Mr Mayor, we know the state of the City!

The DA’s premier candidate in KwaZulu-Natal Chris Pappas, left, and his eThekwini party caucus leader Thabani Mthethwa present what they called the real state of the City address. Photo: Willem Phungula

The DA’s premier candidate in KwaZulu-Natal Chris Pappas, left, and his eThekwini party caucus leader Thabani Mthethwa present what they called the real state of the City address. Photo: Willem Phungula

Published Apr 30, 2024


Durban — The Ethekwini Ratepayers Protest Movement has called on Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda not to waste residents’ time by presenting his State of the City Address since everyone knew it, but rather present his turnaround plan to fix the problems. The association was making its input ahead of the mayor’s presentation of the address on Tuesday (today).

Speaking to the Daily News on Monday, the Westville Ratepayers Association and eThekwini Ratepayers Protest Movement chairperson Asad Gaffar said the people of eThekwini were not expecting the mayor to tell them something they already knew.

He said all they would want to hear was how the mayor plans to fix the problems with the budget he would be presenting.

“Mr Mayor, we know the state of the City so please tell us how you plan to fix these known problems.

“We do not need to be reminded of our lived experiences so the mayor should not waste our time but go straight to the point and tell us what is your turnaround strategy,” said Gaffar.

Kaunda’s spokesperson Mluleki Mntungwa said the mayor would be fulfilling his constitutional duty when he presents his State of the City address to the residents of eThekwini. He added that the mayor will present the challenges facing the City and then provide interventions.

On Tuesday (today) Kaunda is expected to announce interventions to resolve water crises, electricity, roads, parks, and the City’s economy.

Gaffar shot into prominence last year when he led a defiance campaign and boycotted rates, saying that there was no reason to pay for services they were not getting.

The City took the matter to court and won.

In its “real” State of the City Address on Monday, the DA as the official opposition concurred with the association, saying spending money at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre for mayor Kaunda to present the State of the City Address would be a waste and that he should rather prioritise money for the basic needs.

The DA held a media briefing at the once-world-renowned Funworld Park at the beachfront.

The eThekwini caucus was joined by the party’s premier candidate Chris Pappas, who said that the real state of eThekwini was that the Funworld Park was gone.

“For decades this park used to be a place where young and old, and families from different backgrounds would come and enjoy the best that Durban had to offer, which is a cool climate, a warm Indian Ocean, a clean and safe beachfront, and tourist attractions along the golden mile. It was fun in the sun for everyone.

“Today, this same spot and this same beachfront is a very different place. The Funworld is gone. The Indian Ocean is not safe to swim in. The beachfront is now a haven for criminals – and the tourists are disappearing,” said Pappas.

He said eThekwini Metro’s failures go against its own motto, “To create the most liveable city in Africa by 2030”. The city was quickly becoming a place of hardship and misery for far too many people, he said, adding that life was just getting harder and harder for residents every single day.

Pappas who is also mayor of uMngeni Local Municipality said the problems facing the City were man-made, so they can be fixed. He reiterated that his first decision as premier would be to place eThekwini under administration and appoint capable people to run the City.

“This is the real state of eThekwini that residents of uMlazi and KwaMashu have shown me, the unbearable lives they lead surrounded by sewage flowing through the streets which makes their families sick and causes their children to miss school.

“Tourist operators and hotels have shown me empty booking registers because the visitors have disappeared as they are scared to swim in the sewage-filled sea or step outside to explore the city due to high crime,” Pappas said.

“Therefore, my first order of business with the provincial cabinet will be to put eThekwini Metro under administration and appoint a competent administrator who will take over the management of the City.

“Secondly, I will ensure that a comprehensive review of the City manager and his deputy who are responsible for front-line service delivery is immediately undertaken,” he said.

In a similar address a year ago the mayor said the City had begun “rising from the ashes” of flood disasters and the 2021 July riots. He referred to economic recovery examples such as the re-opening of the Bridge City Mall.

“The reopening of this mall has rejuvenated the economic activity in the Phoenix, Inanda, Ntuzuma, and KwaMashu nodes.

“It has also brought back renewed hope to around 1500 people who lost their jobs during the unrest,” the mayor said then.

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