Premier Helen Zille returned to Hermanus on Saturday to discuss the way forward with representatives of Overstrand Unite.
After five hours of deliberation and discussions, seven resolution points were arrived at.
The meeting was held at Overstrand Municipality, a continuation of previous discussions, and a memorandum was handed over and signed by the premier.
Masizole Mnqasela, the DA’s Overstrand constituency head and Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP), chaired the meeting and explained the main objective was to create an environment for cooperation.
Discussions were seen as productive and informative, placing emphasis on issues representatives had come to address.
Housing corruption and corruption within the municipality were raised by Theron Mqhu, a member of Zwelihle Renewal.
“People in our communities are fighting for houses and not living in the houses allocated to them,” Siyabulela Notwala, a committee member of Zwelihle Renewal, pointed out.
Overstrand mayor Dudley Coetzee explained that people should come forward when corruption is suspected and direct enquiries to the housing department.
Zille said corruption should be investigated and it was decided she and her team would visit Zwelihle and Mount Pleasant, and look into the situations of families not having moved into the houses allocated to them. “I must reiterate that necessary action will be taken against any person found guilty of wrongdoing, regardless of the position they hold,” Mnqasela warned.
One of the demands presented at the last meeting was the removal of municipal manager Coenie Groenewald from his post.
Zille explained that from a legal perspective a municipal manager can be removed only when a formal allegation of misconduct is logged and council passes a resolution to investigate the complaint.
“Without an allegation formally logged there can be no disciplinary process against the municipality manager,” she stressed. Zille explained that the only way a municipal council can lawfully be dismissed is if the municipality has failed to fulfil an executive obligation in terms of a constitutional legislation.
Vanesssa Swanepoel, a representative of Overstrand Unite, told Hermanus Times she feels the group was moving in the right direction. “We feel positive knowing that they are taking us seriously,” she said. “We are happy with the answers given and realise there are processes that need to be followed.”
The visit by Zille, Mnqasela and Coetzee was moved to a later date at the request of the community leadership. Further dates will be confirmed.
Zwelihle Renewal made renewed threats of protest action targeted at businesses. The group’s leader, Gcobani Ndzogana, says the protest will take place in a few days time.
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