MBOMBELA – Acting executive mayor of Mbombela Local Municipality (MLM), Mr Bheki Zulu, blames people’s apparent disregard for the law for MLM not providing its residents with necessary services.
He spoke at the municipality’s stakeholders consultative meeting on Thursday. The aim was to review its integrated development plan (IDP).
“People invade land before it can be developed. Most of the challenges are because of people disregarding the law. Land invasion is one of the problems we encounter,” he said.
The meeting also allowed the municipality to provide feedback on its performance for the period of 2015/16. MLM has set aside R2 million towards construction of informal trade stalls. According to Zulu, these will go a long way in poverty eradication.
He added that these consultative meetings made it easier for the municipality to know exactly which services were urgently needed by the people of the different wards.
Spokesman for MLM, Mr Joseph Ngala, added that the gathering created an opportunity for the municipality to engage with ward committee members on the expectations of residents.
Furthermore, the meeting also mapped future strategies to be implemented for community development. The municipality has just recently entered the 2016/17 cycle.
Top priorities are water, electricity delivery and formalising informal settlements like Msholozi, which will be integrated into Ward 30. The settlement had made it impossible for the government to construct a road that was planned to reduce delays on the R40.
When Mr Jerry Sphoza of Ward 14 asked why Msholozi was not being recognised as a formal community, Zulu said formalising settlements was a long process because the municipality needed to accept responsibilities of providing services like sewerage, water supply and sanitation.
Development of the land was previously drawn out before residents invaded it but was then delayed due to issues relating to landscaping.
He also touched on the amalgamation of Mbombela and Umjindhi municipalities. He said the two will merge after the 2016 local elections.
Zulu continued by saying the municipality faced a problem of people who disregarded the law. The municipality had suffered a great financial loss due to illegal electricity connections.
“When communities connect electricity illegally, Eskom expects MLM to pay as a result,” he said.
The acting mayor called on community members to become active citizens
by reporting irregularities that happen