Small towns in Mpumalanga are seriously considering going to court to force the Govan Mbeki Municipality (GMM) and Lekwa Local Municipality (LCM) to provide electricity, water, and improve road infrastructure.
The local Ridge Times reports that a committee consisting of residents and local businesses people from both eMzinoni, Bethal and Milan Park, has been formed. The committee has been named as the Bethal and eMzinoni Community for Service Association.
The association has already begun the process of taking legal action against GMM.
“We all have the same goals in mind. We want to tackle our current situation and the years of lack of services. We feel Bethal is getting the short end of the stick from GMM,” Ziyaad Dangor, media spokesperson for the Bethal and eMzinoni Community for Service Association, told Ridge Times.
“Our electricity, sewage, and water systems are on the brink of collapse.”
MacRobert Attorneys, based in Pretoria, were instructed to commence with legal action against GMM.
However, this will be costly, especially once this matter reaches the High Court.
The Bethal and eMzinoni Community for Service Association believes this is the only legal route that can be taken.
— Yusuf Carrim (@wazarmoto) June 16, 2020
In the coldest of weather, people in the town of Bethal sit for hours and days without electricity.All because the Govan Mbeki Municipality owes Eskom R1.8 billion rand and Eskom is throttling the towns usage. Hear our voices. Make it stop. #GMMmustfall #SaveBethal #SaveEmzinoni
— Mary C (@Legend_Mary) June 16, 2020
— ░A░n░d░r░é░ (@AndreP1991) June 18, 2020
Benzi Soko, GMM spokesman, told the Ridge Times that electricity challenges affecting Bethal and eMzinoni are a cause for serious concern for the leadership and management of the GMM.
“The current administration has put in place clear plans to deal with this electricity situation that has been an elephant in the room for many years,” said Soko.
Soko claims the electricity issue is a historical problem that dates to the Apartheid era.
“It was the former Apartheid rulers who allocated the supply of electricity using racial spectacles with white areas receiving the huge chunk.
“To put this matter into a correct perspective, it should be frankly mentioned that the current electricity challenges are as a result of the legacy of the Apartheid system that’s infrastructural planning and allocation of resources was based on the policy of racial exclusivity and separate development.
“It is through these historical facts that the issue of the Notified Maximum Demand should be correctly located.”
Meanwhile, residents of Standerton town have formed PESTEL, a non-racial and apolitical committee to serve as a watchdog over LCM.
PESTEL told Kosmos newspaper that residents of Standerton have the right to receive electricity.
Eskom has to be paid for supplying electricity.
“Unfortunately, the middleman, LCM in this instance, must shape-up and keep both parties happy by supplying the residents with electricity and paying Eskom what is due,” said PESTEL.
According to PESTEL, the only way forward is to go the legal route and force the municipality to do its job.
“It will not only be the electricity problem that will receive attention, but the hazardous conditions of the roads, dirty water, and the lack of decent sanitation will also be addressed.”