 councillor Vic Winterbach said the officials who explained the situation said nothing could be done.

“Neither the administrator [Sicelo Duma] or the municipal manager has the guts to stop the theft.”
ACDP councillor Rienus Niemand

“Everything has come to a standstill; service delivery is basically on hold. This is a bad situation and we were told that we have to do with what we currently have. The officials themselves are also frustrated but they said there is nothing that they can do,” said Winterbach.

He said the situation has left residents frustrated.

DA ward 37 councillor Sandy Lyne said the officials had painted a bleak picture.

“The officials are aware of what needs to be done but they do not have the resources to do it all. I have been a councillor for 14 years and it has never been this difficult to get the services the ratepayers expect,” said Lyne.

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She said the electricity department told councillors that a survey was being done to record which street-lights were working and which were not. However, the repairs will only start when the new budget becomes available in July.

ACDP councillor Rienus Niemand said the situation the City finds itself in was “frightening”.

“Neither the administrator [Sicelo Duma] or the municipal manager has the guts to stop the theft.

“This doesn’t mean that we are at a stage where we can’t deliver on our obligations. Refuse is being collected without fail, we are meeting our obligation to uMngeni Water.”
Msunduzi mayor Mzimkhulu Thebolla

“We are offering discounts to people who don’t pay but people who have been paying don’t get anything. It’s highly unfair and it borders on corruption,” said Niemand.

He was referring to amnesty the City had announced it would offer residents.

“We are reaping the fruits of a corrupt system. At the moment they are all reluctant to do anything. The unfortunate thing is that people are sitting behind desks because no work is being done,” added Niemand.

Thebolla, however, said services were being delivered. “I can assure you that work is being done. Yes, Covid-19 has affected us so much and people are struggling to pay, but this means that we have had to go very deep. Where we thought we had a surplus, now we are using those funds.

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“This doesn’t mean that we are at a stage where we can’t deliver on our obligations. Refuse is being collected without fail, we are meeting our obligation to uMngeni Water,” said Thebolla.

He said Msunduzi was unable to repair traffic lights due to staff shortages.

Asked if the City had run out of money, Thebolla said: “We cannot say if we have run out of money or we have money. We are still able to meet our obligations.”