In­fra­struc­ture woes at EMLM


CON­CERN over the state of in­fra­struc­ture in the Enoch Mgi­jima Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity (EMLM) area took cen­tre stage in a cri­sis meet­ing at­tended by ex­ec­u­tive mayor Lindiwe Gunuza­Nk­wentsha, and act­ing mu­nic­i­pal man­ager Mzi­wox­olo Din­gani in Ko­mani on Mon­day.

Busi­ness­man Ken Clark said elec­tri­cal in­fra­struc­ture and roads seemed to be the worst hit.

“The mu­nic­i­pal­ity is not bud­get­ing the 6% re­quired by the Na­tional En­ergy Reg­u­la­tor of South Africa [Nersa] for in­fra­struc­ture re­pair. The re­sult is that the in­fra­struc­ture is go­ing back­wards.”

In­put of be­tween R22-mil­lion to R25-mil­lion could make a dif­fer­ence in pre­vent­ing an elec­tri­cal cri­sis should an­other trans­former blow. An amount of R128-mil­lion over three years could get the elec­tri­cal sys­tem back on track.

Clark said the Wa­ter­down Dam could only sup­ply 60% of the town’s wa­ter and that the Bonkolo Dam was vir­tu­ally empty. Both dams could no longer sup­ply in the long-term de­mands of the town and it was es­sen­tial for the Xonxa Dam pipe­line to be­come op­er­a­tional.

“My busi­ness re­lies on wa­ter and if I do not have wa­ter, I do not have a busi­ness and 500 peo­ple will go without jobs.”

Con­cern ex­isted about the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing state of roads with some which would have to be re­built.

Din­gani ac­knowl­edged that EMLM was fac­ing prob­lems but, he said, the author­ity was do­ing ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to ad­dress the sit­u­a­tion. “We have drafted a plan to ad­dress the in­fra­struc­ture in Ez­i­be­leni, Queen­dus­tria and other ar­eas. We need a lot of money to ad­dress the sit­u­a­tion and cur­rently we do not have it.”

He said the pre­vi­ously es­tab­lished idea of a task team needed to be re­vived. Rel­e­vant posts, in­clud­ing that of the mu­nic­i­pal man­ager, had been ad­ver­tised.

Coun­cil­lor Pamela Xelo, who is in the CHDM of­fice of In­te­grated Plan­ning and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, was in ac­cor­dance that the task team needed to be re­vived.

“We need to say what needs to hap­pen and it needs to hap­pen fast.”

Re­sources, skills and ca­pac­ity re­mained an is­sue.

“The ANC-led govern­ment is clear on this, so when we talk ca­pac­ity, we mean we will be crit­i­cal in EMLM when it comes to em­ploy­ment.”

Border-Kei Cham­ber of Busi­ness chair­man Les Holbrook said, “The only way we are go­ing to solve these prob­lems is if we have the right lead­er­ship. I rec­om­mend that we choose two cap­tains – one from the pri­vate sec­tor and one from the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.”

The rep­re­sen­ta­tives would es­tab­lish a team to ad­dress the cri­sis.

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