MECKLENBURG – Fetakgomo Tubatse Local Municipality (FTLM)’s mayor, Cllr Maudu Phokane, tabled R670 million for services in the 2017/18 financial year.
The amount is expected to increase to R720 million and R788 million for the medium-term revenue and expenditure framework (MTREF) period.
Phokane delivered his second State of the Local Municipality Address (Solma) at Ntoampe sports ground last Saturday.
The mayor said they are on the right path to improve the lives of the youth in FTLM.
“In January 2018 we established the interim youth council. It is worth noting that the interim youth council has taken part in activities that promote education and youth empowerment. This structure managed to unleash a programme of back-to-school campaigns. They were able to motivate learners to take education seriously.”
Phokane said the mayoral bursary aimed to assist government in its quest to make tertiary education free. He said the bursary’s intention is to assist deserving learners to pursue studies.
“For the 2017/18 financial year we have assisted 21 learners with bursaries to various tertiary institutions. The bursary will now include registration, tuition, accommodation, books and a monthly allowance of R500.
On the local economy, Phokane said they are still feeling the effects of the economic recession that hit the country last year.
“There were many workers who lost their jobs due to retrenchments, especially in the mining industry, and this has affected our economy negatively. As a local sphere of government, we rely heavily on grants to survive and our revenue base has diminished as a result of the bleeding.
“We are also proud that 40 small, medium and micro-enterprises (SMMEs) were appointed on a stormwater and road maintenance project for a period of three years. To date, an amount of R17 million has been paid to the local businesses.”
According to the mayor, they are striving to ensure locals get better service.
“The municipality has managed to revitalise irrigation schemes at Phiring and Maretlwaneng in Penge. We have provided fencing material covering a distance of nine kilometres at Phiring and provided four 1 000-litre Jojo tanks, two boreholes and a diesel generator for the Maretlwaneng irrigation schemes.”
Phokane also listed some of the projects that his municipality has managed to successfully complete. These included the Bothashoek internal road, Morokadieta access bridge and Mamogolo’s electrification.
He said projects such as the Leboeng access road, Lefahla access road, Tukakgomo internal streets and Praktiseer testing station upgrades will be completed before the end of the calendar year.
The mayor said FTLM is still in the process of appointing service providers for the Motodi sports complex, Mapodile sports complex, Praktiseer drainage system and Ohrigstad sports complex.
“In the past 12 months we had had many engagements with communities that are affected by the electricity project commonly known as Operation Mabone, so as to find ways of resolving it. The municipality took a decision to allocate R40 million from our own funds to complete the households that were left unfinished. Eskom has been engaged and they will be responsible for the completion of the work. In addition, an amount of R15 million will be allocated to the municipality to assist.”
He said Eskom has also allocated an amount of R41 million to electrify the following villages: Lerajane, Dresden, Malogeng, Ga Selala, Ga Riba, Ga Nkoana, Mashung, Strydkraal, Mosotse, Ga Selepe and Tjibeng. Phokane said they have appointed 40 SMMEs which are working with the main service provider to improve the state of local roads.
“As compared to other years, FTLM has made strides in making sure that major routes in our villages are taken care of in terms of re-gravelling and most are in a good condition.”
He also took time to comment on the VBS saga. Phokane revealed that he was unsure if the R230 million invested with the controversial VBS bank will be recovered.
“We can confirm that an amount of R230 million was invested with VBS Mutual Bank from November 10, 2016 to January 10, 2018. It is not clear at this stage whether the monies will be recovered, as FTLM has not received any form of communiqué either from the curator or the South African Reserve Bank on this matter.”
In his conclusion, Phokane applauded the administration for a sterling effort, having achieved a qualified audit opinion for the 2015/16 financial year.
“We have operated with two acting municipal managers (MM), Nonto Busane and Tumelo Ratau, until Busane was appointed permanently in March 2018. We would like to thank them for making FTLM to operate in an effective way and this shows the dedication they have to the institution.”