The Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) mayor, Wongama Gela, is engaging with several stakeholders to learn about various matters they need addressed at the State the of District Address (Soda) set for Wednesday.
Gela had indicated the pre-Soda engagements were pertinent for him to ensure matters that arose from the stakeholder meetings were considered and possibly responded to at the Soda.
The mayor first met with contractors who had submitted a petition last month indicating their grievances in the tender system of the district municipality.
CHDM interim contractors’ forum secretary, Dumentlango Bolana, said there was no upliftment of local contractors; instead tenders were awarded to businesses from outside the district.
“Local businesses are deliberately excluded when the bidding has been advertised and will require high grading which most businesses here do not have. An ordinary sanitation project that requires a VIP toilet which the manufacturer has already built and only needs to assembled, would require a grade 7 or 8. A project like this does not even require that much technicality, but because the main aim is for the benefit of a certain business, we would be systematically excluded.”
Bolana said one of the requirements for one to be awarded a water project was to have done five similar projects in the past five years.
“How will we get that experience when we are not awarded the projects in the first place? We are happy about the 30% sub-contracting for locals, it will assist us in making money and give smaller businesses the experience they need.”
On Tuesday, Gela met with various youth formations in the district including the South African Youth Council (SAYC) which asked for a R10m injection for youth development.
SAYC regional secretary Lusanda Mahashe said the district municipality also needed to fast track the establishment of the National Youth development Agency (NYDA) offices which they were promised a long time ago.
“Young people in business are suffering. We cannot expect the special programmes unit in the municipality to cater to all young people ‘s needs. There are many of us and the unit does not have the capacity to deal with all our needs and demands.”
Mahashe said the district municipality should have an exit plan for interns as they often sat at home after their time ended, which contributed to the existing unemployment scourge.
“The CHDM staff contingent should consist of 30% young people to ensure skills transfer and give them the experience that is usually required in job offers.”
SAYC regional chairman Ngobe Lali emphasised the need to develop the district’s economy by delving into agricultural projects and exploit the coal mines that exist.
“There are no initiatives or show of interest from the municipality to make the coal mines sources of income which will circulate in the district and ultimately grow our economy.”
CHDM portfolio head for integrated planning and economic development, Sibongile Mbotshane, said the office of the mayor would not respond to all issues raised because most of them had to be directed to relevant offices.
“However, some of the issues raised will be discussed at the Soda which was the whole purpose of this meeting. To listen to the stakeholders and improve where we have lacked, show support where it is needed and give the necessary attention to youth development.”