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Saul renews promises to fix city

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Saul stated that the Development Bank of Southern Africa would be approached for funding to upgrade bulk infrastructure services

ANC PROVINCIAL chairperson Zamani Saul renewed promises to fix potholes, overflowing sewers and burst water pipes in the city at the party’s Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) lekgotla yesterday.

Saul noted that Kimberley is the “only capital city in the country” that is riddled with so many potholes.

“A tar road in Colville is like a gravel road. We need to go on the offensive and raise capital through government and the Sol Plaatje Municipality. However, we will not be able to do this if our councillors and mayors are not focused. Communities are becoming agitated at deployees who are becoming embroiled in fights,” said Saul.

He added that Magareng Local Municipality had been left leaderless due to infighting.

“The community wanted the mayor and councillor to be removed. These people ran away, creating a vacuum that was taken over by community leaders who are not prepared to listen to anybody. This problem is of our own making.”

Saul pointed out that the Sol Plaatje region was heading for a similar disaster.

“The ANC in the Sol Plaatje municipal district is submitting an application for another shutdown. When this happens these applicants will be nowhere to be found. We will be the ones who have to confront the community and put out the fires. We need to change this by focusing on the basics.”

Saul stated that the Development Bank of Southern Africa would be approached for funding to upgrade bulk infrastructure services.

“The bulk infrastructure in Kimberley was last improved in 1967 to accommodate a maximum of 20 000 people. Since then we have connected an additional 60 000 households to the system. The system was not designed to incorporate the additional pressure as a result of the construction of new hospitals and the university as well as informal settlements that have been placed on the grid. This has resulted in sewage that is running into people’s yards and burst water pipes. Up until we have upgraded bulk infrastructure, we will not be able to grow the local economy.”

Saul advised party members that the ANC would face tough local government elections next year if it did not improve service delivery and fix the rot at municipalities.

“We need to re-orientate ourselves and provide services to people without having hidden agendas. Civil servants and politicians must not feel that they are entitled by their positions. None of us would under normal conditions be able to earn the salaries we do if we had not been deployed by the ANC. Yet officials still see fit to steal from the public purse or look for loopholes in government projects to see how they can benefit. This must come to an end.”

Saul pointed out that while “free” tertiary education came with a price tag of R36 billion, government could not afford not to fund students at institutions of higher learning.

“During the fees must fall protests, students rightly pointed out that officials had stolen hundreds of billions of rand and they did not accept the argument that government did not have the money to fund free tertiary studies. The majority of the population are youths, who are a much more enlightened generation. We need to address the high unemployment rate, especially among youths.”