DESPITE the recently damaged road network infrastructure owing to the recent heavy rains due to global warming, the Greater Kokstad Municipality Mayor is not resting on his laurels as he has already set up his service delivery diary meant to tackle service delivery projects that are a threat to the town's economy and the community head on.

Part of the infrastructural projects topping the list of the agenda includes the roads, which need to be improved in Kokstad as the town is the economic hub of the Harry Gwala District, which also connects both KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape provinces, and is a gateway to the neighbouring country of Lesotho.

The Mayor, Councillor MNL Madikizela also confirmed this during an exclusive interview with GKM VOICE that the issue of roads damaged by the heavy rains and the outstanding roads projects are causing sleepless nights to the leadership of the Municipality, but they have already started handing over sites (see pictures) to the recently appointed contractors to start refurbishing the roads.

He added they will also be focussing on the cleanliness of the town, since it is the face of the district and services communities of both Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. 

Cllr Madikizela further vowed that they will ensure enough capacity is put in place in the Municipality's quest to ensure that the town of Kokstad and its neighbouring area is clean, to usher in the spin-offs of attracting new investments.

"We need to go back to the time when our town used to scoop awards for being one of the cleanest towns in the KwaZulu Natal," said Cllr Madikizela.

He added that the third challenge in his diary is to declare war on potholes in the Kokstad Central Business District (CBD), adding that this falls under road infrastructure maintenance. 

He however apologised for the delays in the rehabilitation of Hope Street as the contractor, Rorisang was supposed to have commenced with the upgrade of the road but technical processes by the Department of Transport were beyond the Municipality's control.

"We expect the contractor to be on-site very soon because the road is the face of the town used by motorists travelling from KwaZulu Natal to Eastern Cape and the neighbouring Drakensberg," he said.

However, the site handover and the introduction of the contractor for the revamp of Hawthorn Street has been undertaken, said the Mayor, adding that similar processes have been undertaken for the upgrade of identified roads in Ward 5 and Ward 8.

Cllr Madikizela also revealed that the R1 million donation, which was the prize money for the number of awards scooped by the Municipality has been redirected into refurbishing Wild Road.

He however said they will continue ensuring maintenance of other roads falling in the budget cycle earmarked for the next financial year.   

Back to School Campaign

The Mayor, Cllr Madikizela has sent commendations and congratulatory messages to those of the class of 2022 that performed in the matric examinations. The Mayor also encouraged those that did not do well to not despair but instead to keep on trying as education does not have an age limit.

He further quoted the words of the late political icon, Dr Nelson Mandela, who once said that: "Education is the most powerful weapon which one can use to change the world."

Cllr Madikizela added that a country that faces electricity and infrastructure challenges needs educated people for its betterment.

He added that they would continue visiting schools that will be identified by the office of the Youth Manager to assist where needed in terms of the clean-up campaigns, which is in line with ensuring the promotion of the preservation of the environment. 

Cllr Madikizela said they will be mainly focusing on disadvantaged schools and that there is also a programme of donating school uniforms and other related school items to the needy learners at these schools.

"No soft gloves on crime"

The Mayor, Cllr Madikizela put his head on the chopping block and stressed that over his dead body he would allow vagrants to take over and control his town through acts of criminality.

"In this case, we have partnered with private security companies to work hand in hand with us in ensuring a crime-free Kokstad", said Cllr Madikizela.

He said there would be regular patrols in hotspot areas to deal head-on with any criminal-related elements, to ensure that their mission of a safe environment is accomplished.

"We have partnered with the Department of Social Development to profile the vagrants but while profiling them, they will be sent back to their places of origin," said Mayor Cllr Madikizela.

He emphasised that in the process of chasing them away, they will not treat them with soft gloves...otherwise, Kokstad will be a den of iniquity as it appears that the town has become a haven for vagrants.  

"Surveillance cameras will be installed to ensure that everything is monitored in the town," he said.

Financial Viability  

Apart from the above-mentioned challenges, the Mayor of Kokstad, Cllr Madikizela, has revealed that the only way to defeat all the challenges is to ensure that their Municipality is financially viable.

"While we shall be dealing with the challenges mentioned above, we need to enhance our revenue collection to strengthen the capacity of our Municipality," said Cllr Madikizela

Moreover, he said the Municipality has not been recruiting general workers since 2016, meaning that the Municipality's capacity to deliver services is under strain.

He said they are also looking at improving the audit outcomes from the current unqualified audit opinion to a clean audit.