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Community First sees premier on issues

   06 April 2018   l   Andries van der Heyde    l   Views: 58   l   14 days ago  


A very detailed memorandum of grievances was handed in at the office of Stanley Mathabatha, premier of Limpopo’s offices on Thursday 22 March in Polokwane by a fairly new community organization, Bela-Bela Community First.

The Post met with Vision Mashaba, chairperson of the organization, and Isaac Mahwela, general secretary, to discuss the grievances.

Their first concern was the electricity tariffs for indigent households. The municipality decreased the free service of 100 kWh to 50 kWh in the last financial year. The memorandum highlighted that indigents are unable to afford more electricity and their supply is since then cut off without warning.

Regarding housing the group alleges that municipal councillors are involved in cor-rupt activities by allocating houses to certain individuals without having regard for the enormous backlog and for the Reconstruction and Development Pro-gramme (RDP) policy.

Mashaba said Bela-Bela residents can expect more unregulated townships that will sprout all over the region if the issue of alleged “wrongful” allocation is not addressed.

The memorandum emphasises the belief among community members that Jeremiah Ngobeni, mayor, and other councillors allegedly offer positions at the municipality to “friends and family members”, while the community is “left to fend for themselves”. Especially where capital projects are concerned that, according to the group, residents do not benefit from.

The group also alleges that applicants to certain positions hand in fake matric certificates and are still appointed.

Furthermore, the group demands trans-parency where multimillion rand projects are awarded to tenderers and issues such as health and safety, where incomplete work after full payment is the result. 

The group asked the premier to investigate  three local projects: the fencing of the cemetery, the renovation of the old community hall in the Bela-Bela township and the continual Sanfa stadium upgrade project, where millions are spent, but the work continues to drag on.

The group further emphasised that the supply chain management must be investigated since the contractors are apparently not local.

For future investment and work oppor-tunities, the group requested the premier to investigate the old Royal Northlands Golf Estate that has been vacant for almost nine years, but still has potential for future growth.

Mashaba said that the group pushed for local government to urgently look at registered and unregistered businesses within the community and crack down on foreigners who do not have permits to run a business. 

The group is also very concerned about the lack of financial contribution to the local economy, the tax clearance and a lack of employment, according to the memorandum. 

Mashaba claims that the database for registered businesses in Bela-Bela is not updated.

Another point on the memorandum was youth unemployment that, as a result of no work, leads to substance abuse.

Engagements with the department of local economic development and the police are ongoing.

The group told the premier that they have lost faith in the councillors and that he must respond to the grievances by latest on Tuesday 3 April. 

The premier’s office in the meantime asked to meet with the group at a later stage, said Mashaba. 

“There is a cup of water that is leaking within Bela-Bela and if people are not active they will go on protesting forever. What we are doing, we are doing for the community,” said Mashaba.

The Post sent written questions to Kabelo Mosito, spokesperson of the Bela-Bela  municipality, for comment on these issues. Mosito acknowledged receipt and said that he will give feedback in due course. 





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