On-going engagements between the City’s leadership collective and residents from various wards over service delivery concerns continued this week. In the past couple of weeks, the Executive Mayor – Councillor Mpho Khunou has been conducting inspections in the central business district and neighbouring areas to ascertain the effectiveness of service delivery as well as to appreciate the challenges faced by communities daily. The Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent regulations which have been enforced have made it difficult for the City to host service delivery meetings, where communities can engage the RLM. This has not deterred the City first resident from engaging residents continuously.
The service delivery inspections gives the Municipal leadership a microscopic view on all matters relating to service delivery while affording the City’s administration a perspective of the City’s residents on how service delivery standards of the Municipality are perceived. This week, the Zinniaville Ratepayers Association met with the City’s top leadership to raise concerns about their service delivery challenges. The recently adopted adjustment budget by the City Council seeks to put into sharp focus an accelerated and effective approach towards service delivery, in particular addressing long-outstanding complaints, which could not be previously resolved due to both financial and resource constraints.
The Executive Mayor has made it his commitment to engage with the residents of the City to get a first-hand experience of their service delivery challenges and appreciate the inconvenience thereof. In his opening remarks kick-starting the engagement session, Mayor Khunou said Zinniaville’s challenges were economically unique, given their geographical location and proximity to industries “Rustenburg continues to grow rapidly, even though the mining sector has suffered greatly in terms of production in recent years. It is no surprise that the City’s infrastructure is beginning to feel the pressure, be it on water supply, road and stormwater infrastructure as well as electricity supply. Your region is at the foot of the economic value chain, where a lot of activities takes place, it regrettably comes as no surprise that you bear the brunt of the City’s economic growth” Mayor Khunou remarked.
The Municipality has on an on-going basis been communicating largely using, local, regional and national media outlets to proactively talk about some of the most pertinent issues in particular the water and electricity supply challenges. Most recently, the RLM participated in a news program that focused on service delivery challenges in Zinniaville. The RLM over the course of the previous year has kept residents abreast about the water demand and supply ratio which to date has not been resolved, as demand exceeds the current supply to the City.
Residents in the area, have had to experience frequent water cuts, which in certain instances result in the restoration of poor water quality. Additionally, residents representing the association said, businesses in their area continued to suffer financial losses as a result of the water supply interruption, which is yet to receive a permanent solution. Residents also decried the current state of roads in the areas, which are used mainly by the freight industry and said the RLM did not act with the necessary speed to ensure the maintenance thereof.
Municipal Manager Victor Makona said, the City’s administration has been aware of the water supply challenges “over the cause of the last 12 months, we have experienced more frequent water cuts, either to low water supply or cuts effected as a result of poor water quality. We have recently appointed a service provider which will solely focus on water quality-related issues, the inconvenience cannot be imagined, where people had not had access to water, for numerous reasons and when supply is restored the water is not suitable for human consumption” he concluded.
The RLM’s Technical and Infrastructure Directorate has already started to implement its service delivery plan for water, by ensuring monitoring of the bulk line to Zinniaville, to ensure that pipe-bursts are responded to and resolved within the shortest turn-around time. Additionally, there is a team that monitors the water pressure, which causes outages when the flow is not sufficiently pressurized. While long-term plans include a massive water-pipe replacement project of ageing infrastructure in ensuring that burst-pipes incidents are significantly reduced.
The City continues to find its water demand requirements still far surpassing the current supply to many areas around Rustenburg, the City is on course to upgrade the Boospoort Water Treatment Works plant, to significantly increase water supply, by doubling the capacity from 12 to 24 megalitres and this upgrade is anticipated to be concluded within the next two years, given the scope of work and technical nature of upgrades. The upgrades will assist areas that currently continue to experience low pressured water supply such as Greater Boitekong, Tlhabane, Karlienpark, and Zinniaville.
The Municipality having being affected by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, passed it adjustment taking into account, the reduced collection rates which are critical in continued service delivery, in the result Council made an additional allocation of over 36 million rands which will strictly focus on maintenance of the City’s infrastructure, with 10 million rands being directed to the road network of the City with priority on economic routes. A road rehabilitation/maintenance has already commenced on Molen Street and in preparation for the operation of the City’s RRT project, there will be the construction of walkways and feederroutes of Ya Rona buses in KarlienPark and Zinniaville.
Further to that, in areas that have been experiencing power supply interruptions more frequently, public lighting – including street lights will also be allocated around 10 million rands to address the securitization of electricity while also dealing with the safety and security of residents, particularly at night time. The City has committed to implementing, a plan flowing from the weekly Special Mayoral Committee Meetings on Service delivery which will include, grass cutting, and de-bushing in the areas, as some work has already been completed at the various community facilities following the recently experienced torrential rains. The RLM is on course, to finalize the issue around the availability of land to accommodate more graves that are used by the Zinniaville community for burial, pending Council approval after internal administrative processes have been complied with.
The City will in due course, provide updates on the work carried out across all the 45 wards, with the additional allocation of the adjustment budget, particularly where there has been an outcry by residents on areas that did not receive attention, in respect of specific services.