Economic strategy for future: EMLM aims to tighten up bylaws, boost revenue collection

PLANNING AHEAD: Sibusiso Mvana, the portfolio head of Integrated Planning and Economic Development at Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality Picture: ABONGILE SOLUNDWANA

Enoch Mgijima Local municipality (EMLM) launched its local Economic Development (LED) strategy document last Wednesday.

Integrated Planning Economic Development (Iped) portfolio head Sibusiso Mvana said since Encoch Mgijima had been declared an economic hub, the LED strategy had to be reviewed to suit the region.

Iped consists of three units, namely LED, the Performance Management System and the Integrated Development Plan.

However, due to EMLM’s financial position, the Chris Hani District municipality agreed to fund the strategy’s implementation.

Mvana said: “Ward councillors and community development workers were consulted as relevant stakeholders as they were responsible for bringing programmes to community members, who they also engaged with concerning matters affecting them.”

He added that the strategy would be achieved in phases.

Mvana said the lack of a strategy had caused problems, such as hawkers and hardware stores operating in Cathcart Road.

“The by-laws of the municipality do not allow hardware stores in the CBD, but because there is no policy on paper it easily happens,” Mvana said.

The new strategy also aims to turn the Ezibeleni Industrial Park into an agriculture-focused zone.

“We have land, a national road and a railway line.

“These tools will lead EMLM to realise its potential.

“But the lack of strategy has caused businesses like funeral parlours to operate in Queendustria, contrary to the industries we want to invest in,” he said.

Mvana said the strategy would guide the type of businesses required, and the economic contribution they would bring.

Above all, the strategy’s chief objective was to boost revenue collection for the municipality.

“There are a number of areas in which EMLM revenue collection systems have been affected.

“One includes the CBD centre where there are no parking meters or attendants.

“People wear reflector vests and collect money for themselves that should be going to the municipality.”

He said the strategy would also address the debt increase to Eskom and adopt effective ways to mitigate the high rate of electricity theft, by introducing prepaid meter boxes.

Mvana said EMLM sites in Whittlesea, Hofmeyr, Molteno, Ezibeleni and Machibini would have to play their part in assisting the municipality and vice versa.

Reskilling the unemployed youth and mega projects that could sustain EMLM for generations, also formed part of the strategy.

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