CERES: The executive mayor of Polokwane municipality, her worship Cllr Thembi Nkadimeng, invited residents of the formerly Aganang Local Municipality (ALM) to the Ceres community hall for a meet and greet Imbizo. The event was attended by not less than 450 community members as stakeholders and together with the representative in attempts of being heard by the executive mayor.
This was the first meeting between the residents and elected officials post the August 03rd local government elections that saw the decision by the Municipal Demarcation Board to rezone the area come into play and saw ALM falling to (according to how you look at it) the grace or misfortune of the Board’s decision.
Fourteen (14) of the former nineteen (19) ALM wards have been incorporated into Polokwane Municipality, resulting in Polokwane having 45 wards from the initial 38. According to the report tabled at the Imbizo, all former ALM employees have been absorbed without anyone losing employment. 60% were absorbed by Polokwane municipality with Molemole Local Municipality and Blouberg Municipality getting 20% each of the remaining 40%.
“We have called this meeting so that you and I can know each other. We have received hand-over reports from the former mayor of Aganang, Cllr Mokobodi and have seen a glimpse of the picture. But, a report is a piece of paper. It does not offer the complete picture. That is why we are here, accompanied by different departments to hear from you in a face-to-face physical encounter. Welcome to Polokwane”, so said Thembi in her opening address to the stakeholders. The stakeholders comprised of representatives from the traditional councils, business community, women, disability forum, youth, the elderly, taxi associations and the sporting council.
Beatrice Letswalo, a representative for the women, asked the community to unite against violence and abuse and from the council, she asked support in this regard. “Women, there is no one who will step in to save us. The only people who can help us is those who truly understand our struggles – ourselves! Therefore, let us form support groups and have a unified voice to fight against the ills we experience daily”. Letswalo further mentioned a not so known abusive and violent behaviour where men violently claim social security grant meant for kids from their partners and kids’ mothers. “The fathers of our children wait for us in our homes and at corners and take away grant money meant for kids, telling us that the kids’ are theirs too. I want to say to my sisters who are experiencing this, please report the brother”, she added.
David Mokololo of the business community asked that the municipality support local businesses. “As local government, you are doing a commendable job in supporting struggling families with food parcels. However, we say to you, buy your supplies from our local businesses and help grow the rural economy”, David said.
When responding to the different stakeholders’ requests, Thembi made it clear that she won’t be promising things she had no capacity of delivering. She mentioned projects that are outside her office and administration’s jurisdictions. These were projects like ‘D – and R – roads’, the provision of extra ambulances, the extension of health care facility working hours, and the improvements of schools. “I will not be able to allocate funds to these issues. As local government, we are only the implementing agents. However, I commit to relaying your issues and concerns to the relevant departments in the provincial government”, Thembi said.