RESIDENTS of Ezibeleni are crying foul over the condition of internal roads and frequent power and water cuts with both the Enoch Mgijima Municipality and the Chris Hani District Municipality speaking of challenges in the area.
In the past few weeks, The Rep has been inundated with complaints over the challenges which residents say have become part of their daily routine.
Gabula Zingitwa said the condition of the roads and municipal services had deteriorated over the years.
“We did not have these problems before. Now all we see is poor service delivery. The power and water cuts are a big problem. There is no water and electricity, sometimes for whole days, and the roads are full of potholes. The municipality’s negligence is affecting a lot of people financially. People do not bath. We can’t even iron our clothes and then end up not looking presentable at work,” he said.
His words were echoed by Thembalethu Badine who said it had become worse over the past four months.
“I came back from Cape Town to Komani and I was sad to see the services here. It is a daily problem and has been going on for months. People have resorted to storing water in containers. We can’t flush toilets,” Zingitwa said.
“The roads are another issue. There are no road markings and this causes accidents.”
He said residents were becoming tired of empty promises.
“Before the local government elections we were told the roads would be fixed. The street lights are not functioning properly. One week they work and the next they don’t and that leads to crime. There are many people who contribute to the economy of Komani who live in Ezibeleni but it seems it is the most neglected place. That is why skilled people leave our town.”
Lindiwe Nojekwa, of Isolomzi Butchery, said businesses had been badly affected. “The water and electricity issue is a headache. The power goes off for the whole day. The municipality must come up with a plan to make sure water and electricity are always available. When there is no electricity, thieves know alarm systems do not work – we do not sleep for fear of being robbed. Sometimes they inform us that the electricity will be off and other times it goes off without notice.”
Taxi driver Sello Molefe said driving on Ezibeleni roads was “excruciating”.
“I changed my tyre on Monday and twice in the past month. All the roads are in a bad condition. There are some young men who try to fill the potholes with sand, but the rain comes and washes that all away.”
Most taxi drivers avoided trips to a certain section of Unathi Mkefa.
“That area is the worst. They must really fix the road because we use it daily. We buy new taxis and within two years, they are ruined.”
Enoch Mgijima spokesman Fundile Feketshane said the community had been informed of Sunday’s power cut as Eskom was doing maintenance. Notices were distributed to all communities and the outage was broadcast on Lukhanji FM.
The Rep reported on Monday that a subsequent power outage in Ezibeleni was due to power cables that exploded after the electricity was switched back on.
“The municipality recently erected some high mast lights in some areas and there is a paving project taking place. Ablution facilities and halls in other areas of Ezibeleni have been constructed,” Feketshane said.
“We must state unequivocally that the financial resources available are not enough to satisfy all the needs of the people, hence projects are done on a yearly basis.
“The municipality is committed to providing quality and sustainable services through its IDP and budget and we call upon our people to engage in ward meetings and other progressive forums so that they can understand the development trajectory.”
Chris Hani District Municipality communications manager Thobeka Mqamelo said all areas of Komani were affected by the water cuts.
“This is due to water shortage which results from the rampant drought conditions. High-lying areas, such as parts of Ezibeleni, are hit the worst as they are the first to experience water outages – either due to the effects of the scheduled cuts or due to depleted sources resulting from the supply that cannot supply demand. The flow from Waterdown Dam, our current source of supply, is insufficient to maintain full capacity of all the reservoirs in Komani which are standing at below 15% levels.”
She said the situation was further compounded by an unstable electricity supply in the Ezibeleni area which affected the pumping of water to households.
“As soon as pumping ceases, reservoirs run empty with nothing coming in. To counter the negative effect of constant power outages, the municipality is in the process of sourcing a stand-by power supply that will take over as soon as electricity goes out. We regret this state of affairs and we are working on improving the situation.”