Dispute about work on new park continues

Construction of the recreational park on Stand 89 in Mooifontein has come to a sudden halt.

BURGERSFORT – Since the Greater Tubatse Municipality (GTM) started the construction of a recreational park on Stand 89 in Mooifontein, numerous disputes have arisen. Mooifontein residents were up in arms about it and political tension ensued between the Democratic Alliance (DA) and African National Congress (ANC). The development has come to a sudden halt.

The first dispute about the development occurred when Mooifontein residents said GTM had begun to construct the park without consulting homeowners in the area. A petition, started by one of the residents, was circulated in Mooifontein. It contained information about the project and demanded further particulars from the municipality. This was submitted to the municipality, but no response was received.

The second dispute started when the DA submitted an application to GTM to obtain copies of the environmental impact assessment.

“The Environmental Management Act requires that an assessment of the impact on the environment be made prior to a development taking place. That is why the DA has lodged an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to GTM to make copies of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) – if it was conducted – available to all those who are affected by the development,” said Mr Lethabile Kgwedi, DA councillor.

Kgwedi added that if all due processes were followed by the municipality, they could not see any reason why the development should not continue.

Mr Eddie Maile, an ANC member, strongly opposed the request made by the DA. He said the need for a recreational park had been clearly identified by communities in the Tubatse area.

“The construction of the park has created over 120 jobs for Tubatse residents and will ensure even more jobs as the development continuous. Mooifontein residents who have complaints about the development had an opportunity during the integrated development plan (IDP) meeting to raise their disputes,” said Maile.

A few weeks after the development turned into a political matter, the construction came to a sudden standstill, without any notice or explanation from GTM.

Kgwedi said that he was well aware of the sudden halt of the construction of the park and added that there could be no other reason than that the municipality had failed to follow due processes.

“This is my assumption about the sudden halt. The municipality handed the letter to the interim subregional leadership of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) and now they are using it as a tool against us, saying that we are against the employment of poor people in the community.

“This is really totally different from what we are seeking to achieve. What we need to know from the municipality is whether they followed every step of all processes to build such a very important project in such a fast- growing ward in the municipality,” added Kgwedi.

The municipality failed to respond to the request for copies of the environmental impact assessment.

Mr Thabiso Mokoena, spokesperson for GTM, said according to their knowledge the construction is continuing as scheduled and that they are not aware that the development had been halted.

  AUTHOR
Chané van der Merwe
Journalist

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