Burning issues confront BCM mayor

High levels of unemployment, lack of RDP houses, poor storm water drainage and illegal electricity connections were some of the burning issues that BCM mayor Xola Pakati and his delegates were confronted with when he took his mayoral imbizo to East London on Friday.

NEW HOME: Matotose Dyakalashe, right, who is 82, sick, blind and taken care of by his son and neighbours, received a new RDP house yesterday . It was handed to him by BCM mayor Xola Pakati and speaker Alfred Mtsi . A storm damaged Dyakalashe’s mud home. Picture: SUPPLIED

The imbizo took place at the Jan Smuts Stadium, after Mzamomhle residents protested on Thursday by littering the Mzamomhle sports field, where residents in the coastal region of BCM had been invited to hear Pakati’s address.

In his speech, Pakati highlighted, among other issues, that BCM had budgeted R93.3-million for upgrading roads in the urban coastal wards. Of that amount, R50-million would go towards completing the Fleet and Oxford streets project and another R2-million had been set aside for gravelling rural roads in ward 50, which comprises Kwelerha, Jongilanga, Gwaba, Tuba, Zozo and Sunrise on Sea.

However, disgruntled residents complained that services were being delivered at a snail’s pace.

Duncan Village resident Ntombizanele Majumjum said to applause: “We have a crisis in Duncan Village where our electricity supply goes on and off. We want houses. Duncan Village is very dirty; even the communal toilets that are not working need to be fixed fast, please.”

Ward 5 resident Nontsikelelo Plaatjie said in Scenery Park rainwater entered residents’ homes because there was no stormwater drainage system. “We don’t have a local place to buy electricity; we need help with that, and our cemeteries are dirty. Please attend to these problems,” she told the mayor.

Shack dwellers from ward 6 also complained about the absence of stormwater drainage systems. “This affects us people who live in shacks badly, as the water floods our shacks and we are living in filth as a result,” said resident Amanda Msisiwe.

Ward 9 residents complained of not having enough toilets and taps, and some residents said there were “too many shacks” there.

Residents from ward 27 called on BCM to enforce its by-laws, especially when it came to taverns that operated “all night”. Such taverns contributed to high levels of crime in the Mzamomhle area, they said.

Pakati said residents’ grievances would be addressed by the mayoral committee and ward councillors in an effort to find solutions to them.

Among other promises he made, Pakati said: “We are continuing in our efforts of ensuring that our people benefit from a stable and reliable electricity supply. We have committed R120-million, split evenly over three years, for electricity infrastructure upgrades.

“We have also budgeted R5-million for street lighting and high masts throughout the city.”

He said over the years there had been a demand for electricity across BCM’s 154 informal settlements, which had led to an increase in illegal electricity connections in areas.

“We have therefore decided to allocate a budget for the fourth year in succession…an amount of R10-million for the electrification of informal dwellings in our city. This work will be undertaken after a due process that will be guided by our development planners in ensuring that the areas meet the legal requirements.”

Yesterday, Pakati ended his mayoral imbizo roadshow in Ncerha village 2. BCM spokesman Samkelo Ngwenya said 82-year-old Matotose Dyakalashe received the keys to a new RDP house yesterday, after a storm damaged his mud house.

“Today [yesterday] we provide homes to at least 80 families that have been left homeless for over a year by natural causes that hit a number of Tsholomnqa areas. The metro continues to create sustainable human settlements for its citizenry.” — mamelag@dispatch.co.za

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