Public Protector drawn into Kriel crisis

2013-07-16 20:20
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: Brendan Croft/Foto24

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: Brendan Croft/Foto24

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Johannesburg - Residents of Kriel in Mpumalanga want their town removed from Emalahleni local municipality jurisdiction, the office of the Public Protector said on Tuesday.

They claimed to be victims of extremely poor service delivery from the municipality which was put under administration three months ago.

Locals accused executive mayor Salome Sithole of ignoring their complaints and have since called for an independent municipality.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela visited Kriel on Tuesday where she spoke to residents.

"Issues raised during the dialogue included sewerage problems, poor road infrastructure, insufficient street lighting, which created an opportunity for criminal activities and drug abuse and unacceptable delays in the provision of low cost housing," said Madonsela's spokesperson Kgalalelo Masibi.

"The community also complained about police services that are allegedly centralised in Emalahleni, the unavailability of a local South African social security agency pay-point, inaccessibility of agricultural land for subsistence farming, provision of electricity for new households, and mining companies that allegedly failed to develop the community that surrounds the mines."

It was alleged that clinics and hospitals had insufficient medical supplies and staff, and a mobile clinic facility that catered for the farming community was no longer operational.

Medical facilities meant to operate for 24 hours a day only opened for a few hours daily and there were problems with the ambulance service which was also allegedly centralised in Emalahleni, said Masibi.

Sithole said she was aware of most of the issues raised in Kriel.

Commitment to fix

"The issue of street lighting and potholes, for example, are in our integrated development plan," she said.

Theo van Vuuren, who was appointed administrator of the municipality, said most of the problems in Kriel should have been addressed earlier.

"However, we did not have vehicles, equipment and there was no communication," he said.

Van Vuuren said the potholes and street lights in the area would be fixed within the current financial year while the sewage problems would be attended to "within a day of two". The community would also be able to access land for subsistence farming.

Madonsela would work with the Mpumalanga provincial government and officials from the Emalahleni municipality to address the issues raised.

"We were pleased with the commitment to fix some of the urgent grievances," she said.

Her visit to Kriel focused on strengthening government's ability to deliver on its development goals.

She will go to Nelspruit on Wednesday.

- SAPA
Read more on:    thuli madonsela  |  mbombela  |  service delivery
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