Home News LOOK: ‘We need solutions, not empty promises’

LOOK: ‘We need solutions, not empty promises’

535
SHARE

The residents, amongst other complaints, are upset about the lack of job opportunities for the youth in the area, electrification and the paving project which is supposed to start soon.

Frustrated residents of Jacksonville and Lerato Park. Picture: Danie van der Lith

“We need solutions, not empty promises spoken in sweet English.”

This was the demand made by residents of Jacksonville and Lerato Park during a meeting with Sol Plaatje executive mayor Patrick Mabilo yesterday.

Residents from the two areas gathered at the Roodepan police station yesterday.

This is after Mabilo and residents had scheduled a follow-up meeting for yesterday for feedback on a memorandum regarding the resident’s grievances.

The angry residents then headed to the construction sites for projects in the area after Mabilo was a no-show.

“This meeting was scheduled by the mayor himself … he is the one who said we must meet on this date. He has again shown us that he has no regard for our challenges. We have been putting our personal matters aside to attend this meeting, but now he is the one who does not attend his own meeting,” the frustrated residents said.

Mabilo eventually arrived a few hours later and indicated that he had another commitment.

The residents, amongst other complaints, are upset about the lack of job opportunities for the youth in the area, electrification and the paving project which is supposed to start soon.

“There was R144 million allocated for projects in the area. R8 million was allocated for paving the streets in Jacksonville. What happened to the money? The community is dissatisfied, because as much as we want the roads to be paved, we need all roads in the area to be paved,” the residents said.

They also accused the councillor of being “selective” on who gets employed on the projects and are upset that people from outside the city are employed on the projects.

“The councillor said that only 15 people will be hired for one street that will be paved. We have so many young people living in the area who are without jobs, yet people who are not from Kimberley are being hired in positions. How come we are constantly overlooked when it comes to matters that would benefit the community?” they asked.

Residents from Lerato Park added that they were dissatisfied with the electrification project that will be launched in the area today.

“We have received many dates for the electrification of Lerato Park and we now heard that it will finally happen. However, we were informed that 100 people will be provided with electricity. Everyone needs to be provided with electricity, not just some people need to be provided with services. How long will the other residents have to wait for electricity … since the matter has been dragging on for many years?”

The residents have also called for a breakdown of the budget for the projects in the two areas.

“We need a budget breakdown of the R144 million for both Lerato Park and Jacksonville. We need to know what is being spent where and when. The processes need to be transparent.”

The angry residents turned down an invitation to address their grievances at a meeting with Northern Cape Premier Dr Zamani Saul.

“We have wasted a lot of taxi fare to go to the Office of the Premier and to the municipality to relay our problems. Nobody gave us any time to hear our problems and we had to go back and forth.

“The councillor had the power to engage the mayor and the premier but he just chose not to make use of his powers.

“We have now heard that the premier wants to meet with us and we have to elect a delegation to represent us. We have elected representatives in the past and our problems have never been addressed. We are now invited to come talk to the premier … after they heard that we will close the roads.

“There is tax money being paid in order for state officials to be transported in state vehicles. What needs to happen now, is that the premier and the mayor must come to us when they want to address us. We will not go to the premier, he can come to us.”

Mabilo indicated that some of the residents’ complaints will require time to resolve.

“We need to be solution driven. We will be able to solve some problems immediately, however, there are some problems that are mid and long-term. We will not be able to solve the long-term challenges now. There are procedures that need to be followed when addressing long-term challenges,” said Mabilo.

He urged residents to allow the projects to continue.

He also pointed out that he had no hand in the allocation of jobs on the projects.

“The paving project needs to continue and that process needs to be transparent,” said Mabilo.

“All the problems of Jacksonville are packaged and need to be addressed in phases. We understand that there are challenges of unemployment in Jacksonville. We know that there are no learnerships or Setas to assist the youth. We acknowledge that, however, I am not involved in the hiring of people.

“There are rumours that the councillor is hiring people for the projects and that is false. Residents who have evidence of that happening need to step forward with that evidence in order for the matter to be resolved.”

Mabilo also pointed out that the municipality has made great strides towards the electrification of Lerato park.

“We will be launching the Lerato Park electrification programme, which will provide people with electricity. There are lots of problems in Lerato Park but the challenge of electricity is being addressed.

“We need the support of the community to work in partnership with the council in order for us to address these challenges.”

Mabilo promised to return to Jacksonville when the paving project is launched.