Residents accuse leaders of corruption

A group of residents voice their frustration with poor service in their community.

Residents of Phola Park in Khikhi, Nyanga, have accused their community leaders of corruption, nepotism and failure to bring development to their area.

The residents said these community leaders have been at the helm of leadership for more than five years and refuse to step down because they are corrupt.

The community leaders were elected by the residents to be the leaders of the Phola Park community and represent them. Vukani met with a group of residents last week who raised their concerns about their community leaders.

They have also lambasted their ward councillor, saying he has failed to bring development to the area.

Resident Nomawethu Ntuli alleged the community leaders were employing their friends and relatives when community employment opportunities open up.

Ms Ntuli said residents were clueless about the development plans for their community. She claimed some of the leaders would even call their relatives from the Eastern Cape to get employment.

She said people in this community should be the ones benefiting from employment opportunities and proper procedures should be followed whereby everyone who are employed should be screened to ensure that there were no outsides.

Instead, she said these leaders are the ones who are submitting the names of people to be employed to the Fezeka municipal offices.

She said these community leaders were renting out the community hall to stokvel groups and churches and claimed that the monies received were not used to maintain the hall but rather for their own interests. She said the state of the hall is shocking.

Ms Ntuli said they have tried several times to ask these leaders to step down from their leadership positions but they are refusing.

“We want this current leadership to step down. We have no clue of the development plans for the area. We feel that the ward councillor is not doing his job and he doesn’t care about us. We are so frustrated,” she said.

She said their communal toilets had not been serviced for more than a year while some of them had been blocked. A number of their communal taps were also no longer working.

Ms Ntuli said some of the households in the area do not have electricity and it has been almost year since they had been living in the dark. She said they have reported all these issues to their community leaders and ward councillor but nothing had been done about it.

Mwezeni Sitsha, who is deputy chairperson of the Phola Park leadership, denied the allegations levelled against them.

He said these leaders were not corrupt and had never rented the community hall for their own benefit.

However, he said there were certain people who were tarnishing their image because they wanted to be leaders.

“We have never misused any funds. We have always demonstrated quality leadership. How could we refuse to step down when we were elected by the community? We do not have the powers without the community,” he said.

Ward councillor Sonwabo Ngxumza from the ANC said he has not received concrete evidence and facts about these corruption allegations.

He noted, however, that the leadership had been at the helm for too long and has advised the residents to appoint new leaders.

On the issue of electricity, he said the majority of the households had their electricity supply fixed and their electricity boxes had been reinstalled.

He said currently four people have been employed to ensure that the communal toilets are cleaned.

Mr Ngxumza said he has alerted the City of Cape Town to the blocked and broken toilets that need attention and is awaiting their response.

He denied allegations that there were no development plans for the area. He said there are plans to build serviced sites and erecting streets in the area.

However, he said there are residents who would need to be placed at alternative pieces of land to create space for this development.

Mr Ngxumza said while the City should be spearheading this project it seems that they do not have a sense of urgency to start with this project.

He said the City’s response has always been that they are still looking for alternative land.