This is a sequel to the meeting that you addressed on October 10, at Khutsong Gugulethu Centre. You urged the citizens not to be afraid to engage councillors and hold them accountable where issues of service delivery are concerned. I’m exercising that option. I reside at 532 Khutsong Location and my family has been displaced as a results of sinkholes.
In your previous response, you mentioned that you managed to get the R118 075 349 from the Disaster Management Centre (The Citizen, June 21, page 6). Also at Gugulethu, you mentioned that you managed to acquire other unspecified funding from Cogta. Having said that, I have to ask:
1. Was this the only funding you got for the rehabilitation of sinkholes?
Mayor Maneli: On August 25 last year, the West Rand District Municipality submitted a report to the National and Provincial Disaster Management Centres in relation to the state of environmental affairs in Merafong City Local Municipality.
The issues raised in the report included, among others, the constant formation of sinkholes and ageing wet services in that area. As a consequence, the West Rand District Municipality, in consultation with Merafong, the provincial and national centres declared the area a local state of disaster on November 24, 2016, in terms of section 55 of the Disaster Management Act.
Subsequently, the National Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) made a grant allocation of R118 075 349 to Merafong City for the recovery and rehabilitation owing to the disaster-related incidences experienced in Merafong.
2. How and where was this R118 million spent?
Mayor Maneli: As indicated above, the R118 075 349 was meant for the recovery and rehabilitation of the declared local state of disaster in the area of Merafong.
3. What steps does the council take to prevent the re-occurrence and development of sinkholes?
Mayor Maneli: In so far as natural disasters are concerned, there is little any authority can do about it. Such occurrences are an act of nature.
However, in as far as manmade disasters are concerned, the West Rand District Municipality has developed and promulgated (1) Disaster Management Development Risk Management By-Law, (2) Civil Contingencies By-Law, (3) District Disaster Management Plan, and the (4) Dolomite Risk Management Strategy.
These documents are developed with the aim of the management, reduction, minimisation, prevention and mitigation of any disaster-related incidences.
4. Does the council have a policy for structures that are damaged as a result of natural disasters?
Mayor Maneli: The policy framework relating to the management of disasters is (1) the Disaster Management Act, Act 57 of 2002, (2) National Disaster Management Framework, (3) District Disaster Management By-Law and the approved District Disaster Management Plan.
5. If the municipality does have policies on this matter, are these documented?
Mayor Maneli: Yes, as indicated above, the Disaster Management Act was promulgated in 2002, the National Disaster Management Framework was promulgated in 2005, Disaster Management By-Law was promulgated in 2015, Civil Contingencies By-Law was promulgated in 2015, the District Disaster Management Plan was reviewed in 2015, and the Dolomite Risk Management Strategy was approved in 2008.
6. There are families that have been displaced for over 10 years. Does the municipality have a time frame to resolve this matter?
Mayor Maneli: As mentioned above, the Disaster Management Function of the West Rand District Municipality subscribes to a multi-sectoral and multi-discipline approach to all disaster-related incidences. The matter will be taken up with the relevant department of human settlement to ensure that your concern receives the necessary attention.
The multi-sectoral and multi-discipline approach seeks to ensure that all relevant stakeholders, such as public and private sector institutions, as well as communities, are on board in dealing with the incident in question.
NEXT WEEK: Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga responds to your questions.