Community meeting to discuss town’s issues

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On Sunday 12 June at 15:00, approximately 130 concerned residents of eMkhondo gathered at the Piet Retief Rugby Club to discuss their concerns regarding service delivery.

Also present at the meeting were Councillors Irene Brussow and Rob Wilson, to try and assist with answering the community’s questions.

The following issues were raised by the residents:

• Why the Mark section only appears on the internal load shedding schedule once a day and is without power for only two hours a day, whilst all other sections are scheduled for load shedding twice (once as the primary section and once as the secondary section)? Councillor Brussow said that the reason is that the town’s water works is located in the area and if the power is off for too long, the town’s water supply will be affected.

Councillor Brussow added that she suggested to the Municipal Manager that if possible, they should remove the water works cable from the Mark section and supply power to it separately. That way, Mark will be able to have internal load shedding twice a day, like the rest of town.   

• Those present at the meeting wanted to know why they were paying for services but, receive no service delivery? They also stated that they believe it is due to funds being mismanaged and some employees of the MLM not doing their jobs correctly. A resident suggested that the town’s people open up a criminal case against the MLM and Councillor Brussow said that they could, since being without water and electricity is against human rights. There was an overall agreement between the residents that municipal employees, who are not conducting their duties, should be removed from their positions.

• Who gives the go ahead on new developments such as the Woodhill Mall, the new houses being built at Welgekozen, new apartment complexes and the new development in Kotze Street? Councillor Brussow answered that town planning is not done correctly and no one checks that there is enough electricity to accommodate new developments.

• Why are so many people sent out to do pothole repairs but, only two work and the rest watch and why does it seem that some areas in town are repaired more regularly than others? The answer given was that the Technical Department is already aware of this issue and on 7 June, they started setting up a schedule so that each area in town receives equal attention. On Monday 10 June a team was already dispatched to repair potholes and once the schedule is finalised, each section of eMkhondo will receive equal attention.

• The residents asked for clarity regarding the SANRAL project in Church Street and wondered why no local people were employed. As previously stated in the Excelsior News, the project is still in its early phases and SANRAL plans on employing a lot more people in the future. Residents also asked about when the lines of the road will be repainted. As also stated previously in the Excelsior News, the lines will be redone six weeks after Church Street has been resurfaced.

• Of course one of the main issues that was discussed was internal load shedding and if the MLM’s Eskom account is influencing it in any way. Councillor Brussow gave information (that was confirmed by an account statement from Eskom) that the MLM currently owes Eskom approximately R252-million (as of 31 May) and have not paid the account since March 2021, when Eskom was paid R30-million.

Apparently a payment agreement was reached with Eskom, in which the MLM promised to pay R6-million a month, plus R12-million to serve the existing account. Councillor Brussow made another shocking revelation that the MLM supposedly owes the Department of Water Affairs R33-million and the account has not been paid since 2019.

Councillor Brussow said that the issue with the electricity has been handed over to         Bosman Grobler, a member of the DA Provincial Legislature and will then be given to Cilliers Brink, a member of the National Assembly.

After the community members discussed their concerns with Councillor Brussow, Councillor Rob Wilson spoke about the Mkhondo Local Municipality’s budget and how money is allocated.

Councillor Brussow, in representation of the community, is busy with a report discussing these issues which will be handed over to the MLM.

Note: this is not the opinion of the Excelsior News but, simply a report on the community meeting. We however did contact the manager of the Communications Department to confirm the abovementioned facts. At the time of print we had unfortunately not received any response. We will however publish the MLM’s response once received.