Port Shepstone is on the Southeast coast of South Africa. It is approximately sixty-minutes from Durban by car — boasting some of the most spectacular beaches and varieties of vegetation and of multi-cultural communities as you drive along the coast. This town is special to me for a number of reasons – it’s where I used to take my boat into the Umzimkulu River, despite not knowing how to swim, collecting as many sardines my small hand could grasp as thousands wash up onto our shores every year; it’s where I sat in the bushes munching sugarcane or picking lychee, mangoes and avocados.
Port Shepstone is my hometown and the smell of the humid salty air and familiar horizon of the ocean are likening to a warm blanket comforting me which says, “You are home!”. I remember when Seychelles (the name of a company) which used to sell ice-cream at the Port Shepstone beach and how safe the beach were to just park and watch the waves crush as we shared a meal, or enjoying the ride of a vintage locomotive called the Banana Express.
I’ve just returned for a brief visit recently and to witness how my beloved Port Shepstone now lies in ruins – ethically and socially. She is being raped and abused by her leadership. Those entrusted to care for savage beaches, beautiful landscapes and her treasures have gone mad.
So many residents complain about their Councillors, the bribery, corruption by brokering deals which are for self-interest rather than the greater good of the community. I’m told that much of the leadership is so blinded for self-gain that they have not actually stopped for a moment to see how a vibrant pretty boutique town is turning into a cheap derelict place.
Many can disagree all they want with me, but the truth of the situation is seen by its visitors who have been to my lovely town in the years gone by as ‘the fortune seekers and gold diggers’ whom sworn an oath to protect and serve our town. The astounding nature of these abuses are known by most people in the town, at present they can parade in their new cars and purchase properties in the names of immediate families. Every time our representatives (government officials) participate in corruption and abuse their power, someone is unemployed, someone’s family starves and someone turns to crime. May the blood of the victims be upon our corrupt officials as they turn a blind eye.
I’m hoping that our provincial government would investigate all local government officials, their families and immediate families to understand how is that our local politicians are doing so well financially and what are of those tenders? In addition, when an investigation is underway please be sure that the investigating officer too is not easily purchased – just as the way our town is being sold-off!