Article by Mongisi Msibi
Mr Daddy Suleman came to Kenneth Gardens in 1995, became a committee member in the year 1999. When he first became a member there was no committee at the time which is the reason he joined or volunteered to become a member. Mr Suleman told us that the person who founded the Kenneth Gardens residence committee was Mr Gibson Gatsheni who still lives in Kenneth gardens but has since retired from the committee. There were also people like the late Thabani Magwaza, Mr Simbini and many others who formed this group of concerned individuals about Kenneth Gardens Mr Suleman said.
The committee at that time had different races and was very vibrant, the communication and the service between Council and the Committee was very good. The Council responded promptly ,there were no complaints what so ever at the time from the community, committee and council worked as one unit. If a community member had a complaint, within 2 days the municipality would respond. Kenneth Gardens had a caretaker who was permanently based in Kenneth Gardens. He did all the small jobs as a handyman, e.g. fixing leaky taps, washing lines, etc. All those jobs were done by the caretaker who stayed in Kenneth Gardens which made the job of the committee easy.
Currently there are a number of things which are part of service delivery that were promised by the municipality and yet are not being done. “I can say that the municipality does not care about this place even though it’s council property” comments Mr Suleman. There was a project that the officials of Kenneth Gardens promised would would be undertaken, the project was supposed to be rolled out in three phases; the first phase was supposed to be the installation of gates, the second was the building of a car park, third was going to be fencing to be installe. Out of the three only the gates were done and this was promised in the year 2000. The money was allocated for all those things but only the gates were done.
To date the council promises, but put no discernible action has been taken to fulfill all of the promises that were and are still being made.”Since they haven’t done these things especially the fencing, this place is infested with drugs and alcohol abuse. There is no access control anybody from anywhere come to Kenneth gardens drink or do drugs and no one says anything” says Mr Suleman. “75% of the youth is not working, they are roaming around” he continues. If the municipality will make sure that some of the maintenance on the flats is done by the youth of Kenneth gardens might help in fighting unemployment in the area.
Being a committee member is a voluntary thing, it can work if the people elected work together as one. Currently the people who get elected in the committee come to a few meetings and they don’t show up anymore, they do with for face value. For the committee to work in Kenneth gardens depends on the people who are elected, they must have a vision and the heart to serve the people of Kenneth Gardens.