DA oversight to Azalea Township reveals empty promises on broken asbestos roofing

29 Jun 2022 in Press Statements

The Democratic Alliance in Msunduzi conducted an oversight visit to the Azalea Township this past weekend to check on the progress made on houses that were ravaged by a storm in December 2021.

This storm left gaping holes in their old asbestos roofs. The oversight revealed that the conditions under which these residents – especially the elderley, sickly, and vulnerable – continue to live has deteriorated well past the level of what is acceptable to human dignity and well-being. The continued exposure to the elements – in particular water leaks which continue to cause damage to property and damp leading to mold infestation – poses a significant health risk to residents.

Prior to this oversight, the DA Chief Whip in Msunduzi Municipality, Bongumusa Nhlabathi, submitted a letter to the General Manager of Sustainable Development and City Enterprises in Msunduzi Municipality, Mr Nxumalo, requesting an urgent follow up to what were hollow promises made by the MEC for Human Settlements, Jomo Sibiya, and officials from both Msunduzi and Umgungundlovu District Municipality on the 1st January 2022 during a visit to the affected area.

On this official visit, MEC Sibiya promised residents that the roofs would be replaced within ten days. Two days later, on the 3rd January 2022, officials returned to Azalea Township to take measurements and assess the damages. To date, there have been no repairs to the houses or roofs despite desperate calls from residents; neither has there been any feedback. The callous treatment of Azalea Township’s long-suffering residents by the municipality is unacceptable.

In our letter to the General Manager of Sustainable Development and City Enterprises in Msunduzi Municipality, we submitted the following questions:

1. What is the municipality’s knowledge of and information on the roof repair project?
2. What is the role and involvement of Msunduzi Municipality’s Human Settlements in the roof repair project?
3. What are the timeframes on the roof repair project?

Should a prompt response not be forthcoming from Mr. Nxumalo, the DA will escalate the issue to the National Minister of Human Settlements.

The DA will continue to pursue all necessary angles to ensure accountability for the residents of Azalea Township. The health and human dignity of this community must be restored as a matter of urgency.