Cllr Florence Radzilani addresses the crowd at the University of Venda stadium.
The executive mayor of the Vhembe District Municipality (VDM), Cllr Florence Radzilani, said her administration was committed to service delivery to her communities, in spite of “inheriting” a municipality some three years ago where most systems had virtually collapsed.
“For well-known reasons, Vhembe District was classified under the category of dysfunctional municipalities because of a number of challenges that were allowed to drag this municipality down. We have today, as we are speaking, turned around the corner in rebuilding the municipality,” said Radzilani.
According to Radzilani, some of the major challenges that affected the VDM in the past include poor spending of conditional grants for the year 2015/16 financial year and the non-functionality of governance structures. Several critical posts were not filled and, to make matters worse, the municipality received a disclaimer from the auditor-general. “However, these have been corrected,” she said.
Radzilani told a large group of people, which included mayors and traditional leaders, that the budget for the new financial year totalled R1,6 billion. She said that the district was providing services in the Vuwani area as part of the agreement entered between former Pres Jacob Zuma and Vhavenda King Toni Mphephu Ramabulana last year.
“We have set side aside more than R556 million for water challenges as we are the Water Services Authority, and we urge traditional leaders to help us with the delivery of water services. We were worried when some traditional leaders continued to stop water projects and demanded money from service providers,” she added.
Radzilani said among the projects that were affected by these challenges were the bulk pipeline from Vuwani to the Middle Letaba system, the Malonga water reticulation project, the Xikundu/Mhinga Bulk Water Supply project and the Vuwani-to-Vyeboom Water Supply project. She urged traditional leaders and communities to put aside their differences in order to find win-win solutions whereby the bottlenecks in the affected areas could be addressed.
“We are proud to announce that water shortages will be a thing of the past in some areas as there are some water projects standing at 90-100% completion,” she said. She mentioned that the bulk line from NN20B to Muraga via Mangondi was 100% completed, the Makonde water reticulation project was up and running and the refurbishment of maturation ponds at Biaba was 100% completed. The construction of the bulk pipeline from Vuwani to the Middle Letaba system was 96% complete, the Mulima, Likhade, Laambani and Pfananani Water Supply project stood at 98% and the Luphephe/Nwanedi-Masisi project was 99% finished, she said.