Daily News: Lazy officials will be shown door, pledges the president

More efficient forced removal to transit camps is hardly the answer….


Lazy officials will be shown door, pledges the president
Zuma promises to hasten delivery

March 24, 2010 Edition 1

Nontobeko Mtshali and Arthi Sanpath

Lazy government officials who do not do their jobs will be shown the door.

This was the promise President Jacob Zuma made during a follow-up visit to the Madelakufa informal settlement near Tembisa in Ekurhuleni last week.

He first visited the area in November, and described the conditions there as “very bad”.

Residents have in the past taken part in violent protests over the lack of electricity, jobs, clean water and housing.

Since January at least 27 areas around the country, some in KwaZulu-Natal, have erupted in protests that have resulted in council buildings being attacked, roads blockaded and running battles between police and residents.

These incidents have led the government to embark on a turnaround strategy to address growing demand for infrastructure development and housing.

As part of the strategy, government officials will visit affected areas to monitor and speed up the provision of services. Zuma visited Madelakufa to do just that.

Zuma said the visit was only the beginning of a nationwide trip by the government aimed at monitoring and speeding up service provision.

He said the government planned to put laws in place to hasten service provision, adding: “We want to speed things up. When money is allocated, it must work.”

Zuma reminded government officials to fulfil their duties, saying lazy officials would be shown the door.

“All elected leaders must know that their job is not a birthright… Even if you feel that I’m not doing my job, you must say ‘he must go’ and I’ll head home to Nkandla.”

Against the impacts of the recession, low salaries and higher tariff costs for ratepayers, the eThekwini Municipality has had to accommodate protests by the poor for better service provision.

These protests, which made headlines, were a cause for concern, eThekwini city manager Michael Sutcliffe said at the draft budget presentation at City Hall yesterday.

It was of concern locally and nationally and, as such, much of the multimillion rand budget focused on levels of service delivery.

Earlier this week, the well-known and active Abahlali Basemjondolo, an organisation that represents shack-dwellers, took to the streets of the CBD to demand better services, including the provision of houses for the poor.

In November residents of the informal settlement in Unity Avenue, Bayview, Chatsworth, protested about unmet promises of better housing.

The city mentioned yesterday that an additional 2 500 units would be built in rural areas, and said 20 percent of the budget has been directed at housing, pushing the budget for this critical area of service delivery to around R1.1 billion.

Other major items that the city would also work on providing were ablution blocks with water and sewer links in informal settlements, as well as upgrading clinics.