‘Imbizo an opportunity to mix and learn’

2014-12-01 00:00

MSUNDUZI’S latest round of mayoral ­imbizos ended yesterday with poor ­communities there in numbers, while ­residents from upmarket suburbs ­appeared to have stayed away.

The imbizos are a legal requirement of local government. Municipalities are required to go out and consult with communities on what they want to go into their town’s Integrated Development Plan (IDP) for the next financial year. To allow for such public participation, buses are supplied to ferry people in from poorer areas. Those attending are supplied lunch and entertainment is provided.

Many councillors, including Mayor Chris Ndlela, felt that Pietermaritzburgers across the city should make an effort to attend the imbizos to mix and learn about the different areas and each other.

Ndlela said that municipalities share government’s responsibility to bring about social cohesion and nation building. He said five imbizos were held, representing the five zones the city has been divided into to facilitate service delivery. “We would not like to prescribe to people about what to do, but the invitation is open to make use of such opportunities and attend the meetings in your zone,” the mayor said.

Ndlela used the imbizos to inform residents of the progress made by the city in the past year. These included:

• 90 housing projects in various stages of completion that will supply 84 552 housing units;

• upgrading 55,2 kilometres of road from gravel to tar and the establishment of a road maintenance programme; and

• the city’s sanitation infrastructure is ­being upgraded and maintained, and the municipality is completing a bulk sanitation master plan.

The mayor outlined a host of projects in the various departments, including concrete maintenance plans being put in place for all services.

Ndlela also used the imbizos to remind residents of their civic responsibilities: paying for services, keeping the city clean and not damaging municipal infrastructure. He told communities that electricity theft was hurting the city and cost the country R90 million in the past financial year.

The complaints from residents were about the need for housing projects to be speeded up, and high electricity and water costs. There were calls for municipal staff to be more helpful and for ageing water meters to be replaced.

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