AS per chapter 4 of the Local Government Municipal Systems Act municipalities must Development a culture of community participation and section 16 subsection 1 one of the same Act states that a “municipality must develop a culture of municipal governance that complements formal representative government with a system of participatory governance”, and must for this purpose encourage, and create conditions for, the local community to participate in the affairs of the municipality.

In keeping with the prescripts of the legislation, the Greater Kokstad Municipality has maintained its obligation of being accountable to its communities and recently successfully held the Integrated Development Programmes (IDP) Roadshows to engage with all communities to shape up its budget according to the challenges, concerns, and the needs of the people.

The Municipality held the IDP Roadshows at all ten wards of Kokstad where people raised different challenges. However, it was not only challenges that were raised during these meetings, but the community also appreciated the work done by the Municipality in their areas in terms of service delivery and improving their lives.

The burning issue that almost dominated in all the Roadshows was potholes/bad roads, crime and land to build houses.

The Greater Kokstad Municipality Mayor, Councillor MNL Madikizela dealt with the challenges saying “the municipality is dealing with all the challenges raised. We are currently busy appointing contractors to repair, resurface and rehabilitate our roads,” said Cllr Madikizela.

He added the issue of housing was also high on the priority list of the Municipality as they are working closely with the Department of Human Settlements to try and find ways to speed up the programme of providing houses for needy members of the communities.

“As we speak, we are planning to build another 1500 units of low cost houses because Kokstad is growing very fast with people immigrating into the town to look for greener pastures,” said Cllr Madikizela.

He said the issue of housing will never be dealt with in a blink of an eye as future business investments and infrastructural plans will invite more people who will come to look for jobs in Kokstad and that automatically increases the number of the population of the town and the Municipality will be under more pressure of building more houses for communities coming into town.

Cllr Madikizela said since South Africa is a democratic state, they cannot prevent people who are flocking into town from other provinces because they will be interfering with their right of movement, which is against the democratic principles.

“Instead, we should work harder and find resources that would meet the challenges we are facing and ensure that we serve every Kokstad resident without fail,” said Cllr Madikizela. The Greater Kokstad Municipal Manager, Mr Sipho Zwane has always been part of the Roadshows and gave inputs where needed.

He also appreciated and conveyed words of gratitude to Kokstad residents for always being part of municipal programmes.

The presence of Councillors as per their wards and ward committees to honour the IDP Roadshows was also acknowledged.