During the NECCTA (Nkomazi East Combined Commerce and Tourism Association) meeting, held on the 30th May 2013, the Chief Operational Officer of Nkomazi Municipality, Mr. Vincent Bhiya, attended the meeting on behalf of the Municipal Manager (who could not attend the meeting). It proved to be a very useful meeting, as the business people and hospitality product owners present in the meeting had the opportunity to directly express the town’s concerns regarding the water and electricity challenges to municipality, on the right level, exceeding the level where that had been entertained in the past. This time the message most definitely was properly noted, and a commitment was made by municipality that NECCTA would receive feedback on these matters. Mr. Bhiya took note of what has been published the Corridor Gazette, frustrations that exist for numerous years, by now, and need municipal input. The meeting was well attended also by those in private sector who in the past came to the rescue of the town, when municipality could not. They include amongst others FW Besproeiing, Lowveld Electric, and more. It was emphasized by the convener, Jan Engelbrecht, that the Komatipoort town prefers to be seen as working in close relationship with municipality as partners addressing the municipal and infrastructural challenges. By now frustrations however mounted as a consequence of the lack of participation by municipality, on management level in these matters. This is amazing in a contexts where municipality does all that is required on all other levels, but seem to disregard only this one particular yet crucial aspect, which could only be solved, on a management level. Jan Engelbrecht conveyed to the Chief Operational Officer rumors have it that municipality had enough money in their capital budget for payment towards Escom, to pay over to Escom, as a deposit, to receive 1 MVA more electricity supply, yet that money has never been paid, or disappeared, and Komatipoort is still with too little electricity bulk supply! Discussions NECCTA had with Escom indicated that Escom has the means available but is waiting for municipality to do their part. Komatipoort suffers severely, on business level, and on private level. The consequence of too little electricity, firstly manifests in brown-outs and black – outs, then subsequently / consequently in lack of water supply, and (as a result of the sewer system linked directly to the water provision), in sewer manifestations. These matters could not be sustained nor resolved by residents and tax payers, other than tax withholding.
The simple solutions, requested by Neccta in the past, were repeated:
· Fulfill the commitment with Escom and do receive an additional 1 MVA of electricity in service of the electricity needs of the town.
· Obtain a backup generator for the water supply.
· Ensure proper maintenance of the water provision network.
· Replace the feeding pipes in between the pumps river, the water purification site, and the water tower.
· In the best interest of especially of the inhabitants of Orlando / Pholana, kindly do properly treat the Komatipoort water, unfit for human consumption.
The Chief Operational Officer took the message home. NECCTA expects a meeting, in the week of 24-28 June, else early July, well attended definitely by the Municipal Manager himself, the Head of Infrastructure, the Chief Operational Officer (again) and probably the head of planning department, in a comprehensive planning process, that will certainly elevate the crisis and bring Komatipoort to that state begged for by, NECCTA, over the past 9 years.
NECCTA and the Komatipoort business representatives and business product owners, who attended the meeting, are confidant Mr. Bhiya will bring the requested delegation to the table to take the matter further. Jan Engelbrecht, convener of NECCTA, promises NECCTA will inform the community of what transpires.