Community demands answers during Imbizo


Kopano Dibakwane

A Mayoral Imbizo, held inside Sabie town hall on February 25th, proved to be the long-awaited platform for residents under Ward 7 (Sabie, Harmony Hill and Phola Park) to hold the Executive Mayor of Thaba Chweu Local Municipality, Selina Mashigo-Sekgobela to account.

In her widely-interrupted presentation, Mashigo-Sekgobela said that the Imbizo was intended to allow residents to voice issues of concern. She listed eleven issues which touched on human settlement, ward committees and Community Development Workers, on-going water interruptions, Eskom debt, waste removal, unemployment, rates and taxes, free basic services, progress on existing projects, amongst others.

“We went on a loco inspection in 2015 and Phola Park is in the pipeline. The Department of Human Settlement is assisting TCLM and we are now at an advanced stage. A small portion of land (Phola Park) belongs to York and we are still engaging. I condemn land invasion, it’s a burden on the municipality. We have 97 new RDP houses built in Extension 10. A contractor is currently on site putting services – sanitation and electricity. The houses were supposed to be 100 but we had some challenges,” said Mashigo-Sekgobela.

“The municipality owes Eskom and it’s not the Mayor or Administration who owe; it’s all of us. I know the 70/30 (payment plan) caused a big cry. Those who can’t pay must make arrangements with Finance. TCLM has free basic services for indigents, they are registered through ward councillors and they receive free 50 kilowatts of electricity. We have contractors on site attending to the water issue. Sometimes there are disturbances during upgrades, but I promise that next week there will be water with no disturbances. We currently use a small bakkie to collect waste. I commit to buying a truck to collect waste, but please be patient,” said Mashigo-Sekgobela.

Mashigo-Sekgobela’s presentation was often swallowed by jeers from some in the crowd who accused the municipality of telling lies, particularly on the water issue. The unhappy residents said that contractors lie to the Executive Mayor and that Harmony possesses experienced people who must also be considered for the right jobs in the municipality.

Pastor Roy Roach-Harmony Hill said that TCLM deliberately excludes Harmony Hill and Phola Park from community development programmes, citing the reported stadium planned for Simile costing R10 000 000, as one example.

“We asked for this meeting to be held in Harmony Hill but it was hijacked and brought to town. Everything goes to town and Simile. Residents of Harmony Hill want a community hall, stadium, floodlights. Our kids play in the streets and it’s not safe, they need proper facilities. We just want to be heard,” said Roach.

Other issues raised by residents included unclear selection process on Traffic School Programme, cancellation of municipal debt for senior citizens, equal treatment of all pensioners in Sabie, support for emerging contractors in Harmony Hill, amongst others.

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