Address by Mr LB Gaehler in the NCOP

Hon Chairperson and Honourable Members

The ruling party is failing the development agenda of municipalities at the expense of the poor rural masses of our people. The visit to the OR Tambo District has exposed this as a fact.

People of Port St Johns and Nyandeni had to take to the streets, in demand for the upgrading and maintenance of the roads which are in a devastating state. External and Internal connecting roads are in a state of constant decay with no sense of an urgent action from the ruling elite.

Some roads in the Ingquza Local Municipality remain unsurfaced, yet they were gazetted long time ago. There is absolutely no justification for the neglect of such an important infrastructure.

Water and sanitation infrastructure is under budgeted, with only R10 million for the management, painfully with no clarity on whether there is a plan and budget for the replacement and maintenance of the daily decaying infrastructure.

In some areas within the KSD and Nyandeni municipalities, poor rural people do not have access to basic human necessity, water. Greenville in Mthatha is a case in point, where water has been a scarce human necessity for more than four weeks.

Whilst the District Municipality lists as a success, the development of new towns and malls, town planning fails to address the historic spatial development challenges.

Much of the reported and planned development does not confirm existence of a spatial development plan seeking to redress the imbalances of the past.

Honourable Chairperson, the socio economic infrastructure of the majority of the rural municipalities, demands a special and dedicated attention.

In this regard, the United Democratic Movement proposes that a Special Rural Infrastructure backlog fund be created. The current Municipal Infrastructure Grant is either under budgeted and is not bias towards rural areas. Without this crucial intervention, developmental agenda in rural municipalities cannot be advanced.

Finally, the advancement of the municipal development agenda will not be realised as long as we have many of the Senior Municipal Managers like the Municipal Managers of the OR Tambo District, the Port St Johns and KSD local municipalities are in acting positions. Worse, in KSD local municipality this unbearable situation doubles up with an Acting Chief Financial Officer.

The Ruling party need to take the people of rural areas serious and treat them with respect, if the developmental agenda is to be advanced.

Thank you.