BCM jobless numbers are set to soar

The Buffalo City Metro’s unemployment rate could increase when it takes control of a further 28 villages, as instructed by the Municipal Demarcation Board.

The metro has unsuccessfully fought the incorporation of new villages into its borders since 2013.

But metro leaders have now accepted expansion of BCM’s municipal area as a “done deal” and that it will happen before local government elections in August.

In a report before council recently, acting city manager Nceba Ncunyana cautioned the council about the impact of adding more than 62 000 residents of villages from Great Kei, Ngqushwa and Amahlathi municipalities would have on the metro.

“Most of the population from the new areas is unemployed, which will impact on the current unemployment ratios.”

The latest labour survey quarterly report released by Stats SA this week revealed that the metro’s current unemployment rate stands at 24.1%, which amounts to 73000 unemployed people.

To add to its service delivery problems, the metro will now have to budget for a backlog of sanitation and solid waste removal, among other services.

The financial implication remains unknown for now as the city awaits a meeting between the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) and National Treasury to give them “clarity”.

Political parties have also raised their concerns about the new demarcation, with metro deputy mayor and ANC regional chairman Xola Pakati describing the move as a “financial burden”.

Yesterday he said: “With the new integration, the metro’s unemployment rate will increase by 11% more and that is a big problem.

“We will struggle to deliver even basic services because there is a backlog in those areas and this will be an additional burden.”

DA councillor Jan Smit said they hoped BCM would not be blamed for “poor” service delivery as the new areas were far from the city.

“It will be very difficult for the villagers to get services because those areas are very remote. It won’t be easy for them even to get basic services because the metro already has limited resources.

“It is difficult for BCM to service Dimbaza as it is – it will be worse for the new areas.”

To prepare for the change, a new ward known as ward 50 has been established. The ANC has elected a councillor candidate while its regional opposition, the DA, has no representative in the new ward.

Pakati said the new ward integrated the Great Kei villages which include Gwaba, Mandela Park, Kwelera and KwaNokhala among other villages. “The wards have been rearranged and we have a new ward in the former Great Kei villages while previously ward 50 was Mdantsane’s NU8.

“In the Amahlathi and Ngqushwa areas, there are no new wards but we have added new portions to the existing wards in those areas,” Pakati explained, adding that the new demarcation was an advantage for the villagers as they were now part of a metro.

“For us as a metro it does however mean having to stretch our limited resources because this metro is not like any other in the country.” — mamelag@dispatch.co.za


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