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Back to Basics for Sundays River

Written by Stephen Timm

Local government

After being struck  by protests in late 2014, the Sundays River Valley Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape is at work again.

Sundays River Municipal Manager Lonwabo Ngoqo said the municipality is refurbishing roads, building a new wastewater treatment plant and improving electricity distribution.

More than 250 people have been employed through  the Community Work Programme to clean streets and maintain cemeteries.

The municipality, which includes mostly rural areas and parts of the Addo Elephant National Park, did not have good audit results for 2015/16, but recent interventions are helping to turn things around.

“The community feels government is now working and responding to all the challenges,” he said. For example, there are now eight roadwork projects, up from just two in 2014, before the intervention.

Ngoqo said for the current financial year, the municipality received allocations from various departments to attend to service delivery challenges.

These include R36 million to improve water connections and boreholes, R32 million to maintain roads, R24 million for wastewater treatment and R9 million for electricity connections, with a further R15 million on its way.

A new civic centre in Kirkwood will also be constructed to replace the one burnt down by protestors and a process has begun to recover documents lost in the fire.

Upgrades to electricity infrastructure for the citrus industry will also be carried out. This will prove critical, as the municipality is the second highest citrus-producing area in the country.

Ngoqo said the intervention started in 2014 after the establishment by the municipality and the Department of Cooperative Governance  and Traditional Affairs of an intervention committee.

 A series of imbizos were then held with community members, while a stakeholder forum was hosted by Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle.

Ngoqo said he regularly reports to a municipal steering committee on the state of the various interventions. The committee includes representatives of various departments and
entities.

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