Franklin community denied basic services over R14 million stalled project

23 Sep 2021 in Press Statements

The Democratic Alliance in the Greater Kokstad Municipality is appalled by the conditions that the residents of the Franklin community are forced to live under as a result of the ANC government, which opted to build a R14 million Cultural Village Project that has not yielded any results instead of rehabilitating this community.

Despite the project being predominantly funded by COGTA, the municipality still had to commit a further R3,3 million for shared risk. This has unfortunately been the nature of ANC governance in Kokstad: Investment into aimless and non-essential projects at the expense of service delivery.

This project has obscured from its intended purpose to develop the town and create intended economic development opportunities for the community.

There are little to no services in most areas of the community, inadequate roads, no street lights, no stormwater drainage and increased illegal dumping due to poor refuse removal. The area is a ghost town with little or no economic activity.

The municipality had also budgeted R1 million for small-town rehabilitation in the previous financial year. We have seen no implementation or improvement of the town.

Residents who currently occupy housing, previously known as Transnet housing, are in desperate need of assistance and are calling on the municipality to make repairs to their homes that are falling apart due to the fact that they are forced to pay rent to the municipality.

This despite the Transnet housing not being transferred over to the municipality yet. Many of the tenants have alluded that the municipality had promised to make these repairs and ensure the decaying houses are repaired.

A joint MPAC and internal audit committee has since questioned the fact that the income for the housing is not being declared properly in the financials and has requested lease agreements for the properties as they are of the view that not all households are paying rent.

Over the shock of the series of events and engagements with the community, the DA had requested to meet with officials and seek clarity and answers as to why the Franklin community had been neglected to this extent and their basic rights being violated.

The DA in Kokstad will be writing to the Municipal Manager, requesting the following:

• A report on why the R1 million budgeted for small town rehabilitation had not been utilized for its intended purpose
• A report on the proposed planned development of Franklin, and what will be done to address the short-term service delivery needs of the community
• A report and investigation into the irregularities and alleged misconduct relating to the Transnet housing and;
• In addition, the DA will also request a report on what grounds and authority did the municipality collect rent from the tenants from inception of this clause.

The DA will not accept the fact that the ANC government continues to make people’s lives worse than ever before. The DA in Kokstad will appeal to the Ruling Party to ensure that various cost cutting measures are put in place to prioritise service delivery.

The 1st of November will afford the residents of Kokstad the opportunity to do away with a government that does not prioritize their needs and vote for a party that gets things done.