The Executive Major of the Sol Plaatje Municipality Mangaliso Matika called for the municipality to be preoccupied with the upgrading of its sluggish stormwater drainage system. Two men aged 42, Mr Kabelo “Spencer” Koloku and Mr Ashley Mogorosi of Galeshewe’s ward 5 in Kimberley, lost their lives amid past Sunday’s heavy downpour. Speaking to SolomonStar, a visibly shocked Mayor Matika, vowed to commit the municipality into “addressing backlogs in the upgrading and construction of previously neglected areas.”
“The two deaths must inspire the municipality to do more,” said Mayor Matika who also committed the municipality to assisting the bereaved families.
Mayor Matika also added that communities should take ownership of their infrastructure. “But I must say what has also contributed to these incidents, is the dumping of foreign objects into the canals and the vandalism of the bridges. We will have to join hands with our communities in ensuring we do everything to avoid a repeat of these incidents,” explained Mayor Matika in attributing some of the flooding within the long canal stretch to littering.
When squeezed by SolomonStar on whether the municipality has not been lackadaisical in responding to its menacing stormwater infrastructure, Municipal Manager Mr Goolam Akharwaray riposted; “The backlog in upgrading the below the floodline settlements is historical. And now we also dealing with usual rainfall that tends to occur once in 30 years.”
The former Northern Cape Finance MEC, Mr Akharwaray, who has been credited with unlocking the tight purse of National Treasury and in gaining its kind consideration towards funding the municipality’s aging infrastructure, explained that over R500 million has been acquired and that measures are been undertaken. “We had to conduct feasibility studies, leading to R500 million allocated for two years.”