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Cash strapped Msunduzi Municipality to roll out projects to improve service delivery

File Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)(ANATOPIX)

File Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)(ANATOPIX)

Published Jun 1, 2021

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DURBAN - MSUNDUZI mayor Mzi Thebolla has acknowledged that revenue collection has severely affected the municipality’s ability to provide quality services, adding that he expected a rise in the number of residents who needed assistance through its indigent policy as many people had lost jobs following the Covid -19-induced lockdown.

Delivering the municipality’s budget during a council sitting yesterday, the mayor committed the city to rolling out a number of infrastructural projects that he said would help to stabilise power supply through the introduction of alternative energy sources.

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“We will also take decisive steps to increase the availability and use of gas and fast-track the shovel-ready solar energy projects. Our local customers have already taken advantage of this open window opportunity. The Liberty Group has commissioned an R8 million solar roof plant in order to mitigate the risks of load shedding in their mall operation,” said Thebolla during the council sitting.

He added that electricity blackouts and shortages of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) in the city last year had prompted the municipality to work closely with organised business and industry to find more cost-effective and environmentally friendly sources of power.

Part of the R200m electricity infrastructure programme highlighted by Thebolla included:

  • a medium voltage network upgrade: R25m;
  • upgrade of the Retief Primary substation for R5m;
  • Acquisition of capital equipment: R10m.

The mayor expressed confidence that such programmes would bring stability to the city’s power supply and also ensure that businesses were able to function with little difficulty. According to the mayor, R79.6m had also been allocated for roads and associated infrastructure.

He conceded that littering and the municipality’s battle with refuse collection had given the city negative publicity in the recent past.

“The state of cleanliness of the city has remained the apex of our strategic vision. In the recent past the city has attracted negative (attention) from all sectors of the society and as the municipality we are determined to change this narrative and improve the situation at all costs,” the mayor said.

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Part of the response included sourcing R50m to purchase a compactor for the daily management and maintenance of the New England landfill site.

In addition, the city was rallying support from residents to be part of the weekly and monthly clean-up campaigns and would be rolling out concrete rubbish street bins throughout the city centre in the hope that residents would be sensitised to use them instead of littering.

“We are well on course to see a well-run city that does not have to worry about strewn litter, uncollected rubbish at homes, potholes, broken street lights and crumbling infrastructure,” said Thebolla.

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As a response to the expected rise of people seeking assistance, the municipality had prepared a social relief package that would include:

  • 100% rebate on assessment rates;
  • Free refuse removal;
  • First 100kWh of electricity per month is free. This is more than the provision made by national government policy and the city will bear the costs of the difference;
  • First 6kl of water and sewer per month is free;
  • Special rates on emergency services such as ambulance and fire-fighting; and free indigent burial.

According to the mayor, the relief measures showed that the municipality cared for its citizens, especially vulnerable ones.

THE MERCURY

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Related Topics:

Service Delivery

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