Govan Mbeki Municipality fails to shed light on residents’ concerns

Sanette Henning submitted this photo of a road in Bethal that is pitched in darkness.

Nelson Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada, Bram Fischer, Joe Slovo, Oliver Thambo and Helen Joseph have been failed by the municipality.

These are just some of the roads in Secunda that are pitched in darkness each night due to faulty or non-existent street lights, leaving struggling residents, pedestrians and motorists to fend for themselves as darkness falls.

The Echo asked residents to comment on our Facebook page about streets in the greater Govan Mbeki Muncipal area that needed attention when it came to street lights.

With more than 125 comments in less than two days, many residents have expressed their concerns about the failing infrastructure of their towns.

Many of the complainants also commented on the fact that they had been reporting these faulty lights and lamp poles for as long as five years, with no apparent action from the municipality.

A woman who was clearly overwhelmed with the lists of problematic streets preceding her comment, asked if it would not be better to just mention the few streets that did not have a problem with streetlights.

“The list would be shorter!” she exclaimed.

Govan Mbeki Municipality was contacted for comment, but did not reply.

Fears expressed, included the uncertainty about whether the municipality can even afford to maintain the street lights, never mind repair those broken lamp poles or install street lights in those areas that still do not have any.

Many residents asked for the municipal budget documents to be made public to understand what portion of municipal funds is allocated to repairs and maintenance.

Frustrations

Further frustrations included those areas where street lights burn continually, wasting electricity and municipal resources.

“In Evander, the soccer field lights have been burning bright all night, every night for over a year.

“The entire main street entrance to Evander has no street lights and this is where pedestrians walk day and night.

“I would like to see where the budget is laid out for maintenance of street lights specifically and I would like to see who is being contracted to do maintenance.” commented a resident.

Locals also contacted the Echo directly to complain about the dark streets around many local schools.

“Our children walk here in the early morning and have to wait for their parents. sometimes late at night, and the dark streets leave them vulnerable.”

Another obvious matter that has many residents concerned for their safety, is the prevalence of house burglaries in those streets that have no proper lighting.

A Bethal residents said there has been a marked increase in crime since the streetlights in her area stopped working a couple of years ago.

The areas of darkness spread from eMbalenhle to Secunda, from Kinross and Eendracht to Bethal and Evander.

Visit the Ridge Times Facebook page to see all the comments and to let us know if you have a similar complaint.

  AUTHOR
Willemien Aukema
Journalist

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Govan Mbeki Municipality has failed residents