Potential municipal projects for the next five years discussed

MALALANE – Last week residents of the Onderberg had the opportunity to propose projects for the next five year’s Integrated Development Plan (IDP) during meetings with the Nkomazi Local Municipality in the various towns.

Tensions ran high at several meetings, as residents wanted to know why various issues had not been addressed in the previous IDP.

Last Monday evening, a handful of residents joined officials such as the ward councillor, speaker Mr Million Shongwe and municipal manager Mr Dan Ngwenya at the meeting in the Kobwa hall.

Upgrades to the water systems were first on the agenda and Ngwenya explained that the biggest issue was the water source. Due to the drought the municipality had been looking at alternative water sources. These included abstractions from the Driekoppies Dam or sources in the KaMhlushwa and Phiva areas. They are in the process of installing a new line and reservoir to supply the new development. The reservoir is currently sufficient for the town and the two new extensions.

The town’s sewerage system is currently a problem, the officials admitted. This is reportedly due to rezoning, as the system was designed for fewer households. An assessment will be done to see how the system needs to be upgraded. The treatment works are being refurbished by the Ehlanzeni District Municipality.

The new extension on the edge of town where a hotel and private hospital are being built, will have its own pump station and sewer line.

A resident asked whether the town couldn’t get a park and the proposal was made to upgrade the park at the Kobwa Hall. New, strictly enforced noise rules, access control and the construction of benches were suggested to put a stop to noise complaints, alcohol abuse and to step up security.

The upgrading of the clinic was requested as a bigger space and longer working hours are urgently needed. A request for more ambulances was also made, as Nkomazi currently only has two. Hectorspruit’s biggest issues were solid-waste problems, such as the dumping site which is a big health and safety hazard for the community, as well as dysfunctional street lights. During the meeting in Marloth Park, a group of passionate residents were up in arms about various issues that haven’t been addressed yet. Several issues have been added to the IDP, starting with a cover for the reservoir. It had been missing for the past four years and needs to be replaced urgently as water is at risk of being contaminated on a daily basis.

The dump site, which is also causing big health, social and financial trouble for residents nearby, needs to be transformed into a transit site. This process was originally scheduled to start in July.

Residents asked for gate security, stricter access control and the closure of illegal entry points, as well as full-time and effective law enforcement.

Effective conservation management was requested to stop the necessity for controversial measures such as culling, and to avoid future scenarios where the veld needs to be rehabilitated, as is currently the case.

Water delivery and electricity supply were also among the serious issues raised.

The municipality have their work cut out for them as residents of these towns and local organisations will keep a close eye on their efforts to resolve the issues raised.

Retha Nel and Sanet Bruins-Lich

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