delivery protests

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Disgruntled community members at several poverty-stricken areas in Ulundi in northern Zululand took to the dusty streets yesterday to protest against lack of service delivery.

They said they had extended an invitation to KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sbu Ndebele and his executive council to come and see for themselves, but the premier's office had instead sent a representative.

Community spokesman Jabulani Sithole told Sowetan that their lives had not changed in the past 14 years.

"Our main grievance is that we still do not have clean water, electricity and tarred roads.

"We have a road that was last tarred in 2004 and it now has gaping potholes.

"It's like we are not part of South Africa. It's like we live in an island.

"We feel we have been left out and do not belong. We hear about other areas being developed but ours is cursed," said Sithole.

He said a week ago they held a similar protest but were immediately summoned to a meeting with the district mayor, Zanele Magwaza-Msibi.

"She started telling us that we must know that the area belongs to the IFP and that it will remain like that. She handed out football kits and IFP T-shirts - we can't drink or eat those T-shirts.

"All we want is service delivery - nothing more and nothing less," said Sithole.

He said many areas of northern Zululand were under the leadership of the IFP, but "we are not ANC or IFP supporters, we are just ordinary members of the community".

Magwaza-Msibi said she did attend a meeting with the protesters last week but that it had nothing to do with the IFP.

"Some of the children had asked for soccer kits and we handed them out. We did not hand out IFP T-shirts."

She said yesterday's protest was not about a lack of service delivery but mainly by "certain individuals who have been paid to incite the community against its leaders".

She said she was aware of a water problem due to drought but said they had already started working on a second borehole to help the community to access water.

"We are aware that a Nadeco councillor is one of the people who have been active in these protests.

"Ward 5 is actually the most developed ward in the area.

"Last year alone I handed over three crèches to the value of R750000, fenced two gardens at a cost of R20000, built five classrooms worth R750000, including sanitation, fencing and water."