Meetings strengthen public participation.
AS the popular saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail and there is no bigger plan in local government which has far-reaching impact than the Integrated Development Plan (IDP).
It is the blue-print upon which the municipality’s developmental agenda is built and the cornerstone of local government, because in the process of developing the IDP, public participation comes to life.
Emfuleni Local Municipality (ELM) recently completed a series of 2019/2020 IDP and Budget public participation meetings held in different wards in Sebokeng, Evaton, Bophelong, Boipatong, Sharpeville and Vanderbijlpark.
Residents gathered in numbers to make their contribution to the IDP process of the municipality.
In one of the meetings held at the Boipatong community hall on Thursday, 04th October, ELM Acting Mayor, Councillor Robert Thema led proceedings and opened the meeting with a presentation to residents.
Also in attendance were Speaker of Council, Councillor Maipato Tsokolibane, Members of the Mayoral Committee (MMCs) and the Senior Management Team (SMT), ward councillors and representatives of political parties.
Councillor Thema’s presentation outlined planned municipal projects but the Acting Mayor conceded aging infrastructure had led to several sewer spillages in Bophelong and surrounding areas.
“We’ve seen the pictures, there are sewer spillages everywhere,” he said.
Councillor Thema also informed residents about the negative impact of theft and vandalism of municipal infrastructure, including high-mast lights and cables.
Residents pleaded for a new clinic, a satellite police station, tarring of roads, sealing of potholes and cutting of trees, among other services and projects.
Councillor Thema challenged all municipal workers to serve all residents of ELM with pride.
In other wards across the municipality, scores of residents spoke about challenges from their wards including illegal dumping, incomplete municipal projects and lack of youth development projects.
THERE ARE SIX MAIN REASONS WHY A MUNICIPALITY SHOULD HAVE AN IDP:
- Effective use of scarce resources - The IDP will help our municipality to focus on the most important needs of our communities taking into account the resources available. We have a difficult task of finding the most cost-effective ways of providing services and this means spending money on the causes of problems in our communities.
- It helps to speed up delivery - The IDP identifies the least serviced and most impoverished areas and points to where municipal funds should be spent. Implementation is made easier because the relevant stakeholders have been part of the process. The IDP helps to develop realistic project proposals based on the availability of resources.
- It helps to attract additional funds - Government departments and private investors are willing to invest where municipalities have clear development plans.
- Strengthens democracy - Through the active participation of all the important stakeholders, decisions are made in a democratic and transparent manner.
- Helps to overcome the legacy of apartheid - Municipal resources are used to integrate rural and urban areas and to extend services to the poor.
- Promotes co-ordination between local, provincial and national government - The different spheres of government are encouraged to work in a co-ordinated manner to tackle the development needs in a local area.
Resident Zakaria Ngwenya makes his contribution at the meeting.
By Wandisile Kunene