War in the suburbs: ‘DA front’ claim

DA councillor Nicole Bollman had dismissed allegations by uMhlanga residents saying she has hijacked the uMhlanga Ratepayers and Residents Association to suit her own political agenda Picture: Supplied

DA councillor Nicole Bollman had dismissed allegations by uMhlanga residents saying she has hijacked the uMhlanga Ratepayers and Residents Association to suit her own political agenda Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 3, 2024


Durban — UMhlanga Ratepayers and Residents Association (URRA) chairperson Terri MacLarty and ward 35 DA councillor Nicole Bollman have been accused of hijacking the URRA for their own political gain.

The allegations were raised by an uMhlanga community member who asked to remain anonymous and said Bollman and MacLarty hijacked the group, consisting of 661 members, to suit a particular political agenda.

Bollman and MacLarty have denied the allegations.

A Daily News source alleged that Bollman and MacLarty ran the ratepayers’ association as their "alter egos" and did not bother to consult with other members on important matters.

“We are not happy with how the association is operating. The leaders of URRA (MacLarty and Bollman) act recklessly by posting misinformation on the group and they get aggressive and threaten members of the group when questioned about the councillor’s behaviour," said the source.

He also lambasted MacLarty for appointing herself as the chairperson without providing official proof.

“There are 661 members in this group, but we are still not sure of the group members attending meetings. We won’t be surprised if it’s only 51% of members who voted for her as chairperson.”

A concerned member claimed that Bollman was “publicity hungry and wants to dominate in the media” at all times on issues that are not linked to the ratepayers’ matters. The source added that MacLarty was using the association’s WhatsApp group to post Bollman’s DA statements, which clearly meant she was using the association as a DA front. He said the DA councillor and MacLarty had been criticised for constantly criticising eThekwini Municipality and the ANC, but still persisted in their behaviour.

“In postings, Bollman violates the Protection of Personal Information ( Popi) Act by reposting material without consent from the originator and all her postings are supported by the ratepayers. The two leaders of the association quite often act recklessly by posting misinformation and then deleting and issuing media statements without consulting the ratepayers association members.

“They use their close relationship with an alleged objector to developments who is also the main objector to the Beachwood Golf Course development by abusing the Umhlanga ratepayers’ WhatsApp group to canvas for objectors to the development although Beachwood is not part of Umhlanga,” added the source.

Association chairperson and founder MacLarty, who denied the allegations, said all decisions made by the association are ratified and executed by constituted members of the organisation.

“Councillor Bollman is not on our ratepayers’ WhatsApp group. However, we do rely on her as our councillor in her working role as a public servant, and for access to the eThekwini Municipality to assist us with service delivery. And I am certain that most community members would agree that she is a hands-on councillor," he said.

Bollman said there are a number of concerning issues occurring in uMhlanga Rocks that had been brought to her attention due to the frequency and severity of complaints received.

“Residents and ratepayers seek some form of resolution, and often refer these complaints to me and the URRA. Their desperation stems from the lack of reprieve from the City concerning the reckless behaviour, which has led some residents to consider selling their homes in the suburb.

“Meetings held in uMhlanga, while attended by the URRA, are not politically motivated. They are primarily organised on behalf of disgruntled residents and business owners seeking to address concerns in the community. My attendance at these meetings aligns with my commitment to address issues impacting our residents,” said Bollman.

She confirmed her presence at the URRA annual general meetings, as a guest, where MacLarty was elected as chairperson.

The URRA consists of residents from La Lucia, uMhlanga Ridge, Glenashley and surrounding areas in Durban North.

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