Mr President where are you? Durban is burning

The Democratic Alliance calls on President Ramaphosa to intervene in the EThekwini crisis, as he did in Alexandra. This follows the unrest in EThekwini Municipality where employees have taken to the streets in protest against unfair labour processes in the metro. An act that is indicative of the incompetence and failures of Mayor Zandile Gumede to run the municipality with the decorum it deserves.

ANC factional have now brought the City to its knees.

The DA also sends heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the employee whose life was lost in the city’s protest and prays for the speedy recovery of those who have been injured in the process. We understand the plight of the workers more so the conditions they are subjected to under the leadership of Mayor Gumede. That being said, we condemn any form of violence, vandalism and damage to public property as it seldom yields the intended outcomes and rather sets society back.

As each day passes and no consensus is reached, the city plunders into further turmoil. We heighten our call for the municipality to be placed under Section 139(1) b Administration as provided for in the constitution of the land. It cannot be right that in the process of building an inclusive society, held firm by the foundations of the South African constitution we find a system that purposefully undermines human resources and supply chain process to cater for the connected few.

The recent call by EThekwini Municipal Manager Sipho Nzuza to halt the rewarding of fifty-five MK Vets to allow a thorough review of the process is not only undermining to the general public but is an indication that Ethekwini is on the brink of collapse. The mere acknowledgement of the fact is an indication that the municipality is in a bigger crisis than what meets the eye. The ceremonial mayor, Cllr Zandile Gumede needs to step down and the EThekwini Municipality needs to be placed under administration.

The call for the administrator is to – among other duties institute an investigation into the Water and Sanitation Department, zoom into the recruitment and tender processes, where irregularities are found, that charges must be laid and arrests made. The DA in 2015 noted the danger of passing the “Policy for Military Veterans’ Support Framework for eThekwini Municipality” as it was setting a bad precedent. The policy would see EThekwini succumbing to ridiculous demands from MK Veterans wanting preferential treatment in housing opportunities, facilitation of job placement and access to health care among others, as not only unsustainable but will hold council leaders to ransom. This at a time when the then City Manager Sibisiso Sithole had delayed to submit to the council a report about one hundred (100) MK Vets who had been recruited as security officers in the city.

Mayor Zandile Gumede was part of the executive that saw the recruitment of one hundred (100) MK vets in 2015/2016. Mayor Gumede presided over an executive that legitimized the illegal occupation of MK Vets in the Cornuibia Housing Project 2017 and today she is at the centre of rewarding fifty-five (55) military veterans in the city’s water and sanitation department. The shenanigans keep escalating at the expense of the taxpayer and the electorate.

Residents of EThekwini need answers, business owners need solutions, all the while the city sits with no head to account. Mayor Gumede will step down, and the DA will use all available avenues to ensure that the people of EThekwini are not undermined. While internal factions heighten in the ruling party, service delivery is at a standstill.

With 5-days to go to the 2019 General Election, let this be a testimony of the uncaring, detached and distanced ANC led government. The time for change is now, and more than ever all the signs are there of what the next five years of ANC rule have in store for all. Increased corruption in a stagnant economy. Substandard education, dilapidated health care infrastructure and preferential job placement.

The chickens are coming home to roost. The ANC has failed eThekwini like all other municipalities it governs, comrades are still prioritized over regular South Africans. People should put an end to this patronage system, it has collapsed eThekwini and other areas. People of eThekwini must go and peacefully protest against the ANC government on the 8th of May.

As we head to the election, the Democratic Alliance remains the only organization with a plan to grow the economy, create jobs and invest in quality and skills-based education.

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