Northerners neglected

2017-03-13 13:12
Overgrown grass, weeds and broken branches have blanketed the pathway around the Truro library. INSET: The boundary fencing of the Truro Hall library has been left damaged and rusted for years.

Overgrown grass, weeds and broken branches have blanketed the pathway around the Truro library. INSET: The boundary fencing of the Truro Hall library has been left damaged and rusted for years. (Supplied)

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Are the northern areas being sidelined for major developments?

Ratepayers living the northern suburbs of Pietermaritzburg have said they believe the rates they pay the municipality are not being reinvested in the areas they live in.

Speaking on behalf of the Msunduzi Ratepayers Forum (MRF), Minnesh Parmanand asked how much of the rates revenue was being reinvested there, and into other areas too.

The MRF represents residents across the city and not just those in the northern areas.

“A lot needs to happen in the areas where residents are paying rates,” he said.

Parmanand said the question was not about new developments in the residential areas but the mere upkeep of existing structures and services.

Honing in on the northern areas, Parmanand highlighted street lights, road repairs, the lack of traffic officers, the canalisation of the Baynespruit stream and lack of upkeep of the sports facilities as areas of concern.

Looking back at a previous article published in The Witness in 2015, Msunduzi Municipality added another two years onto the already 30-year-long wait for the full canalisation of the Baynespruit.

In February 2015, a new budget of over R11 million was proposed to ­reinstate the project, set to start this year — but three months into the year, there has been no action.

Residents who live on the banks of the stream said the widening river has eroded the soil from where they have put up fences, or left large parts of their properties inaccessible. Originally two metres wide, the river, which has two sources, in Northdale and Bombay Heights, widened to almost 10 metres in 2015 and has widened even more now.

Parmanand said the MRF had tried to meet the mayor or any member of the executive council on numerous occasions but they have never been afforded the opportunity.

“We have not seen any new development in our area. We have so many suggestions and we can help the municipality but we need them to meet with us,” Parmanand said.

Another resident who also raised the issue of the lack of upkeep of existing community structures highlighted the poor state the Truro Hall library was left in.

Uncut verges, overgrown grass and plants and damaged fencing has left the once pristine building of knowledge begging for some attention.

“It is terrible how there is no upkeep to the whole Truro Plaza. Even the hall looks like it’s going to fall down soon.

“The books in the library are at a bare minimum.

“Back in the day it was so awesome. I used to visit every day to do my projects and assignments,” said Mervin Naidoo.

THE MUNICIPALITY RESPONDS…

Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha graciously sent a detailed description of their upgrade plans for the area, but did not respond about the canalisation of the Baynespruit.

To make for an easier read, this is an edited version of the city’s plans and recent upgrades for the northern areas.

Electricity

• A new primary substation in Eastwood will be constructed by June 30 this year. Mafumbatha said the site clearing and site establishment has been completed and the project has a budget of R27 million.

• 100 metres of cables are to be purchased and installed in Allandale, Samanaville and Raisethorpe by June 30 this year. Trenching is to commence soon and the project has a budget of R934 000.

• 200 new household connections at the Regina Road informal settlement will be done by June 30. The budget for this project is R2,9 million.

• New switchboard for the Eastwood substation with a budget of R7,3 million.

Water and Sanitation

Mafumbatha said the municipality was aware of the challenges with water that are facing the country and the municipality.

The replacement value of water infrastructure is approximately R3 billion.

• Two kilometres of sewer pipelines are to be replaced by this year in a R6 million tender for the rehabilitation of sanitation infrastructure in all wards.

• Three kilometres of water pipes are to be replaced by this year. To date 1,5 km of water pipe has been constructed and the project has a budget of R5,4 million.

Human Settlements

There are roughly 90 housing projects in various stages of completion through the municipality, representing a yield of 84 552 housing units.

Housing projects in the Northern areas include:

• The housing project in Copesville that started in 2008 is expected to deliver an estimated 681 units but the project is still delayed.

Community Development

Mafumbatha urged businesses to take out their rubbish at the scheduled times so that waste is not left lying on pavements the whole day only to be collected at night.

The municipality has a team that cleans the Northdale CBD every night to ensure the litter is picked up and the waste is collected but these efforts are spoiled by the waste left during the day.

Mafumbatha said the municipality has 2 000 wheelie bins that it can offer to businesses.

• R1,3 million has been set aside to purchase 5 000 library books to service readers in Sobantu, Georgetown and Woodlands.

• R1,9 million has been set aside to purchase back-up generators for all libraries.

• R2,3 million has been set aside for the upgrading of swimming pool facilities.

R oads

• Traffic signals will be installed at Northdale Hospital intersection this year. The project has a budget of R450 000.

Y outh

“We have initiatives such as the driver’s licence programme which targets disadvantaged young people, in and out of school youth, for a subsidised chance to earn a driver’s licence,” said Mafumbatha.

• Through the Registration Fund and Full Bursaries programme, 250 pupils may receive assistance from the municipality with registration fees and bursaries.

• Through the Learnership Programme each year, the municipality takes in 25 graduates for a learnership programme. The graduates will learn the functions of the workplace as per their departmental placement and will also receive a stipend.

• The Second Chance Matric Programme assists 110 to 150 pupils to repeat subjects to improve their results to gain access to higher education institutions.

Only pupils who wrote grade 12 in 2008 and onwards can enrol.

• warriors@witness.co.za
Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  witness warrior

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