Residents won’t rest until councillor addresses their concerns

New Rest residents gathered last Thursday to voice their concerns about their councillor.

Streets strewn with litter, unemployment, crime, hijackings, faulty street lights, water leakages, and overflowing raw sewage are some of the problems that led to calls from residents of New Rest in Gugulethu for their councillor to address their concerns or resign.

The New Rest residents in Ward 40 are now calling for councillor Bongani Ngcombolo to step down, saying he has been unresponsive to their concerns and never attends community meetings.

Last Thursday a group of close to 200 residents of New Rest, which falls into Ward 40, gathered to discuss their concerns and voice their concern at their ward councillor, Bongani Ngcombolo.

The residents said after numerous calls to him and the old local committee had yielded no results, they had decided to elect their own committee This committee, however, is not recognised by the councillor.

Its deputy chairman, Sam Ntsawu said residents were sick and tired of begging Mr Ngcombolo to acknowledge them and accused the councillor and “his cabal” of not consulting with the community about projects.

“They do as they like here. People are not getting jobs but are given to friends and those close to him,” Mr Ntsawu said.

“Crime is getting out of hand but they do want patrollers. The streets are littered with rubbish and drains are forever leaking but he has never bothered to come here and see us.

“It is not that we have never called him. What he does is to make excuses that he is not around,” he claimed.

Residents also complained that in parts of the ward, street lights were not working, putting at risk people who go to work in the morning and those who come late.

“We also have a creche where there are no toilets for the children,” Mr Ntsawu told Vukani.

Local committee secretary Mavuyi Leleni said they were also concerned that work on various community projects had been given to outsiders while many of their people were unemployed.

“That is why we decided to stop those who are cleaning here today. These people are from far areas but we have our youngsters who are sitting at home not working. It is clear that our councillor has no plan for New Rest and its residents,” she said.

Resident Pele Soci complained that a lot of people in his community were sick because of the filthy conditions they live in and that there was not a single street which didn’t have a leaking drain. “We have to contend with sewage but we have a councillor. He will think we do not like him but we do. All he has to do is to serve us.”

In response to the allegations Mr Ngcombolo said he had had meetings with the community and that they had wanted him to approve an illegal committee.

He also warned the community about being “used by certain individuals” against him, because the local elections were around the corner.

“They wanted me to endorse the new committee without them following proper processes. I cannot be part of that. I cannot be misled by people who are aligned with factions too. I have been involved in talks with them but are not prepared to do things the right way. These are just populists who are used,” he said.

He added that the pandemic and resultant restrictions had prevented him from holding meetings.

Residents complained about unserviced roads in their area.
A resident walks by an overflowing drain.
New Rest residents show Vukani the filth that litters the streets of their community.