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State of the District Address delivered by Gert Sibande District Municipality




Posted: 01 June 2020

The State of the District Address was delivered by the Gert Sibande District Executive Mayor Cllr Muzi Chirwa to the District Council through a virtual meeting on the 28th of May 2020. Here's some highlights of the issues that the Executive Mayor spoke on:

  1. Since the 26th of March 2020, Gert Sibande has ensured the implementation of the Lockdown regulation in all its communities in the district. The municipality concentrated on #Stay@home, Hygiene awareness through the Health Practitioners (EHPs), Managing social distance, sanitisation of public facilities and monitoring sanitisation in all private facilities.
  2. Presently, the municipality is preparing itself and communities towards level 3 of the lockdown, which will commence on the 1st of June 2020. “We are entering a crucial stage of lockdown, where the economy is being opened and a number of activities are being normalised. At this level it will be highly imperative for us as communities to observe the regulations given to us by the National Coronavirus Command Council, especially the condition of staying at home including those who are above the age of 60 and the vulnerable”, said Cllr. Chirwa.
  3. The municipality has also finalised the establishment of the District-wide Solidarity Fund in order to cushion the vulnerable within the district. The Executive Mayor applauded all Councillors and stakeholders for the pledges already made towards the fund and further encourages those who are hearing of the District Solidarity Fund for the first time to contact the municipal offices to pledge solidarity to the vulnerable through this fund.
  4. The municipality has on the 20th of May 2020 met with the leadership of the Agricultural sector, to discuss agriculture as an economic catalyst to create entrepreneurship and jobs beyond the lockdown and coronavirus. The meeting resolved on one broad district agricultural strategy which will allow new entrants to the sector.
  5. The Executive Mayor mentioned that the municipality is proud of the workers who remained at work as essential service workers, whilst most of the country went into lockdown. “We really thank you a lot. You have made our fight against Covid-19 much easier. Together we have fought and continue to fight the spread of the coronavirus, we thank you all. We will overcome if we work together. Nelson Mandela once said, ‘It is in your hands now’”, said Cllr. Chirwa.
  6. The municipal Laboratory obtained Accreditation by SANAS in May 2017. For the Laboratory to maintain this status, on an annual basis SANAS conducts surveillance assessments to ensure maintenance of requirements of Accreditation by the Laboratory. The laboratory has successfully maintained this status for the past two audit cycles by SANAS since 2018 to date. The third cycle of assessment was recently conducted on the 26th of May 2020 and once again the SANAS audit team has recommended to the deciding committee of SANAS “continued maintenance of the accreditation status of the GSDM laboratory”.
  7. The district has been able to obtain a Clean Audit opinion from the Auditor-General for the two past consecutive financial period. This achievement has been overshadowed by the fact that some of the municipalities within the district have regressed in their 2018/19 audit outcomes, some to even Disclaimer of opinion. The district will continue to support these municipalities with the aim of improving their audit outcomes. The district has prioritised to support Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme Local Municipality which has a potential of moving back to unqualified audit opinion. The district has also supported Msukaligwa and Lekwa local municipalities with allocation of the municipality’s finance specialists. The district has also set aside R525 000 to assist the local municipalities with their review of their annual financial statement before submission to Auditor-General on the 31st of August.
  8. The District Model of Development has been piloted in various district municipalities and metros. The Gert Sibande municipalities successfully completed the profiling of the entire district in one plan. The implementation of the model is ongoing amid the Covid-19 pandemic and should help to integrate the district programmes, budget in favour of sound and successful project implementation and impact. Through the District Command Council, the municipality has tasted the effectiveness of the District model of coordination.
  9. The consultations of the IDP and Budget revealed that there is a need to implement municipal projects with an increased pace. This requires municipal administration to adopt credible procurement plans that would allow spending on projects in time. The issues raised will be reported in an integrated fashion and giving specifics where necessary.
  10. The current state of water provision need destabilisation. There is water need in rural areas which is constantly growing, the challenge being, there is no water reticulation network. Temporal solutions such as water tankers and boreholes are important but not sustainable. The District and Local Municipalities have a responsibility to work out a sustainable water solution for all. Furthermore, there is a need to attend to water losses through leakages and water misuse. The district is however remaining with the Old Water Treatment Works in all municipalities which are not reliable.
  11. Sewer spillage is a persistent challenge in some towns in the district. Lekwa Local Municipality is one of the municipalities experiencing severe spillages. The war against this challenge is not a simple one because of the old infrastructure in the majority of the municipalities. With the help of the Department of Water and Sanitation, the district is able to construct and refurbish the infrastructure. Currently, the district is busy with the construction of the WWTW in Dipaleseng and also rectifying sewer spillage in Lekwa at Rooikoppen. The district will give particular attention to rural VIP toilets construction and desludging.
  12. Roads are being graded or bladed, however, the soil in some roads has eroded to an extent that underground infrastructure is exposed and destroyed. In this regard, the municipality is heavily reliant on the District and the Mpumalanga Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport’ yellow fleet to attend to roads. Special attention is required to roads leading to schools, cemeteries, clinics, halls, etc. The solution would be to ask local municipalities to continue with paving of internal roads, as this is sustainable.
  13. Most of the district municipalities are exceeding the Notified Maximum Demand (NMD), which affects electricity reticulation and resulting into huge electricity tip-offs and the implementation of internal load shedding. Municipalities need to pay attention to 100 or 200 customers to ensure account service and revenue generation. “We need to get rid of electricity theft (izinyoka-nyoka). We cannot afford to have communities that are exposed to additional load-shedding. At the same time, communities must pay for municipal services. Electricity theft must be prevented through the use of quality split-metering”, said Cllr Chirwa.

There is a high demand for low-cost housing in all municipalities. “Our request is that we need to prioritise all those who have been waiting for their houses for years and also be able to deal with all the incomplete houses in the district”, said Cllr Chirwa. Government must continue to obtain new land for housing development, to avoid people staying in the informal settlements (imikhukhu).


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