After the “surprise” resignation of the municipal manager for the Ba-Phalaborwa Municipality on the last day of December last year, the mayor, Merriam Malatji promised that essential service delivery would continue exactly as it did before.
It appears the mayor’s statement was on point, as the sewerage still flows through the streets of the once beautiful town, exactly as it did in the time before Maite Moakamela resigned.
The Municipality offered no explanation for Moakamela’s resignation but was quick to publish the news of the appointment of Dr Kgoshi Lucas Pilusa as acting municipal manager in her place. Pilusa will be acting for three months until March and the position has since been advertised.
Shockingly, mayor Malatji stated over social media that Moakamela left the municipality in “good shape” and even went as far as thanking her for her “incomparable contribution” saying that the council had “learnt so much from her work ethics, administrative and managerial skills.”
This statement caused a volley of comments from the residents who felt insulted by the bold statement, especially after they (the residents) have had to cleanup the town themselves and even patch the many potholes at their own cost.
In fact, two residents have made the headlines many times for selflessly doing the municipality’s work without payment or even a thank you from the council.
Marietjie Maré established a cleanup team which has been cleaning the sidewalks, walk ways and gardens around Phalaborwa’s entrances and CBD for the last three years while a young man by the name of Clifford Tumelo and his team were featured on national television for the potholes they have been repairing since 2020.
At the time of going to print yesterday afternoon, at least seven streets including, Park Street, Nollie Bosman, Frans du Toit, and Acacia Avenue, were flooded with sewerage. Those who live in these streets have been complaining about the sewerage for more than a year and nothing has been done to rectify the situation.
The municipality claimed they could not access the manholes because of the heavy foliage which resulted in the drastic measure of completely bulldozing entire sections of bush, leaving neighbourhoods resembling deserts.
The exaggerated bush clearings helped as the manholes were easily accessible and teams did unblock the system on a few occasions, but because of a lack of proper maintenance on behalf of the municipality, those areas are once again so overgrown, the manhole are no longer visible. And this was during the time of Moakamela.
Residents have dug trenches next to their homes for the sewage to flow out of their yard, and Bulletin reported a few times on the school for special needs children, Frangipani, which had to close its doors because of sewerage flooding into the building. That’s how good the essential service delivery was, and currently is.
The ward councilor, Sybrandt de Beer, said that he has also tried to get assistance from the municipality, but with no luck. As things stand, the municipality still has the Hawks investigation into alleged tender fraud hanging over their heads and it does not appear as though anything related to service delivery will be rectified anytime soon.