Planned progress in Mokopane

MOKOPANE – The creation of a Marula processing plant at R7 million, the rehabilitation of Mokopane’s aged water infrastructure for R2,75 million, as well as the resurfacing of the town’s streets for R13 million, for which a contractor has already been appointed, are all part of the Mogalakwena Municipality’s plans for Mokopane.

This information was shared during the Mogalakwena Municipality’s roadshow on its plans for the current year as well as the next five years. During the past few weeks the municipality held various information sessions in the area where its IDP plans and budget have been put on the table.

Bosveld’s columnist, Corinus du Toit, was there and shares the following with our readers:

“Only 3,1% of the total budget of R1 377 489 908 will be used for maintenance, while 32% of the operating budget of R884 437 738 will go towards payment of salaries. However, this is still within the 34% maximum that Treasury apparently allows.

“Almost R160 million has already been spent on six projects in particular. What is worrying is that in most cases between 80% and 98% of the budgeted amounts have already been paid, but the physical work completed is only between 25% and 36%. The explanation for this was that payments reflect the current year only, but that percentage completed represents projects over its whole construction life. If that is the case, one can only wonder what some of these projects will have cost at time of completion.

“Multiple projects throughout Mogalakwena are already in process or in the planning stage. This should contribute to the expansion of water and electricity supply to the rural areas as a whole, which is to be welcome although the connection for electricity from Lephalale power stations is only expected in 2019. The moratorium on electricity interconnection with subdivision of erven has now been lifted, but for sewerage it will continue until at least the end of 2017 when the new sewage plant is expected to come into operation. The municipality also plans to replace the street lights in Thabo Mbeki, Nelson Mandela, Dudu Madisha and Retief Streets over its entire lenghts with LED lights at a cost of R6 million.

“An interesting item was the construction of a Marula processing plant for R7 million.

“Input from the audience was that Phalaborwa’s Amarula processing plant should be contacted with the view to establish a local marula collection point where people from the rural areas can drop off bags of marulas in harvesting season and Amarula can collect them in bulk. Until such time as the plant is actually constructed it can already serve as a source of income for rural residents.

“With corruption taking place at all levels of government, the residents of Mogalakwena can only hope that tenders already awarded and work in progress do not allow for improper enrichment of tenderpreneurs and kickbacks to well-placed people. As taxpayers do not have the option to view allocated tenders, it is not possible to determine whether all tenders actually offer value for money.

“An appeal has also been made to the municipality that at least one of the information sessions be conducted in English in future to allow everyone in the community the opportunity to participate at such meetings. It is currently mostly held in Pedi. This should also encourage more taxpayers to attend these meetings.”

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Charmaine Lourens

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