R500m set aside for Malamulele, Vhembe

2015-02-19 17:23

The Malamulele community protest may not have delivered a new municipality as desired, but it has certainly greased the wheels of service delivery intended for the area.

Co-operative Governance Minister Pravin Gordhan today announced in Polokwane that about R500 million has been set aside in the current budget to finance a “package of services” intended for the Vhembe district and the Malamulele area in particular.

Gordhan said there was a meeting this week where a list of concerns and proposals were received from the Malamulele task team, representatives from national and provincial governments and municipalities.

“At the end of this meeting we are now able to say we have a confirmed set of projects that we need to undertake which involves water reticulation, sanitation, roads and repairs of bridges and electrification just among others.

“In respect of these projects we have clear deadlines and timelines within which we are going to work,” he said.

In supporting their application for their own municipality, Malamulele people cited lack of service delivery as one of the reasons they believe a municipality of their own will work to their advantage. They said Thulamela local municipality was sidelining their area when it came to the delivery of services.

Thulamela municipality has refuted these claims, stating that a considerable chunk of their budget has been spent on development in Malamulele.

The municipal demarcation board’s feasibility study report stated recently that Thulamela has in its integrated development plan (IDP) budget projects between 2012 and 2015 dedicated over R200 million on water projects benefitting more than 100 000 households in the greater Malamulele area.

The report further states that over R20 million was spent on sanitation benefitting almost 4000 houses in the area over the same period while over 7000 households benefitted from the R100 million electricity project. A 13km road project worth R92 million appears on the IDP project for the 2014/15 financial year.

It was no clear whether government was convinced or not that Malamulele was lagging behind in service delivery as claimed by the community. It seemed, however, that this sudden action was in response to service delivery concerns raised by the protesting community.

Gordhan said the announcement of a service delivery package for Malamulele was an “important indication from both national and provincial governments that we are intent on ensuring that monies are currently available in municipalities and other government departments... will mobilise to address some of the projects already on the integrated development plan of the local and district municipalities and where they are not, special arrangements will be made to see how we can address some of the concerns.”

“Some projects can be attended to immediately (while) some can be spread over two financial years or more. Government budgeting does not work in a way that you can instantly solve all problems,” he said.

Meanwhile, Gordhan said Malamulele residents were still expected to motivate and make further proposals to the municipal demarcation board on their request for their own municipality.

This after Gordhan had made a presentation on behalf of government for the board to re-determine what they believe are “municipalities that were not viable” across the country with Vhembe municipality included. Gordhan said there were about 80 such municipalities in the country.

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