Joint Media Statement: Ndwedwe Community Unrests

29 April 2019

Today, Monday 29 April 2019, the community of Ndwedwe woke up to disruptions and chaos on Ndwedwe’s main road, P100 with smoke and protesters on rampage.

A top-level leadership of both Ilembe District Municipality and Ndwedwe Local Municipality have met and expressed shock and dismay at this kind of behavior and conduct by some disruptive elements in our community.

The leadership see this as utter criminal elements and opportunistic conduct displayed by those who want to use service delivery issues in Ndwedwe to exploit the community for their own personal gains as we approach National Elections.

The first protest took place on 11 April 2019 in Njubanjuba (ward 7) and another one happened on 15 April 2019 in Ndwedwe central. The leadership confirms that the issues raised in the previous protests are being attended to as promised during a series of public meetings that were held with the affected communities.

One such fruitful public meeting was held in Luthuli Traditional Court in Njubanjuba area, ward 7 on 17 April 2019 while another public meeting was held at Mavela Traditional Court, ward 15 on 22 April 2019, respectively. There was also another public meeting this past Friday, 26 April 2019, held at Ndwedwe Council Chamber with residents of Makhawula and Nqakathela areas.

In all these public meetings, water and RDP housing topped the list of grievances that the residents raised. In relation to water, residents allege that Ilembe District Municipality is unable to provide water to Ndwedwe communities because it owes Umgeni Water a large sum of money. Some residents also allege that the Ilembe District Municipality cuts water off deliberately because it wants water tanker service providers – some allegedly owned by Ilembe District Municipality officials – to benefit by delivering water to the community.

Another issue raised is that iLembe District Municipality officials sell water, to selected community members who can afford to buy, using water tankers. The Mayor of Ilembe District Municipality, Cllr Sduduzo Gumede, categorically deny these allegations with the full contempt they deserve.

“All these allegations are not true. Ilembe gets billed by Umgeni Water on a monthly basis and we are up to date with payments. With regards to water tankers, our Supply Chain system prohibits our officials from bidding for tenders, as such we have a three-year panel of external service providers to provide water to the district communities, including Ndwedwe. Again, I wish to encourage communities to take photos, phone in, send text to report Ilembe District Municipality officials who sell water from water tankers by using the iLembe Call Centre WhatsApp number 074 344 4508.”

“Overall, we have plans and projects that are currently underway to deal with issues of old infrastructure renewal and installing or constructing new infrastructure. This will assist in addressing water losses through leaks and of demand created by the organic growth of the population,” said Mayor Gumede.

About houses, the residents expressed their impatience over the long waiting period for houses to be delivered by Ndwedwe Local Municipality. In response, Mayor of Ndwedwe Local Municipality Cllr Nkosinathi Chili clarified that housing is a function of Human Settlements Department; however, he said as a municipality, the role of Ndwedwe Local Municipality is to facilitate and coordinate applications or request packs then submit to the Department of Human Settlements for processing and approval.

“The challenge we face is that the housing process by its nature is a long process. However, there are housing projects that are currently underway in the affected wards, some are on phase one and phase two respectively,” said Mayor Chili.

Both municipalities remain open to further engagement with the communities, key stakeholders like Amakhosi and business sector. The leadership regrets the inconvenience caused by the disruptions and urge the law enforcement agencies to act swiftly and decisively to restore calm and order.

Report any water leaks or issues to our 24 hour call centre 032 – 437 9427

//END//

Joint Statement issued by: Ilembe District Municipality and Ndwedwe Local Municipality

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