Emalahleni Local Municipality led by the Executive Mayor Lindiwe Ntshalintshali went on Izimbizo in various areas to consult communities on the municipal 2017/18 – 2021/22 Draft IDP and 2017/2018 Budget before their adoption.
Cllr. Ntshalintshali, who was accompanied by the Council Speaker, Cllr. M.B Hlumbane, together with all councilors and Municipal Manager, Mr Theo Jansen van Vuren, with all Municipal Directors, addressed over 5000 residents at Sinqobile Community Hall, Lynnville Community Hall, Phola Community Hall, Thubelihle Community Hall, and at the Civic Centre over three days.
Residents needs ranged from inconsistent water supply, lack of houses, potholes, to unemployment. Some demanded that the municipality build clinics, police stations and schools, but it was explained that the Municipality has no capacity to meet those demands. Building of schools, police stations and clinic is the competency of the national and provincial government.
Executive Mayor Ntshalintshali appealed to residents to take full responsibility for payment of their accounts to avoid service interruptions and to enable the Municipality to deliver quality services.
She indicated that cell phone giant, Vodacom, has entered into an agreement with the Municipality to install a smart meter system which will accurately capture electricity consumption by residents. She emphasised that residents should cooperate fully when officials visit their homes to install the system which will eliminate the problem of incorrect billing. Vodacom was appointed by national treasurer.
Those who were unable to attend or raise issues during the Izimbizo still have an opportunity to submit their written concerns or comment until 11th of May 2017.
Copies of the proposed IDP and Budget are available and can be accessed by members of the public, but highlights of the proposed budget are that an amount of R84 648 312 has been budgeted for municipal services like water, electricity and street lights.
An amount of R135 022 044 has been reserved for maintenance of infrastructure and for provision of bursaries R1 000 000 has been set aside.
The Executive Mayor stressed the importance of paying for services and she confirmed that residents have a right to protest but the destruction of property and infrastructure should be discouraged.