Package to accelerate service delivery in Malamulele

Pretoria: Although the community of Malamulele did not get a separate municipality, they can take comfort in a “service package” that will accelerate service delivery in the area.

Government has announced that a package of services to be accelerated through this process includes roads and storm water, water and sanitation, reconstruction of bridges and electrification of settlements, with an estimated existing budget allocation of R455 873 million.

This package will cover the area of Malamulele and Vhembe districts. Government has established a Project Management Office consisting of technical infrastructure experts from COGTA, Department of Water and Sanitation, Department of Energy and the Department of Public Works to ensure the effective management and implementation of all infrastructure projects in the area.

The projects will be implemented within the resource envelope of the Integrated Development Plan to be rolled out in the area, covering the plans by both national and provincial sector departments to be implemented in municipalities.

This package was announced by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Minister Pravin Gordon on Thursday after the meeting with the Malamulele task team, representatives from national and provincial governments and municipalities.

Minister Gordhan said during the meeting a list of concerns and proposals were received from all sides.

The Malamulele Task Team (MTT) committed itself to pursuing the window of opportunity being presented to it by the new process initiated by the Minister of COGTA in terms of which the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) has been requested to investigate the redetermination of the outer boundaries of a number of municipalities across the country, including all local municipalities within Vhembe District.

The MTT has committed to making a comprehensive submission to the MDB in pursuance of its aspiration for a stand-alone municipality for Malamulele, as well as ensuring that stability and the resumption of normal community life and activities are sustained in the area in order to create a climate conducive for service delivery to take place.

Government for its part committed in involving various ministries that can make a meaningful contribution to the improvement of living conditions of the people of Malamulele.

These will include the Department of Agriculture to exploit the potential for growing economic investment in agriculture and the Departments of Public Works and COGTA to expand the reach and impact of public employment schemes such as Expanded Public Works and the Community Work Programme in the Vhembe District.

The meeting concluded in a consensus on timelines for the projects intended to address the service delivery backlog.

Emphasis was also made towards an aggressive strategy to return the rule of law and order, to put an end to destruction of property and arresting those who break the law.

Minister Gordon hoped that the package will further ensure stability and enhance service delivery to the community which has been protesting for over six weeks.