Committee to investigate Dipaleseng residents' concerns

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Nelspruit - A technical committee has been established to investigate residents' concerns relating to lack of service delivery at the Dipaleseng Local Municipality in Mpumalanga.

The community, who are blaming their municipality for poor service delivery, handed over a memorandum containing their concerns to the council's leadership two weeks ago.

According to the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs spokesperson Simphiwe Kunene residents are demanding a hospital, training centre, police station, water, sanitation and housing.

He said the technical committee will consist of representatives from the department, civic organisations, business representatives and the Dipaleseng Local Municipality.

Mr Kunene told BuaNews that there was no timeframe for the committee since its task will be based on both the short and long term investigations.

"The committee will begin its work before the end of this week and it will engage with the community and all the relevant stakeholders as it seeks to deal with the challenges in the area," Mr Kunene said.

The technical committee was set up following a visit to Balfour on Monday by the Deputy Ministers of Home Affairs and Justice and Constitutional Development Messrs Malusi Gigaba and Andries Nel and MEC for Community Safety and Liaison Sibongile Manana and MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Mokoena Norman.

The Deputy Ministers and MEC's held meetings with foreign nationals, religious leaders, business and community leaders regarding the looting of shops belonging to foreigners.

Once the technical committee has completed its report it will be presented to the Deputy Ministers and MECs who will then go and report back to the community.

MEC Mokoena has since reiterated government's commitment to addressing all challenges facing the community.

He urged the community to be engaged with the technical committee and assured them that working together will lead to the delivery of quality services for all.

The MEC further condemned the unwarranted violence, malicious destruction of property, disrespect of the rule of law and the violation of the rights of law abiding citizens by certain residents while raising their concerns through the protest march.

He called upon the law enforcement to investigate and apprehend all those who have been involved in acts of violence and destruction of property.

In the recent weeks, Mpumalanga was hit by continuous spate of service delivery protest march.

Last week, a report by a task team set up by Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Sicelo Shiceka in response to the recent protest march, found that there was a lack of public participation and communication at local level.

The task team investigated the problems facing local municipalities which could have contributed to the recent upsurge in service delivery protests in the province.

The task team focused on Thaba Chweu, Albert Luthuli, eMalahleni, eMkhondo, Pixley ka Seme, Govan Mbeki, Steve Tshwete and Msukaligwa, for their initial assessment.

Some of the preliminary findings of the report include lack of responsiveness to issues raised by communities, tensions between the political and administrative sections of the municipalities, ward committees that are not fully functional, resulting in poor communication with communities and financial mismanagement and allegations of fraud and corruption.

The report also found there was poor planning, maintenance and management of infrastructure resulting in poor service delivery and IDP and budgeting processes not aligned in some municipalities.

In response to the findings the department is planning to host a summit of all ward committees to deal with public participation and communication.