Silence from uMngeni leadership while hundreds of millions are lost

Issued by Cllr. Janis Holmes – DA UMngeni Caucus Leader
22 Jul 2021 in Press Statements

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes with concern the silence and lack of action from the uMngeni Municipal leadership – both political and administrative – during the recent unrest and chaos that has engulfed our municipality and led to hundreds of millions in losses.

Repeated requests by the DA over the past week for both the executive committee and council to sit and urgently address the situation have not been responded to. We asked for strong leadership and communication during this time of crisis. We asked for the council to discuss the protection of municipal assets, responses to outages, relief and assistance to affected businesses, the urgent need to address firebreaks and the role of uMngeni protection services.

Whilst uMngeni residents rallied to defend and clean their towns, shops and streets, the municipality was closed and silent. Except for one short notice on the purchasing prepaid electricity on the 17th and a message from the mayor on the uMngeni Facebook page, there has been zero communication about interruption to services and when municipal services would resume.

I have been told that the speaker will call a meeting at some point to discuss the events of last week as soon as a report is prepared by the Municipal Manager’s office. This is not good enough. Residents, faith-based organisations, NGOs, NPOs and DA councillors hit the ground running last week, joining hands across communities to provide security, reassurance and food security. We were on the streets whilst our leaders had their heads in the sand.

In a DA-governed uMngeni, forming working partnerships with community policing structures would be a priority. Supporting local NGOs and NPOs would be a priority. These relationships with key community stakeholders would make it easy for a DA mayor to establish a functional and useful Joint Operational Centre immediately. Instead of the community succeeding despite the government, it could flourish because of government.

We will continue exerting pressure on both the mayor and speaker to act and will we continue to fight for a DA-government in uMngeni. If the Covid-19 pandemic or the events of the past week have shown us anything, it is that we need change. Change that can only happen at the polls.

The DA in uMngeni extends its heartfelt gratitude to every organisation and individual who has played a positive part in the aftermath of the Zuma riots. Especially the brave men and women that manned control checkpoints and patrolled our streets and to those whose immediate reaction was to clean up our town and feed those left vulnerable by this crisis.