Willies Mchunu. Picture: JACKIE CLAUSEN/THE TIMES
Willies Mchunu. Picture: JACKIE CLAUSEN/THE TIMES

The DA’s re-elected KwaZulu-Natal leader, Zwakele Mncwango, and the party’s provincial chairperson, Francois Rodgers, joined party activists in a picket ahead of the state of the province address at the KwaZulu-Natal legislature, on Wednesday.

The DA said the demonstration was meant to highlight "the corrupt and uncaring ANC government in KwaZulu-Natal that has turned its back on the people".

During the protest at the Royal Showgrounds in Pietermaritzburg, the opposition party in the provincial legislature called for "a total change in KwaZulu-Natal" and sought to remind citizens that it was "only the DA that is capable of prioritising them and delivering services to all".

The party also highlighted the health crisis in the province and accused health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo of refusing to be held accountable for the deaths of hundreds due to his department’s "incompetence".

The DA also complained that the province was facing a huge housing backlog while premier Willies Mchunu’s official residence in Pietermaritzburg had been upgraded at an astronomical cost.

There was uproar in 2017 when it emerged that more than R32m had been earmarked for the renovations and upgrade of Mchunu’s official’s residence.

This followed a parliamentary reply to the DA in the province, in which it was disclosed that Mchunu’s Parkside Residence in Pietermaritzburg was undergoing renovations valued R32,650,330. The upgrades included renovations to the swimming pool surrounding area, including the paving and braai area to the value of just more than R1m, upgrading of three bathrooms for R540,000 and repairs to electrical light fittings for R540,000, and repairs to other electrical light fittings for R180,000.

It was also disclosed that the monthly running costs for the property included a garden service fee of R15, 960, a water and electricity bill of about R10,000, and DStv for R1,755.

"For the longest of time, the government in KwaZulu-Natal has abdicated its role of prioritising the people of this province by providing them with services. Instead, they have allowed internal political squabbles to dominate in this province, neglecting the poor and the most vulnerable," said the DA in a statement.