eMBALENHLE – Residents expressed their frustrations over sewage spillages with Dr Zweli Mkhize, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), during his walkabout in Mandela Section.
They told him they have had enough of the raw sewage in the area.
Residents complained that raw sewage often flows into the streets and they suspect that blocked underground pipes are to be blamed.
Locals warmly welcomed Dr Mkhize and told him that they hope he was not there because the election is coming.
“I told myself that I would not vote, because the ANC has failed us, however since you are here, I’ll give you a chance.
“Life is hard here and our councillors are not helping us.
“We have been living with this unbearable stench for years.
“This poses a health hazard and our children are ill.
“We hope you brought answers.”
Dr Mkhize told residents that he visited the area to investigate the situation in this municipality.
Mr Mashelo, MEC for Cogta, told residents and the minister that a contractor was appointed to fix the problems in the area.
Dr Mkhize visited the province on 30 and 31 August as part of his national programme to provide support to distressed and dysfunctional municipalities.
The challenges are governance and financial management, service delivery failures and Eskom and Rand Water debt.
He was accompanied by the Deputy Minister, Mr Andries Nel, and the Deputy Minister, Mr Obed Bapela.
The minister met the provincial leadership led by the Premier, Ms Refilwe Mtshweni, MEC Speedy Mashilo and Mr Eric Kholwane responsible for Cogta, Local Government and Traditional Affairs and Finance, Economic Development and Tourism respectively.
Dr Mkhize held a meeting with other stakeholders, including businesses during his visit to promote cooperation and partnerships in the spirit of working together to move South Africa forward and to fix local governments under the theme local government is everybody’s business.
Mr Bheki Kubheka, municipal spokesman, said as tabled by the mayor of Govan Mbeki Municipality during her state of the municipal address, the Mpumalanga Department of Human Settlement committed a budget of R53 million towards addressing the sewer spillages specifically in eMbalenhle.
“As reported during the address, the contractor and consultant were appointed by the Department of Human Settlement through their supply chain processes.
“They were introduced to the municipality on 24 May and the contractor has since taken over the site from 16 July.
“The project has been divided into four projects that focuses on Extension 10, 16, 18, 19, 21 and 22 with a target period of 12 months.”