Services will be delivered throughout Vhembe, says Cogta Minister

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Pretoria - Government says it will give Vhembe District Municipality in Limpopo the support it needs to deliver services to communities.

On Tuesday, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Des van Rooyen addressed inaccurate reports that services would only be delivered to certain wards in the recently re-demarcated municipality. Minister Van Rooyen said the wrong impression was created, suggesting that government would only deliver services in Vuwani in Vhembe District Municipality.

Residents in the area have been protesting for a number of weeks demanding that the area be reincorporated into the Makhado Municipality.

“I would like to clarify that this is not correct. Vuwani is part of the 36 wards under the new municipality and they cannot be separated,” said Minister Van Rooyen on Tuesday.

He said support will be provided to the municipality in line with Section 154 (1) of the Constitution. On Sunday, President Jacob Zuma visited Vuwani and met a number of stakeholders. A temporary agreement was reached, which places service delivery responsibilities in Vuwani under Vhembe, while a lasting solution is being sought to the residents’ demarcation dispute.

Minister Van Rooyen went to Malamulele on Monday to meet community leaders in an effort to explain the agreement, as outlined by the President.

The Minister reiterated the President’s message that the new arrangement does not in any way suggest that the new municipality will be dissolved. Instead, government will support service delivery by the two municipalities, working together.

President Zuma has established a Political Steering Committee (PTS) -- which will be chaired by Minister Van Rooyen, supported by the Provincial MEC of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (COGHSTA) as co-convener. The Vhembe PTS will receive progress reports on a monthly basis.

“We urge communities to be active participants, working together for the attainment of shared goals, designed and agreed upon to improve the living conditions for all,” Minister Van Rooyen said.

According to the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, the support package for Vhembe District Municipality will ensure that there is adequate capacity to deliver and provide services to communities.

“The support package is premised upon the Second Phase priorities of the Back to Basics approach on local government, which emphasizes the continued delivery of services, so as to build a developmental local government.

“The effective and efficient functioning of the municipality will ensure that the overarching objective of the Back to Basics second phase which is to build functional municipalities to fully realise their role in the transformation of municipal spaces for radical socio-economic transformation is realised,” he said.

The Minister has welcomed the commitment by all stakeholders to allow life to return to normalcy, the shutdown coming to an end, leaners going to back school and businesses opening their doors.

“I appeal to communities to play their part in ensuring that the agreement is fully implemented,” Minister Van Rooyen said. –