The Democratic Alliance congratulates Bheki Ntuli on his appointment as KwaZulu-Natal’s new MEC for Transport and Community Safety and Liaison. We also extend our heartfelt and sincere condolences to MEC Ntuli and his family following the recent tragic loss of their son.
That MEC Ntuli served as Chairperson for the Community Safety portfolio committee is a good indication that he will be able to hit the ground running in this area. Both this portfolio and the Transport portfolio are key in KwaZulu-Natal given the ongoing issues of truck-related violence and the constant tensions between foreign nationals and unemployed South African drivers. Our province was burning under the former MEC, as he was mum about stern resolutions.
The public and private taxi industry is no different and this is another disaster waiting to happen. Regrettably, the former MEC also failed to take a principled stance on this and was, in fact, seen to be aligned to certain taxi associations. This has exacerbated the problem, leading to numerous protests and even deaths while the fundamental issues remain unresolved.
In terms of Community Safety, it is clear that the province’s SAPS requires proper and more hands-on monitoring. Community policing forums also need far more support from the province in order to provide KZN’s people with safer communities. We hope that MEC Ntuli will give his attention to this matter.
Given the challenges facing our province, the DA regards it as imperative that MEC Ntuli kick-starts from a new platform. He must not be seen to be ‘taking sides’. Above all, his decisions must be based on what is best for the province and its people, rather than what is in the interests of a select few.