Deputy Mayor accused of intimidating carwash owner, Newcastle Municipality responds

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The Newcastle Municipality finds itself defending against accusations of forcibly removing a young businessman’s car wash for the benefit of the Deputy Mayor, Cllr Musa Thwala.

A message is currently circulating via WhatsApp and Facebook, whereby the original sender explained that he ran a carwash at the Zenele Complex in Section 5, Madadeni, and has been doing so since December 2020. However, he states that the Deputy Mayor now wants to use the spot as a parking bay for his security personnel.

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The viral message further stated that Cllr Thwala was intimidating individuals who were assisting the 23-year-old businessman. He further highlighted through his message that he had been issued a notice on 10 May 2022 to remove his car wash, or he would be held liable for the costs.

Portraying a negative light on both the Newcastle Municipality, and the Newcastle Deputy Mayor, the government entity states it now wants to set the record straight on the matter.

Deeming the message both distorted and untrue the Newcastle Municipality’s Communication Unit said the Municipality denied the statement.

“The Municipality would like to categorically place it on record, that the illegal structure in the form of a car wash business was illegally erected on municipal property, which is earmarked for the development of a much-needed road for residents of Madadeni,” the Communications Unit explained.

The construction of the said road is scheduled to commence in July. Furthermore, the Municipality’s Communications Unit said this comes after the necessary feasibility studies were conducted and after a service provider was appointed.

As a result, “The owner of the illegal structure was notified of the developed plans to construct a road, which would benefit the people of Newcastle and was informed that the plan was at an advanced stage.”

Moreover, the government entity stated that it was both dismayed and saddened that a different narrative was purported in a bid to lobby for public sympathy.

“The false statement is now highly contested across social media and the office of the Deputy Mayor has since been inundated with calls for an explanation. The Deputy Mayor remains a caring civil servant of the people of Newcastle, whose aims and intentions are to realize for all roads to be tarred across Newcastle. The mentioned road is among many roads which are on pipeline to be constructed,” said the Communications Unit.

The local municipality further said that it is an institution which has committed itself to assisting Small, Medium, and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs), or small businesses and therefore, the Newcastle Municipality will continue to side with innovative small job creators. However, the above report is both misleading and mischievous and has further created unnecessary panic among other business owners in the area.

In a bid to guard against job losses and advocate for job creation, the Municipality emphasised that the entrepreneur is encouraged to seek guidance from the municipal Local Economic Development Unit. “In the interim, the business owner is encouraged to pave the way for road development as promised to the people of Madadeni within the stipulated timeframe.”

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