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Lights on a shoestring

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Only a few Christmas lights have been put up in Phakamile Mabija Street for the festive season.

CHRISTMAS will be celebrated in the city on a shoestring budget this year, where only a few Christmas lights have been put up in Phakamile Mabija Street for the festive season.

Council did however spend R1.3 million on paving the intersection at the library and Sol Plaatje Municipality, on the corner of Chapel and Eureka streets, where the road was closed for a few weeks and traffic had to be diverted.

The municipality sent out a notice regarding the last council meeting that will be held for the year tomorrow at 10am, for a business presentation and discussion on the cash flow status, as many officials are about to embark on their holidays.

Concerns have been raised regarding the ability of the municipality to pay salaries this month.

Spokesperson for Sol Plaatje Municipality, Thoko Riet, stated that the paving that was completed at the intersection was approximately 2 500 square metres and cost about R1.3 million.

“We used a high-strength 35 Mpa brick that is 80mm thick,” said Riet.

She explained that due to heavy-duty traffic the road surface was damaged, which posed a risk of injury to road users.

“Heavy-duty vehicles deformed the road surface, which was starting to cause damage to light motor vehicles. The rutting and heaving of the road was beyond the capability of a normal light vehicle and would have resulted in damages and claims made against the municipality.”

Riet said that a “limited” amount of Christmas lights would be put up this year due to “overtime management”.

“It is difficult to work during normal working hours.”

She added that municipal employees were accustomed to celebrating the annual year-end function without any subsidy from the employer, for the past three years, as part of cost-saving measures.

The last council meeting that was supposed to have been held on December 3, to present the motion of no confidence in Sol Plaatje executive mayor Patrick Mabilo, was cancelled on the afternoon of December 2.

Some ANC councillors are convinced that “the mayor should go”, although it is not certain if the motion of no confidence will be discussed at tomorrow’s council meeting.