Be the glue that holds the community together

EDITOR – I respond to the report in the Sun’s 18 August edition, regarding the ward 97 committee, in particular the comment that the committee is disappointed in the ‘community’s apathy’.

READ HERE: Ward committee laments Amanzimtoti residents’ apathy

Residents should not be distressed at such criticism, typical hypocrisy as one would expect from those responsible for the parlous state of our nation. These so-called ward committees are after all an ANC creation, designed to give the illusory impression that we live in a democracy.

According to the rules for ward committees, the objective of such committee is ‘to enhance participatory democracy’. This is typically disarming terminology and entirely false. In practise, democracy and the law is consciously subverted at every turn within the city council and its committees. In keeping with government policy, opposing voices are ridiculed and treated with contempt. Insults, threats and incitement are commonplace.That is a matter of record.

And what is one to make of the the committee’s megalomanic demand that the 10 ward committee members, each holding a specific portfolio, must each be supported by 10 residents. There is no such requirement in law, so what is the intent? To shift responsibility, one presumes.

In common with the rest of the country, we already have a bloated bureaucracy bent on self-enrichment. It seems then that, apart from thousands of paid municipal officials and paid ward committee members, we will now have 100 unpaid residents in each ward, in effect responsible and answerable for everyday municipal functions. When one considers that Ethekwini has something like 110 wards, that’s an awful lot of bodies. Let’s hope they don’t all demand the usual offices, bursaries, subsidies, laptops, cell phones, meals, bodyguards, blue light escorts and other comforts.

Consider further the Mayor’s recently announced ‘economic emancipation scheme’ which will have contractors or service providers selected from the wards where a service or project is being undertaken. Guess who will be selected?

Fact is, citizens do not need ward committees. What we need is an ethical, functional municipality managed and staffed by professionals, like one finds in normal countries. Here’s hoping.

Personally, I think residents who have the time should join one of the many service organisations, volunteer groups or NGOs that serve our community without thought of reward. These are the unsung heroes, and the glue that holds the community together.

JEFF VAN BELKUM

  AUTHOR
South Coast Sun

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