A fight for service delivery

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On Saturday afternoon 6 June approximately 100 residents of Kempville and the surrounding areas gathered at the Kempville Mosque grounds to discuss service delivery, or rather the lack thereof.

Residents are fed up with how the Mkhondo Local Municipality is leaving them in the dark and they are now demanding answers.

According to the information supplied by a resident of Kempvill that was present, the following very important issues were raised:

• The internal load shedding schedule is set up by the MLM but, is never adhered to and why are some areas affected more than others? They also discussed the infrastructure of Mkhondo’s electrical system that is not maintained and this causes the MLM to lose even more money because they have to do repairs regularly. The town has more power outages due to poor maintenance.

• The community members pay their rates and taxes as they are obliged to but, have nothing to show for it. There will be an increase in rates and taxes tariffs on 1 July 2021. How can residents be expected to pay the MLM more money but, they will still be receiving the same poor quality of service delivery? The residents are concerned that municipal funds are being mismanaged and demand to know how the money is being allocated, if it is not being used to uplift the community and provide basic service delivery?

• The residents of Kempville, Retiefville and other areas claim that their roads have not been maintained in years. Some are untraversable and their vehicles are getting damaged, causing them unnecessary costs. It was also mentioned that when a broken water pype or electrical cable is repaired, the MLM never comes back to finish the job (repair pieces of the road that were lifted, close holes). The residents wonder if they have so little confidence in their repairs that they leave it like that in case it breaks again or do they simply conveniently forget?

• Sewerage leaks that are reported are not tended to. They are often left for weeks without being repaired (it has been mentioned in the Excelsior News that there is only one plumber working for the MLM). Leaking sewerage drains can cause various health issues, not to mention the smell!

• It was brought up that the water quality in some areas is not fit for human consumption. The community wants to know if the MLM is working on bettering the quality of the town’s water?

• Some streets don’t even have a single functioning street light. This is something that has been brought up multiple times by the residents of eMkhondo and promises have been made to repair the broken lights but, to no avail. The low visibility makes it easier for criminals to target certain areas and for pedestrians who walk home after sunset, it is a nightmare.

The residents of eMkhondo have grown tired of the Mkhondo Local Municipality not providing answers to questions. They are tired of funds being mismanaged and according to them, the attitudes from the municipality’s management has become too much to bear. 

The community is concerned that with the upcoming elections, the MLM will all of a sudden provide residents with excellent service delivery, in order to gain votes and then just stop again after the elections.

Not everyone can afford alternative options such as generators or solar panels when there are power outages and not everyone can afford to eat out every night when they are unable to prepare meals at home. The expenses that the residents and businesses have to endure because of internal load shedding are excessive and it is causing a burden to residents of Mkhondo.

A memorandum is being prepared to be handed over to the Mkhondo Local Municipality. Apparently they will have seven working days to respond to the enquiries made by the community and if they fail to do so or if they give insufficient answers, further steps will be taken to show the discontent of the community.

 The plan is to build strength in numbers, so that the MLM can no longer ignore the pleas of the community.