By Slovo Dyira
During the Ward 10 Integrated Development Plan (IDP) meeting at BB Zondani hall on 15 March, various community members spoke out about the lack of delivery of RDP houses. Residents complained that some members of the community receive houses, while others do not even though they have completed the application process.
“My housing application was approved, but I don’t have an RDP house,” said a Ward 10 resident who identified herself as Pholi.
Ward 10 resident Nosiphokazi Moyikwa said there was even a 100-year-old man still waiting for a house from the government. Another resident, Andile, added that a plastered house is falling apart, and this shows that there is no oversight from the municipality.
During the meeting, mayor Yandiswa Vara highlighted development priorities that needed attention. In contrast, Ward 10 residents raised various service delivery failures by the municipality, especially regarding the township.
According to Vara, one of the municipality’s priorities is basic service delivery and infrastructure development, including water, garbage collection and fixing the roads.
Regarding the water crisis, Vara mentioned that the dam could only provide ten megalitres days, yet there is a demand for 20 megalitres a day in Makhanda. She stated that the reason for the lack of water is that there is a bigger population in Makhanda, and the old infrastructure cannot accommodate the population growth, especially in the township.
Both Vara and the municipal manager Phumelelo Kate said that the water issue, linked to the James Kleynhans project, has a R250 million budget. Vara added that they currently have a starting budget of R16 million, and initiatives like the Thatha project had already been started to try and fix the dams.
Kate told Grocott’s Mail, “the total budget for the James Kleynhans project is R250 million for all the phases [of the project]. Phase one is complete, and by June or August [this year], we hope to have increased the volume of water from 10 megalitres to 20 megalitres a day. Hopefully, by December, we will complete phase three.”
Another water-related issue raised by Vara is that Amathole Municipality handles water for Makana, hence some of the problems with water services. Extension Seven resident, Zonwabele, agreed that while Amathole Municipality manages water, Makana municipality is responsible for fixing leaks, alluding to the fact that leaks take a while to get fixed in the township. “Twenty-three years ago, sewage started leaking till now,” said another Ward 10 resident, Andile.
In response to the water leaks and sewage spillages, Kate told Grocott’s Mail that the cause is old infrastructure and the municipality is working hard to fix these issues.
In addition to water, Vara mentioned that a development priority is to create community and social cohesion, which deals with legal dumping, monitoring and cleanliness. Vara added that community members should use legal dumping sites for garbage.
Ward 10 community member Nosiphokazi suggested that the municipality have a cleaning budget when looking at illegal dumping sites. She added that plastic bags hadn’t been distributed to the township for five years, hence the illegal dumping sites, as some people cannot afford to buy their own bags.
Another resident, Zonwabele, added that although the National Arts Festival (NAF) Social Employment Fund (SEF) project collects garbage, it takes the municipality two to three weeks to collect the garbage.
Another issue raised was that of roads not getting fixed in the township, yet in town, the streets are getting fixed.
Vara said the reconstruction of roads, with a particular focus on main roads like Ncame street, M Street, and Makana Way, which are taxi routes, is underway. “We will focus on paving as it will also create jobs,” she said.
Kate told Grocott’s Mail that the municipality is working with the SEF project to maximise skills and equipment. He added that while the official launch had not happened in the township, the work is getting done.