Poor rural folk cry for amenities
Poverty-stricken residents of rural Nsukazi on the outskirts of Ulundi are fed up with the lack of service delivery in the area.
The situation has become a crisis in that the elderly and sick have to travel three hours to the nearest clinic in a nearby town.
Residents also told Sowetan that they did not have electricity.
Sowetan was inundated with calls yesterday from angry residents who felt abandoned because of the "empty promises" made to them.
They said they had been waiting since September 2006 for the clinic but nothing had happened.
Senior citizen Mbangwa MaDlamini Buthelezi said the closest clinic was some 10 kilometres away.
"We are forced to travel for three hours to the nearest clinic, which is situated at Ezimfabeni, another area far from ours, and this means that a sick person can die on the way," Buthelezi said.
"As if that is not enough, we have to walk this distance through the bush and along narrow paths."
She said their local IFP councillor, Linda Buthelezi, was trying but his efforts seemed to bear no fruits.
Another resident, Lungile Mbatha, said: "Our leaders are taking us for a ride. They promise things knowing that they will never fulfil them and we are sick and tired of their lies."
Councillor Buthelezi shifted the blame to the provincial department of health.
He said they had written several letters to Pietermaritzburg and got a response from the then MEC for health, Peggy Nkonyeni, now a provincial legislature speaker.
"Nkonyeni sent a team of people from Ulundi in 2006 to come and inspect the area," Buthelezi said. "We even showed them land that had been reserved for a clinic but that was the last time we heard from them or saw them.
"I don't know what more one can do because we did all that had to be done but to no avail."
KwaZulu-Natal department of health spokesperson Leon Mbangwa acknowledged that the community had asked for a clinic in the area.
"The building of a clinic takes place in two stages," Mbangwa said. "The first is that we have to do a feasibility study so that we know the population and the type of a clinic that has to be built according to the needs of that particular community."
He said after the feasibility study planning could start and an application to the national department processed.
Mbangwa said before the election campaign Nkonyeni wanted to go and conduct a sod-turning ceremony in the area, but was reprimanded by "certain" people who viewed this as politicking.
He said the matter was getting the "necessary attention".