African Times - - Politics - ISAAC RAMOTHWALA

RES­I­DENTS of Musina are set to be plunged into dark­ness as the mu­nic­i­pal­ity tries to re­cover un­paid servr­cis.

The move has an­gered res­i­denta who have in turn ac­cused if of fail­ing to de­liver ba­sic ser­vices to the com­mu­ni­ties.

The res­i­dents say that they do not un­der­stand how they have in­curred such ar­rears since their elec­tric­ity is on pre­paid.

The prob­lems are said to have started when the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity merged with the Mu­tale Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity in 2016. Ac­cord­ing to the res­i­denta, peo­ple who fell un­der Mu­tale Mu­nic­i­pal­ity still en­joy their ser­vices and their elec­tric­ity is also on pre­paid but they are not get­ting the un­just treat­ment that Musina res­i­dents are be­ing sub­jected un­der.

Among oth­ers, the res­i­dents say that they un­der­stand that there are RDP houses that Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of­fi­cials rent out to strangers and for­eign­ers and some are be­ing sold to these un­known peo­ple at a price amount­ing to R50 000.

They say that when they went to en­quire about the al­lo­ca­tion of such houses they are told that they shall be re­sponded through a let­ter.

Mike Ndou of the Musina Res­i­dents Griev­ances group said that: “We took it upon our­selves and went to Cogh­sta of­fices to en­quire about the al­lo­ca­tion process of RDP houses and who they were given to; we were told that most of these peo­ple have al­ready been al­lo­cated RDP’s in the past five years”.

Ndou added that they are also con­cerned about how tenders are awarded to strangers when there are ca­pa­ble con­trac­tors in Musina. He said that there are on­go­ing pav­ing pro­jects and one where a tarred road is con­structed but no one from Musina mu­nic­i­pal­ity ben­e­fits from them.

“It is the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s duty to en­sure that sub-con­trac­tors are be­ing ring-fenced in these pro­jects and in the process they will be up­lift­ing our peo­ple and the so­ci­ety,” Ndou said.

He said that they have sub­mit­ted a mem­o­ran­dum of griev­ances to the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity in the pre­vi­ous week and they were given 7 days to re­spond to the mem­o­ran­dum and fail­ure to do will re­sults in a mass protest.

“Things will get out of hand should they fail to re­spond to the com­mu­nity within the stip­u­lated time and date. There will be no one to blame but the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity it­self. They are there be­cause of the com­mu­nity and they must serve ac­cord­ing to the man­dates given to them by the peo­ple.”

Ndou said that the com­mu­nity is an­gry that since the Mayor was in­au­gu­rated few years ago, he never reached out to the com­mu­ni­ties to lis­ten to their griev­ance.

‘The Com­mu­nity is an­gry about that be­cause he never or­gan­ised any Im­bizo around the area,” he said.

A Spokesper­son for the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, Wil­son Dzebu said that it was not a threat that will dis­con­nect such ser­vices for the peo­ple who fail to pay and they are go­ing to dis­con­nect. He said it would not be the first time they did it be­cause the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity un­der­stands that it is not ev­ery­one that is on pre­paid.

“There is no way the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity can op­er­ate with­out mak­ing rev­enue there­fore peo­ple must pay for what they are us­ing. Dis­con­nect­ing such ser­vices is one of our credit con­trol mea­sures. We need money to con­duct ser­vice de­liv­ery is­sues and we can­not be able to build roads if peo­ple are not pay­ing ser­vices,” he said.

Dzebu dis­missed claims that the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity does not pro­vide con­tracts to the peo­ple from Musina say­ing that they do ad­ver­tise posts and peo­ple who meet the re­quire­ments do get con­tracts. He added that it was un­for­tu­nate that most of the pro­jects do not fall un­der the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity but un­der Vene­tia Mine to name a few.

He said that he was not con­vinced that there are of­fi­cials from the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity that sell or rent out RDP’s be­cause they needed con­crete ev­i­dence and names of the peo­ple they sus­pect to have ac­quired RDP’s il­le­gally.

“We would be able to in­ves­ti­gate such al­le­ga­tions if they fur­nished us with ev­i­dence and bring to book those that are found to be on the wrong side of the law. They should also give us at­tended reg­is­ter and min­utes of the meet­ing they had with Cogh­sta of­fi­cials,” he said.

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