Businesses called on to help fix Empangeni
AN EMPANGENI businessman is calling on other businesses owners to join the ‘Fix Empangeni’ campaign.
Mark Henderson, who has for the past 25 years been operating a business in Union Street, said he and other concerned business owners in the CBD initiated the campaign after witnessing the utter lack of upkeep in Empangeni.
‘We want to fix the town; we want it to be tidy, neat, clean, and back to a nice looking standard.
‘We’re tired of potholes, holes in the pavement, broken drains and electrical cables sticking out all over the place.
‘It’s got to the point where we can’t handle the state of Empangeni anymore.
‘We need to be proud of our town and make it look as decent as possible,’ he said.
The campaign has been backed by the uMhlathuze Municipality who on Tuesday accepted Henderson’s invitation to join him and other concerned business owners in a constructive discussion about restoring some of the towns deteriorating infrastructure and general services which seem to have been neglected.
City Municipal Manager Dr Nhlanhla Sibeko, Deputy Municipal Manager (Infrastructure and Technical Services), Sabelo Hlela and Manager of Community Services, Thandiwe Mathebula, were among some of the city officials present on the day.
Sibeko noted that they had previously identified that there had been some neglect of the general upkeep in Empangeni and therefore a Revitalization Project was launched to upgrade parts of the town.
‘The upgrade of Empangeni’s Lot 63 taxi rank was one of the first phases of the Empangeni Revitalization Project (ERP).
‘We then embarked on the Empangeni Water Upgrade Project which has been one of the key milestones for the overall ERP.
Sibeko said the project includes various phases and has been ongoing for the past three years, being originally planned over a six-year period. ‘When we looked at the state of our roads, our team did their homework and said we would need about R480-million to fix the roads.
‘We don’t have R480-million just sitting somewhere but what we’ll do is every year we will put a specific budget together and upgrade parts of the roads within the town,’ said Sibeko.
Henderson in the meantime said he is concerned about future possible investors.
‘My main concern is that owing to lack of maintenance and by-law policing, Empangeni is slowly dying - people no longer want to invest here because it’s a dump.’
He challenged other businesses to stop complaining and start taking action.
‘I think as business owners and property owners we have a stake in this town and we need to work together with the municipality to achieve this.
‘The blame and shame approach does not work.
‘There are good people in the municipality who are keen to improve our town.
‘I have already noticed that the suburbs and parks have been cleaned up and are now better maintained as there are work crews going around cleaning verges, etc.
‘This is greatly appreciated by the residents.’