Johannesburg - Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane took a swipe at the Democratic Alliance-led Midvaal municipality on Tuesday when releasing a report on the performance of local government from 2006 to 2011.
“We are delivering 500 portable toilets to Midvaal... Where a municipality does not co-operate... we will just move in,” she told media in Johannesburg.
This was despite saying the release of the report a week before local government elections on May 18 was not “electioneering”.
Local Government MEC Humphrey Mmemezi said in response to a question after the premier's presentation: “I'm going there [Midvaal] on Thursday with 1 000 portable toilets.”
“We discovered that for 10 years the Midvaal municipality could not give people this basic service, they still go to the bush like the olden days.”
This had cost the government R5.7m, he added.
The DA accused Mmemezi of using "the opportunity to try and discredit Midvaal and its excellent service delivery track record".
Requested a year ago
DA MP Wilmot James said in a statement: "The MEC announced that the province will be sending 1 000 toilets to Midvaal on Thursday.
"The DA welcomes this initiative. Midvaal requested those toilets over a year ago. It is sad that it took an election and the ANC's political desperation for the province to finally deliver on that request."
Mmemezi said his department had to intervene in the municipality, which the African National Congress has made clear it wants to win back on May 18.
“We couldn't resist once we were aware of this reality, we had to intervene... .”
In Midvaal 4 000 families share nine water taps - “they have to stand in a long queue”.
The MEC said he was happy with the way some areas of the Midvaal region were run.
“I am happy, in Meyerton they are doing very good, but when it comes to poor communities... I am not happy at all.”
The DA's James countered this, saying: "The DA's track record in Midvaal is well documented, extensive and without parallel in Gauteng."
Mmemezi rejected comparisons of Midvaal with Zandspruit, an informal settlement in Honeydew, north-west of Johannesburg which saw violent protests in late April.
Mmemezi said in Zandspruit, unlike Midvaal, “there are clinics, there are schools, tarred roads, lights... .The problem there in fact was presented as poor service delivery. The reality was that people were disgruntled that they weren't put on the list for government... As we have explained the process, they are now happy.”
Mokonyane added: “What you see in Zandspruit is not about service delivery, it is about other issues. You have criminal elements in some instances who make access to informal settlements very difficult.”
“The streets where they burn the tyres in Zandspruit were not there in 2005. Some of the people toyi-toying there were not there in 2008. Issues around influx [of immigrants] into Gauteng were not there in 2005.”
Mokonyane also took a dig at DA-led Cape Town, claiming the party only rolled out services to affluent areas, unlike Gauteng where services were provided to all, including the inner city.
The DA took issue with this.
"The MEC also used the opportunity to attack Cape Town, a clear indication that this event was political as Cape Town has nothing to do with the state of Gauteng municipality," James said.