Am­bi­tious town­ship cleanup project fails to start

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - News - Siyam­tanda Capa ca­[email protected]­soblack­

A R5.8m project des­tined to clean up Nel­son Man­dela Bay’s town­ships and north­ern ar­eas has failed to get off the ground though it was meant to start on De­cem­ber 1.

The “clean and green” project was also meant to pro­vide 200 tem­po­rary jobs be­tween De­cem­ber 1 and Fe­bru­ary 28.

It was ini­tially stalled when pub­lic health port­fo­lio head Yolisa Pali twice with­drew the re­port be­fore it was meant to be pre­sented to the may­oral com­mit­tee, claim­ing she need- ed to fa­mil­iarise her­self with the de­tails.

This saw act­ing pub­lic health boss Tsi­etsi Moko­nenyane write to then-act­ing city man­ager Nox­olo Nqwazi re­quest­ing she in­ter­vene and fast-track the start of the project.

The orig­i­nal plan was to im­ple­ment the project from Novem­ber 1 to De­cem­ber 31 – be­fore an an­tic­i­pated in­crease in the vol­umes of rub­bish over the fes­tive sea­son.

It was even­tu­ally given the green light to start on De­cem­ber 1.

But on Wed­nes­day, Moko- nenyane said the project was de­layed as the fes­tive sea­son beach cleanup took pri­or­ity.

“As far as I know this project did not take off. The pro­gramme was com­pet­ing with the beach clean­ing.”

“I am also aware that the EPWP fell short and couldn’t find peo­ple to do the work,” Moko­nenyane said.

Moko­nenyane said the de­part­ment was likely to re­quest the project be ex­tended.

In Novem­ber, Moko­nenyane warned any fur­ther de­lays would re­sult in:

● An in­crease in il­le­gal dump­ing;

● Fur­ther de­lays in the turn­around time for com­plaints;

● The amount of lit­ter would be dou­bled; and

● Un­der­spend­ing on ward-based com­mu­nity projects as the bud­get would not be spent in the time frames as planned.

ACDP coun­cil­lor Lance Groot­boom, who serves on the pub­lic health port­fo­lio com­mit­tee, said he was con­cerned that the town­ships and north­ern ar­eas had been ne­glected to pri­ori­tise the city’s beach cleanup.

“You can’t pri­ori­tise the beaches. Not ev­ery­one goes to the beaches and peo­ple don’t live on them. They live in com­mu­ni­ties,” Groot­boom said.

“Had this project started on Novem­ber 1, this would have never hap­pened. This is hap­pen­ing be­cause it was de­layed.

“Their late ap­proval has put a lot of pres­sure on of­fi­cials and now they can’t im­ple­ment the project.

“As a re­sult, the same peo­ple who were at the beaches are now back in the town­ships and it’s dirty. We can’t blame of­fi­cials for this.”

Groot­boom said he was es­pe­cially dis­ap­pointed as hun­dreds of un­em­ployed peo­ple could have had jobs dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son. Ward 34 DA coun­cil­lor Johnny Arends said: “It would re­ally help if this project had started be­cause peo­ple are des­per­ate for jobs and it would have been a big help be­cause our com­mu­ni­ties are dirty.”

An ANC coun­cil­lor, who asked to not to be named, said the de­lay had in fact seen an in­crease in il­le­gal dump­ing and lit­ter­ing in the town­ships.

“The mu­nic­i­pal­ity is not even able to ex­plain. It’s dirty in the town­ship. I am not ly­ing about this,” he said.

Mu­nic­i­pal spokesper­son Mthubanzi Mniki said by De- cem­ber 1 mu­nic­i­pal staff had gone on leave and the city had no ca­pac­ity to pro­ceed with the project.

“There is a clear com­mit­ment by the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to keep this city clean and re­store the dig­nity of those who have been left to live in squalor and un­healthy con­di­tions,” Mniki said.

He said the project would start in Fe­bru­ary.

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