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FF Plus puts pressure on Mpumalanga government to intervene in Bethal service delivery crisis

A motion brought by the FF Plus to compel the Mpumalanga provincial government to immediately intervene at the Govan Mbeki Local Municipality (GMM) and ensure that the necessary services are provided to Bethal residents was unanimously adopted by the Legislature.

Apart from Bethal, the GMM also services the towns of Charl Cilliers, Embalenhle, Evander, Kinross, Leandra, Secunda and Trichardt.

At the moment, Bethal residents must endure a double dose of load shedding due to GMM's non-payment to Eskom. The Municipality itself is punishing residents with so-called load reduction. It often results in power outages of up to 36 hours on end, which also affect the town's water supply and garbage disposal services.

The GMM implemented load reduction in Bethal in 2019 already.

In 2020, the GMM was placed under administration in terms of Section 139 (5)(b) of the Constitution, which requires the provincial government to implement a recovery plan to ensure that the GMM has the ability to meet all its obligations towards residents.

Despite this, Bethal residents' circumstances have not improved at all, in fact, it is getting worse by the day.

This validates the FF Plus's view that the current system of mega-cities and local municipalities consisting of various towns must be reverted so as to bring local government back to local communities.

Last year, the FF Plus sent official letters to the then provincial MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Mandla Msibi, as well as the Municipal Demarcation Board, requesting them to re-define certain municipal borders in accordance with the Municipal Structures Act and Municipal Demarcation Act to re-establish Bethal as a smaller municipality.

It is unacceptable that Bethal's loyal taxpayers are being punished with constant power outages because the GMM is not performing its constitutional duties.

The FF Plus is, furthermore, also seriously concerned about the lack of clean, running water as residents have to comply with the relevant Covid-19 health and safety protocols. Dilapidated sewage infrastructure results in sewage spills that pose a health risk to humans and animals.

Although the FF Plus is pleased that the motion was unanimously adopted, the party is painfully aware of the various levels of government's apparent inability to execute turn-around strategies.

Thus, the FF Plus is calling on GMM residents to make sure that they are correctly registered as voters so that on the 27th of October this year, they can stand up and stand with the FF Plus to send a strong message to the ANC: Poor service delivery and the decline of municipalities must come to an end.

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