Dube-Ncube in hot seat at imbizo on crime and jobs

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube. Picture: Supplied

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube. Picture: Supplied

Published May 23, 2024


Durban — In what is potentially her last official public event, outgoing Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube held an imbizo in uMlazi to address the long-standing issues of rampant crime and service delivery.

Some residents used the imbizo, held at King Zwelithini Stadium, south of Durban, to grill Dube-Ncube on the burning issue of crime, grinding poverty, and surging unemployment.

The issue of the lack of water besetting many neighbourhoods in eThekwini was also brought under the spotlight, with residents challenging Dube-Ncube to present tangible solutions the government had to end the crisis.

Xolani Shange, a resident of the shanty settlement at Emhlabeni in the uMlazi V section, said there was no development in his area, they had no toilets or houses.

“We feel like we are neglected as residents of Emhlabeni.”

Nomusa Mkhize from Ngonyameni, outside uMlazi, said: “Premier we have a big problem of the shortage of water in Ngonyameni.

“Please tell us how you are going to deal with this issue.”

Mkhize said they did not have water in rural Ngonyameni, and their dream of having water remained a pipe dream.

Another resident, Musa Ngcobo, slammed the government’s R350 social relief of distress grant.

“As young people, we want proper jobs, not this R350 grant, because it is not enough and it is making us lazy. We don’t want this grant, we want proper jobs,” he said.

Responding, Dube-Ncube said: “We also don’t like the R350. The government is spending about R30 billion to fund this grant. Instead, the government should use this money to build factories and employ people.”

After Inanda, uMlazi registered the second-highest number of murders in the latest crime stats.

Addressing this, Dube-Ncube said: “The government is tackling the issue of crime head-on. We work with many community-based organisations and the police to tackle crime.”

On the transit camps, she said: “I don’t like the issue of lindelas (transit camps). We cannot have people waiting for 20 years to be allocated houses.”

The imbizo comes amid a two-week protest by unemployed social workers who are camping outside the premier’s office in Pietermaritzburg.

Reacting to this, she said the government would not lie to them by promising jobs, citing tight budget constraints.

“The budget we have now does not allow us to employ them. And we need to undertake a transparent process to employ them when we have the budget to do so,” said Dube-Ncube.

Despite the backlash, some residents praised the ANC government for improving the lives of South Africans.

Dube-Ncube used the government event as a launching pad to campaign for the ANC and to attack her political opponents. Her tenure as premier ends on May 29, the day of the highly anticipated elections to elect new public office bearers for the next five years.

With predictions pointing to a hung province with no party mustering an outright majority, it remains to be seen who would become the next premier of the coastal province.

If the ANC emerges victorious in KZN, its provincial chairperson, Siboniso Duma, who’s number one on his party’s candidate list for the province, will take over as premier.

The special votes will start on May 27 and end on May 28, with the official elections set for May 29.

Dube-Ncube was accompanied by eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda and deputy mayor Zandile Myeni.

Kaunda said: “We have concluded many projects and still have many projects on the pipeline that we’ll be concluding this year.”

Kaunda promised that the city would employ at least 400 new metro cops annually.

A selected group of elderly people were showered with gifts, which included blankets, while local grass cutters were given wheelbarrows and racks.

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