Residents losing faith in promises

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Residents of the impoverished rural village of Donnybrook in southern KwaZulu-Natal say they have lost faith in the government after spending more than a decade "not seeing any development" in their area.

The angry community expressed their concerns at an imbizo held at the Sisonke district municipality at the weekend.

More than 2000 people attended the meeting hosted by Minister of Minerals and Energy Buyelwa Sonjica and Water affairs and Forestry Minister Lindiwe Hendricks.

The two were addressing residents' concerns about the lack of running water, sanitation and electricity in the area.

Thoko Mthembu, a resident, said there had been no change since 1994.

"The only thing we have are these RDP houses, but there is no electricity and running water," Mthembu said. "It's upsetting to hear mayor Jini Khoza going on the radio and telling the world we have water and electricity when, in fact, we have nothing."

Khoza was present but did not respond.

Mthembu said escalating crime in the area added to their problems.

"We have a high crime rate in this area because there is no electricity," she said. "Our children are raped in the dark. We want change and development."

Sonjica said they were aware of the community's problems and promised to fast track service delivery in the area.

She said her department had put aside more than R44 million to ensure that all areas in the district have electricity.

"We have put money aside for infrastructure development," she said. "We will continue to deliver electricity to the people."

Hendricks said she "was very concerned" that the area had no running water.

"We will build a dam to supply water. We have put aside R24 million for that project," Hendricks said.