Disabled activist says they are left out in municipality

A disabled activist in Ekuphumleni, Mzamo Marwanqwana, recently accused the mayor’s husband, Mzameki Ncamiso, of stealing a business idea, and also claimed that the municipality marginalises disabled people.

FEELING AGGRIEVED: Mzamo Marwanqana, who claimed to be leading a group of about 150 plus disabled people in Ekuphumleni, visited the TotT offices recently to relate a complaint about how his business idea was allegedly stolen by the mayor’s husband, Mzameki Ncamiso, and also the way disabled people are allegedly marginalised Picture: TK MTIKI

Maranqwana said he had a piggery project and had identified a piece of land in Ekuphumleni for his project.

He said after identifying that piece of land he had spoken to mayor Khululwa Ncamiso about it, and that the mayor had suggested that Marwanqana apply to the municipality to use the land. Marwanqana said he subsequently submitted his application letter to the mayor, but to his surprise two weeks later the mayor’s husband had approached him asking to see the piece of land he had applied for.

He said the mayor’s husband had an application letter applying for the same piece of land.

“He showed me his application letter and I could see that he took some of my ideas. I know what I wrote,” Maranqwana said.

He further highlighted that he had been in the piggery business for about three years, raising pigs with government’s assistance. “I have been supported by the [department of] rural development,” he said.

Asked if his application letter was approved, he said: “I have not received a response back from the municipality as yet”. As far as he knew, the mayor’s husband’s application had not been approved either, but he was sceptical of Ncamiso’s proximity to the project.

Marwanqana went on to accuse the municipality of marginalising disabled people for job opportunities in the municipality. “I myself am disabled and I lead a group of about 150 plus in Ekuphumleni and none of us is working in this municipality. When the municipality employs a disabled person they only take one from Port Alfred,” he said.

He wanted the municipality to consider him, and said his disability was walking with a limp.

“Please, the municipality must try to employ a disabled person as a supervisor because some of us have the qualification. I’m willing to forfeit my disability grant as long as I can be employed permanently,” he said.

Marwanqana said he knew of two interim supervisors whom the municipality had employed, even though they have no Grade 12 qualifications. He said one of them is based in Kenton-on-Sea while the other is based in Alexandria.

Responding to Marwanqana’s claims, municipal spokesperson Cecil Mbolekwa initially said: “It is safe to say we have noted these allegations we will do our investigation as the municipality, then we will respond accordingly.”

Mbolekwa later denied Marwanqana’s allegations.  He acknowledged that Marwanqana had approached the mayor for the piece of land, for which the mayor had asked him to submit a formal application.

“In the letter he wanted a piece of land in Ekuphumleni to do [a] piggery, then the mayor took the letter to the LED [local economic development] office for LED to check the possibility of the project. It is deceiving for Mr Marhwanqana to claim that the mayor’s husband tried to steal his ideas, of which according to our records, no application has been received coming from Mr Ncamiso wanting to do the same project,” he said.

However, Marwanqana also revealed that four days after the municipality received TotT’s questions, a municipal official called him and the municipality approved his application letter. He said the piece of land was leased to him for 20 years.

As for Marwanqana’s claims about Ndlambe Municipality marginalising the disabled, Mbolekwa said Ndlambe is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate against anybody.

“There is quite a substantial number of people who are physically challenged who are working in this institution, although we cannot quantify the numbers at this stage. Also there are pieces of legislation that requires institutions like ours to comply with.”

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