Umzimkhulu welcomed into KZN

2011-05-11 00:00

THE people of Umzimkhulu can now proudly declare themselves official residents of KwaZulu-Natal after a ceremony was held at the Lourdes rural village just outside the town to officially welcome them.

The cooperative governance department has led the development process since 2006, when the town was ceded to KZN from the Eastern Cape.

King Goodwill Zwelithini with Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize, MECs and local government and traditional leaders observed the handing over of R800 million worth of infrastructural projects, including the improvement of the main road and access roads, housing, electricity and water.

Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube said the town is faced with the challenge of expansion due to the influx of people coming to live there.

She said the town had endured a number of infrastructural backlogs while under the Eastern Cape and that it is felt there is a need to completely change its face since it is situated on the border and is a tourist gateway.

Premier Mkhize said much has been achieved a lot so far, including the eradication of the bucket system.

He said incorporating the town into KZN was done after a number of meetings, resulting in an agreement to share resources.

Mkhize was the Provincial Finance MEC at the time.

“We had decided to allocate R180 million for only Umzimkhulu to deal with challenges of jobs, water and electricity,” said Mkhize.

He said that since education is part of government’s priorities, they have refurbished more than 20 schools in the region that were built by missionaries.

Mkhize also promoted agriculture.

“This is part of the provincial government efforts to fix the imbalance created by the apartheid where small towns were neglected,” said Mkhize.

King Zwelithini said it has been his dream since 2006 to officially welcome the town to make its people feel part of the province.

The king said he is saddened by the high pregnancy rate at schools and promised that neglected areas will soon be developed. He also urged communities to come on board to fight HIV and Aids.

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