Lack of service delivery angers residents

2014-04-24 00:00

HUNDREDS of Kokstad Chamber of Commerce, Farmers Association and Ratepayers Association members demonstrated in Kokstad yesterday, demanding that the public protector be engaged to recover money from corrupt officials and contractors, and because of the lack of service delivery.

Many waved placards proclaiming, “Keep our town clean”. Other posters read, “Tired of paying excess high rates and receiving nothing”.

Tensions ran high as Greater Kokstad Municipality Deputy Mayor Bheki Mtolo told farmers and business people that they would inspect each farm and business to see if they are complying with labour laws and paying their workers the minimum wage. They shouted at him, demanding that he keep quiet.

Kokstad Chamber of Commerce chairperson Leon Kotting said it was not clear that the municipality intended to sort out the poor financial health of the municipality by proposing a realistic and sensible budget for 2014/2015 financial year. “The chamber, farmers, ratepayers and citizens are not happy about the further increase in salaries and wages in what we believe is an already bloated municipality with too many ineffective staff members holding redundant positions,” said Kotting.

He said they demanded that the municipality initiate a full forensic audit on projects like the renovation of Kokstad Town Hall, Bhongweni Youth Centre, small town rehabilitation and the weighbridge in Scott Street, as they believe those projects involve corrupt activities by officials within the Greater Kokstad Municipality. This resulted in massive variation orders, overspending of ratepayers’ money as well as huge delays by contractors unable to complete jobs because they had run out of money.

They complained about the state of the roads in the town and demanded that the municipality and Department of Transport resurface the road properly and not merely patch the potholes, as is currently being done.

The memorandum was handed over to Mtolo, who promised they would respond to complaints soon.

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