Starry-eyed Views On City Misplaced

At a time when eThekwini Metro is beset by so many self-inflicted shortcomings, how does The Mercury justify its headline story concerning the lack of gender parity (April 8)?

Those of us who actually pay our utility bills are interested only in service delivery, regardless of colour or gender. There should be only one criterion: merit. Instead of wasting time and resources bean counting the number of women who are employed and in what posts, the focus should be on fixing the infrastructure that is broken and neglected. eThekwini Metro is in a state of crisis – no matter which aspect one wants to scrutinise.

An equally absurd article on The Mercury’s front page concerns the views of our R3,9 million a year city manager, Musa Mbhele, on US investments in Durban.  The starry-eyed prospects he projects read like a piece that missed the publication deadline for April Fools’ items.

He waxes glowingly about $200 million “worth of investment opportunities in the inner-city alone.”  Has Mbhele ventured outside his office to look at the state of the inner city? Has it not occurred to him that property sales there are few and far between for the simple reason that the area is economically unattractive? Has it not occurred to him why Umhlanga and Ballito are investment destinations?

It is pointless talking about heritage buildings in the inner city which will “excite” investors. Until access to those buildings is cleared and cleaned up, locals like myself, stay clear of them despite the fine memories we have of them. Moreover, investors are not interested in historical relevance. In that respect, why does the ANC tout pre-1994 historical relics as an attraction when they have changed all the street names in the CBD, thereby destroying historical context?

As for his bluster about water taxi transport and making Durban harbour “one of the top performing ports in the world,” it really is sad when officials expect us to swallow such pie-in-the-sky nonsense.  Mbhele and the ANC have proved adept at only one thing: breaking what was fixed and failing to fix what is broken.

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