Govan Mbeki, Executive Mayor, Nhlakanipho Zuma, during his state of the municipality’s address completely misrepresented the dire state of affairs in the municipality.
The Mayor refused to take responsibility for the water and electricity crisis in Bethal. He attributed the municipality’s lack of water to load shedding. The mayor went on to lambast other role players for the municipality’s shortcomings.
He whined about illegal electricity connections and vandalism. Not once did he mention the municipality’s lack of infrastructure- maintenance or replacement plans. Zuma complained about the high demand for electricity but would not speak about the failed agreement with Gert Sibande District to help with the power nor did he speak about the municipality’s failure to service its Eskom debt.
The mayor went on to promise repairs and upgrades that were beyond the municipality’s financial capabilities, these include:
- Finalisation of road projects in eMbalenhle – These were paid for, taken back as internal projects, and then now outsourced again.
- Revamping of the Johannes Steggman Theatre – This is after R3m meant for upgrading this theatre disappeared.
- Rebuilding of the stadium in Lebohang – This comes after more than R10m was spent on this project.
- Refurbishment of a multipurpose centre in Emzinoni – This comes after it was handed over by the contractor around 2016 but never finalized and has since been vandalized.
- Revival of cemeteries in townships
- Spending money on various festivals and tournaments
- Creating a monument in a public space.
Zuma’s speech was more of a campaign dialogue aimed at luring gullible voters back to the ANC. The notion that Govan Mbeki will be the best municipality in Mpumalanga by 2030 is fictitious.
Govan Mbeki is run by cadres who are self-centred. This became evident recently when they decided to increase the mayoral committee by two new MMC’s. This move was ill-advised and shortsighted considering that the municipality is cash-strapped and has an unfunded budget.
The DA calls for the intervention of CoGTA in Govan Mbeki. Residents deserve a functional government that will prioritize service delivery.