RLM Mayor, MAYCO Members and EXCO Descend Upon Tlhabane West to Engage Community Over Service Delivery Concerns

Councillor Mpho Khunou, the Executive Mayor of Rustenburg, Single Whip of Council – Councillor Levy Mokwele accompanied by members the mayoral committee (MMC’s) for Technical and Infrastructure Services, Budget and Treasury Office and Roads and Transport – Councillors Michael Mhlungu, Basebi Lekoro and Lucky Kgaladi were in Tlhabane West to further engage the community on their grievances over services delivery challenges. The meeting was a continuation of an earlier meeting which was held last month and was disrupted by bad weather and was rescheduled to this weekend.

The Municipality’s Accounting office was present with a contingent of both senior and middle managers from various directorates and departments. The Executive Mayor said it was important for officials to be part of the community engagement sessions so as to appreciate the difficulty which residents are faced with on a daily basis.

The meeting focused on the following issues:

  • Water Supply Interruptions
  • Billing of municipality services and issuance for final demands for payment of account in arrears
  • Public lighting program
  • RLM’s maintenance program (electrical infrastructure and road network)
  • Strumosa Waste Drop off facility for non-domestic waste and cleaning of public spaces

In his response to the community the Executive Mayor, expressed his continued agony in respect of the bulk water supply challenges which Rustenburg has continued to experience “it has been over a year now since we have been turning the heat on our bulk water suppliers particularly Magalies Water and the Rustenburg Services Trust. We have formally written on numerous occasions to the Water and Sanitation Ministry, the Deputy Minister came to Rustenburg and saw for himself the situation at the Magalies Plant. We also need to put it on record, that the water supply issue is not due any outstanding debt to the water service provider, as the RLM’s account is up-to-date” Mayor Khunou emphasized.

Currently, Magalies Water in previous engagements with the City indicated that it required about 1-billion rand to complete the Pilanesburg Water Scheme, which will at once address the bulk water supply to Rustenburg, which currently sits at a deficit of 50 mega-litres per day. However, the City has commenced with a reticulation project which will address the low watered pressure and no water supply in other areas such as Geelhout Park and Tlhabane West which will ensure that more water is pumped thus reducing the longevity of water supply interruptions, within the City’s water infrastructure network.

Victor Makona the City’s Accounting Officer, said it was important for residents to understand that the Municipality needs all the money it can receive for payment of services, if the RLM is to continue to operate without any further struggle “ladies and gentlemen I want to assure you that if you withhold any payments towards any services, our bulk services providers, including Eskom, Rand Water from whom we purchase these critical services will halt their services. That will mean that you not have water and electricity, therefore Rustenburg will face a crisis never seen before” Makona reiterated. The Municipal Manager said, the municipality will be undertaking outreach programs, where officials from the BTO will be visiting residents over their accounts and to address the final demands for payment of accounts.

The Municipal Manager, residents need to explore all avenues available including lodging of disputes over accounts for services, which will enable further investigations to be undertaken in ascertaining the veracity of the status of the account. Residents were also encouraged to make use of the indigent register which allows qualifying persons to access free basic services for water and electricity, given their household income. Residents raised concerns about the non-functionality of some street lights in their neighbourhood, which compromises their safety particularly at night. The Municipality in its recent budget adjustment tabling, approved 10 million rand which address the maintenance of the electrical network including repairs to the infrastructure.

In the same vain, the municipality has started with the road rehabilitation project where pothole patching has been effected particularly on roads with more heavy traffic volume. The RLM aware of the importance of proper road infrastructure has also set aside funds to ensure that the economy of the City is not hampered by poor road network. The RLM leadership also lamented on the community civil duty to prevent incidents of criminality which leaves the infrastructure destroyed when electrical cables are stolen and street lights cut to be sold in the black market. A program which will address the repairs will commence soon which will cover Tlhabane West and parts of Rustenburg to repair street lights which will increase visibility in the evenings for pedestrian safety.

The RLM has also not been spared from the effects of Covid-19 like many other government institutions, while the City conceded to the backlog of cleaning of public spaces, the current situation was as a result of trimming of the work force where only essential service workers were allowed to continue working such as personnel from the electricity and water unit. However, the Directorate for Community Development has begun with its program of cleaning public spaces and Tlhabane West residents like many other areas will have all their hotspots cleared to ensure that their surroundings are both clean and safe.

The Executive Mayor, assured residents that he will always be available to engage with them, and communities should not underestimate their role in being part of the solutions which will in the end assist the municipality as it endeavours to improve the level of services to residents.