KZN storm damage: MEC must rectify his failure to work with elected uMngeni representatives

13 Jan 2022 in Press Statements

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes the recent actions of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Human Settlements and Public Works MEC, Jomo Sibiya, following severe storm damage in several parts of the province.

The MEC recently visited the municipalities if Msunduzi and uMngeni. This after informing both the Mayor of Msunduzi and the District Mayor of uMgungundlovu of his intention and extending an invitation to them to accompany him.

However, no such communication or invitation was forthcoming to Umngeni Mayor, Chris Pappas. In fact, it would seem that the MEC intended to visit this municipality without being accompanied by its elected government officials.

Regrettably, it appears that MEC Sibiya is placing party politics ahead of the needs of KZN’s people. Certainly this latest move indicates that he is only willing to work with members of his own party and not with the elected representatives of municipalities, if they are not from the ANC.

The DA-led uMngeni Municipality has worked tirelessly since the storms first broke to gather as much information relating to storm damage and has now completed a full assessment. Given that the MEC seemingly refuses to work with them, he would not have received this important information during his visit.

Currently, it is clear MEC Sibiya’s visit to uMngeni was not aimed at assisting the residents of this municipality and that it was merely an exercise in scoring political points.

The DA takes this opportunity to remind the MEC that when he took his Oath of Office, he agreed to serve all of KZN’s citizens, regardless of their political affiliation, race or creed.

There are a number of KZN municipalities that are not governed by the ANC following the November 2021 elections. The MEC has a duty to show the same respect and dedication to them.

The DA sincerely hopes that the side-lining of uMngeni representatives was a momentary oversight by the MEC and that we will soon see him working with all municipalities, whether they are governed by the ANC, IFP or the DA.

Just as the severe storms did not discriminate, the MEC must do the same and put his petty party political differences aside.

This means engaging with the DA’s Mayor in uMngeni, Chris Pappas, and his elected council, as well as municipal officials, to ensure that assistance is brought to the local community by the two departments that he leads.

Above all, the MEC must show democratic maturity. There can be no place for anything less given the current political climate.