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Polokwane - The Polokwane municipality has asked the city's council to endorse its plan to lift a moratorium on economic development, executive mayor Freddy Greaver said on Wednesday.
“In the interest of the economy of Polokwane we have decided to unblock the moratorium on business development because it has detrimental long-term effects,” he said.
The move, in place for the last two years, had turned away investors and strangled job creation.
Although Polokwane was not a major industrial city, it attracted investors and job seekers from other areas.
The number of job seekers had increased since the completion of infrastructure for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
The council introduced the moratorium in 2012 because its water and sewerage system was unable to cater for the growing population.
“With all this influx, it places our infrastructure under huge pressure, our sewer system cannot cope, we don't have enough water,” said Greaver.
“But all those people who come to Polokwane don't have houses. They go to informal settlements, and they live in backyards, which is illegal land use that places a further obligation on households,” he said.
“One household, because of the influx of another two or three families in the backyard, wants to consume the same water allocated to one family and the accounts skyrocket.”
Greaver said the city had a deficit of 43 megalitres of water per day.
Ageing water infrastructure was also blamed on inadequate water supply.
“You have everybody flocking here, placing pressure on everything, unemployment skyrockets. They are here because they hope to get jobs but the Polokwane municipality has basically put the economy on contraceptives,” said Greaver.
He said until the moratorium, the city's economy was growing at an alarming pace.
“In fact over the last 10 years, up to 2010, Polokwane outgrew all local municipalities in the country. But we got to a point where it does not move anymore.”
The upcoming council meeting was expected to reverse the moratorium.