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XENOPHOC DISPLACEMENT OF FOREIGN NATIONALS : 16 APRIL 2015 : UMVOTI MUNICIPALITY

A meeting has been held at Umvoti Municipality regarding the Humanitarian effort needed to help refugees of xenophobia.

The following officials and members attended: His Worship the Mayor Cllr TC Ngubane, The Deputy Mayor Cllr ES Shange, The Speaker Cllr MS Yengwa, Cllr P T Zuma, Cllr KL Chonco, Cllr NSV Machaba, Administrator Mr M M Sithole, (guidance from the Municipal Manager Mr B Xulu) members of the Umvoti Municipality Protection Services Unit and Greytown SAPS.

The Department of Social Development and the SAPS had requested assistance from the Umvoti Municipality to take care of foreign nationals who had been threatened by xenophobic violence.

At around 12h00 on the 16th April the foreign nationals were welcomed and a safe haven was provided for them in our Town hall. Umvoti Municipality Protection Services together with the Greytown SAPS were tasked by the Umvoti Municipal Leadership (His Worship the Mayor Cllr TC Ngubane, The Deputy Mayor Cllr ES Shange, The Speaker Cllr MS Yengwa, Cllr P T Zuma, Cllr KL Chonco, Cllr NSV Machaba, Administrator Mr M Sithole) to assist with making sure this community although displaced were provided with a safe haven.

The Mayor His Worship Cllr TC Ngubane called an urgent meeting with all relevant stakeholders to discuss this issue. Various sites were mooted as possible safe havens to accommodate the families safely. After deliberations and debates it was agreed and resolved that the foreign nationals would be housed at a place of safety until further notice.

At 18h00 a meeting was convened with the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Speaker and Councilors with the foreign nationals, committing the town’s support and protection to this displaced community.

The foreign nationals responded by showing their appreciation of this support, the mobilization of the towns leadership, the proactive work of the protection services and SAPS, the staff of the municipality and the Greytown Community at large.

An appeal was sent out on the 16th April at 15h30 to the Community of Greytown by the staff at Umvoti Municipality and the response has been overwhelming. The informal organizing committee members Mrs Theresa Edwards, Ms Ansuya Maharaj, Ms Nozipho Mkhize and members of the community Mrs Luzanne Barnard, Mrs Kirsty Pope, Umvoti Aids Centre and Mrs June Littirick of the Greytown Gazette were able to ensure that blankets, food and necessities were available for this community by nightfall.

Further donations have been pouring in and the Greytown community is thanked profusely for their kind and generous assistance. We are keeping all members of the community up to date on an ongoing basis as and when items are needed.

His Worship the Mayor Cllr T Ngubane would like to state categorically that this type of lawlessness will not be tolerated in Umvoti Municipality and all steps whatever necessary would be taken to insure the safety of the town, its citizens and its visitors.

Once again the Umvoti Municipality’s leadership, Municipal Manager, the Administrator, Management and staff have proven that they are well versed in handling emergency situations as they occur and the Greytown Community has once again reaffirmed its true spirit and actions of Ubuntu. (Ubuntu is an ancient African word meaning 'humanity to others'. and 'I am what I am because of who we all are')

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Greytown is Head Office of the Umvoti Municipality and is situated 75 km north of Pietermaritzburg. The area of jurisdiction is 2508 sq. km with greenery, timber, sugar cane, maize and abundant investment opportunity.

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Municipal Demarcation Board Code: KZ245

Location of Head Office: Greytown is 75 km north of Pietermaritzburg

Municipal Area (km2): 2 307.6

Umvoti Local Municipality contributes to the Umzinyathi District Municipality. Towns within the municipal boundaries: Ahrens, Fort Mtombeni, Greytown, Umvoti is the Zulu name for the Municipality and river. It means the one who flows quietly.

History

Umvoti village in Kwazulu Natal was established by the 1848 Land Commission. It was renamed Greytown in 1854, after Sir George Grey, the Governor of the Cape.

Enhlalakahle, now amalgamated with Greytown, started off as Ezitendeni. Mud huts were erected on the fringe of Greytown, and when these houses were replaced by brick in the 1950s, this area was renamed Georgeville (also after Sir George Grey).

Greytown was known by the Zulus as Umgungundlovana (the place of the little elephant).



In 1897 Greytown formed a Town Board. In 1915 Greytown became a borough with its first Town Clerk, Mr A C Arbous. Greytown was also the site of the Bhambatha Rebellion from January to August 1906. The rebellion cost Natal nearly £1 000 000, and numerous casualties. The total losses amongst the rebels are estimated at over 2 000.

Umvoti Municipality is located along the eastern border of Umzinyathi District Municipality about 65 km from Dundee and approximately 70km from Pietermaritzburg. It is well served by provincial and regional roads given its location at the intersection of the roads to Pietermaritzburg, the coast, the Drakensberg and the battlefields route. Umvoti is about 2509 km2 in extent and comprises five traditional authority areas, all of which are located beyond a 40 km radius from Greytown, which is the main centre within the municipal area. The central part of the area is generally covered with high potential commercial farmland and is characterized by low population density.

Economy

Greytown, a small but vibrant town, is the main provider of higher income jobs in senior management, professional, technical, clerks, service related and skilled, providing 26.8% of all jobs in the Umvoti area. The manufacturing sector makes the second largest contribution to the local economy. There is limited economic activity taking place within the traditional authority areas.

Agriculture

Agriculture, particularly, forestry is the dominant economic activity. Commercial farms provide for 86% of the skilled jobs and these are primarily provided in the processing plants. The agricultural potential within the area can be summarised as follows:

Good agricultural potential is found in the Greytown area and along Umvoti River arising from a combination of high rainfalls, moderate temperatures, good soils and moderate slopes.

Moderate agricultural potential is concentrated in the area between Greytown and Kranskop, but large patches are scattered throughout the area, where productivity is adversely affected by difficult topography, acidic soils, high hail tendencies and population pressure. The carrying capacity of the veld is high in summer, but poor during the winter months. Soil erosion is a recurring problem where there are steep slopes and poor land use practices.

Restricted agricultural potential exists along the Mooi River and north of Kranskop Town.

Tourism

There is good potential for the development of the tourism sector of the economy. Umvoti has an exceptional and distinctive opportunity to develop as a tourist area due to the easy access to the battlefields, Zulu Heritage and culture, and eco-tourism zones from the region.

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