Columns 11.8.2016 06:00 am

Midvaal cares – and shows it

Midvaal executive mayor Bongani Baloyi speaks at Meyerton Town Hall, 11 May 2016, during  State of the Mumicipality Adddress. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Midvaal executive mayor Bongani Baloyi speaks at Meyerton Town Hall, 11 May 2016, during State of the Mumicipality Adddress. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

As we take up office for the next five years, we reaffirm our commitment to serving all the people of Midvaal.

The Citizen articles “Where living is the pits”; “Mayor tackles allegations of misconduct”; and “DA-run municipality nightmare for most informal settlers” were one-sided and not a true version of the reality in the Midvaal Local Municipality.

The challenge that the municipality faces with informal settlements in the area is that many are on privately owned land – and the landowners refuse to give permission for the municipality to provide services on their land. Where the municipality has the landowners’ permission, they provide services above the required basic services thresholds.

In pursuit of this, the municipality has installed Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) toilets in numerous settlements and drastically reduced the number of households sharing a toilet over the past three years.

An example is the Piel’s Farm Settlement where there were more than 20 households per toilet. Following installation of VIP toilets in 2014/15, this has been reduced to a maximum of three households per toilet.

These toilets are serviced regularly, providing employment to people from the community, as was agreed with them.

Toilets are currently being installed in the Skansdam community as part of this ongoing initiative. The plan is to relocate people living on these farm portions into formal housing.

It must be remembered that housing is a provincial competence, and responsibility for problems such as people living in stables must be carried by the provincial government.

Furthermore, the accusations regarding Midvaal being a racist municipality are the tired words of naysayers who have no solid case against the top-performing municipality in Gauteng.

Over the past five years, huge improvements have been made for black and poor communities in the area. World-class facilities, such as libraries, sporting facilities and roads have been provided in informal areas such as Sicelo and Lakeside.

That the people of Midvaal have voted in the DA to govern for the next five years – with an increased majority – proves that the people of Midvaal have faith in a DA-led government to serve them. The people have seen the good work we have done.

In an article published on page 2 of The Citizen on June 29, it was stated that a “white female DA Ward 9 card-carrying member and an employee of the municipality” had made racist comments against another municipal employee.

This is completely false, as the accused employee is not a card-carrying member of the DA.

Midvaal is a municipality that rejects racism and is actively seeking to redress past injustices and will continue to work hard to ensure these improvements continue, and that every person in Midvaal can have access to the services they deserve.

As we take up office for the next five years, we reaffirm our commitment to serving all the people of Midvaal.

We will work harder than ever to build inclusive societies, to care for the most vulnerable within our communities, and to bring more progress to Midvaal.

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