The community of The Willows in ward 02 is reeling with dismay after the local councillor Mr. Mongadi Lazarus convened a parallel meeting to undermine their efforts to discuss development issues. When the community members assembled at the venue the councilor came and instructed the security guard to lock the gates. He then proceeded to the one which he has convened claiming it to be about service delivery particularly of water and electricity.
Members of the community were very furious about the councillor’s conduct and vowed that they will ensure that he is totally isolated as he seems to be ruling with an iron fist. The community was so enraged accusing the councillor of running the ward like his own fiefdom. They accuse him of going around patronizing people by promising jobs and allocation of RDP houses. It is furthermore alleged that he undermines all the local structures and work only with the local indunas.
It is said that he has imposed a ward committee in order to ensure that people he does not like are kept outside of participation in community matters. In a nutshell he uses the divide and rule strategy which was a one time preferred method by the apartheid government. It did not last however. It is not clear how he is going to sustain such a strategy by alienating the whole community.
The community says he sees himself as the only solution to all the challenges facing them. It is alleged that he is causing a lot of disunity in the community and that they have alerted the Regional Office of the ANC without any action to call him to order. The community is thus determined to bring all these to the attention of both provincial and national offices of the ANC.
It is alleged that contractors doing work in the municipality are using his councilor-employment agent capacity to frustrate official procedures of hiring. This has elevated him to a point of a principal dispenser of patronage hence his determination to control all the structures in the community. One community member lamented how their councilor had turned his back on them despite the fact that they supported him to become a councillor.
According to Councillor Mongadi the only two structures that he recognizes are the Indunas and the ward committee. He furthermore indicated that he instructed the security guard to lock the gates because the community did not make an application to use the stadium on the day. He claims that the meeting he convened was announced long before the one at the stadium. Whereas the community claims that the meeting was announced at the eleventh hour when he realized that he would not have leverage on a meeting organized by the community.
As to the claim that he imposed a ward committee Councillor Mongadi indicated that it is not true because the elections of the ward committee were conducted by the municipality officials and therefore it is legitimate. It is therefore very important that this matter should be expedited to test the veracity of the two standpoints but the fact is if in the entire ward there are only two recognized structures then there is a serious problem of legitimacy of the processes.
With a very dysfunctional communication strategy in the municipality and the lack of media briefings when important decisions are made it has become very difficult for the people to know what their municipality is doing in terms of service delivery. The Willows community is thus justified to be enraged by this dictatorial conduct of the councillor.
The community has thus vowed to mobilize the people in order to ensure that real democratic ways are restored to enhance development. It further resolved to restore the dignity of all structures which are now under the councillor’s total control. The community is perturbed that the councillor is undermining their democratic rights to participate unencumbered in the affairs of their own development.
Politics & Governance