New KZN Public Works and Infrastructure MEC hits the ground running

Issued by Hannah Winkler, MPL – DA KZN Legislature Deputy Whip
26 Jun 2024 in Press Statements

The DA in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) welcomes the appointment of one of its own Members, Martin Meyer, as MEC of Public Works and Infrastructure within the province’s newly formed government of unity.

The DA is ready to serve the people of KZN and MEC Meyer has hit the ground running since he was appointed a week ago.

One of MEC Meyer’s biggest challenges lies in the form of the construction mafia which continue to threaten not only lives but the provincial economy. In this regard, he has already issued a zero-tolerance warning and will be forming a task team to tackle the issue head-on.

Another departmental challenge is the non-payment of rates by KZN’s government-owned facilities. Last week, the MEC had to deal with this issue at several Msunduzi schools, where the municipality has a track-record of disconnecting lights and water under such circumstances. This took place at numerous schools during last years’ trial exam period, causing havoc.

It was however revealed that the primary account holder and entity responsible for such payments was in fact the Department of Public Works (DPW). Msunduzi, despite being aware of this, held the schools accountable.

Further investigation showed that while the municipality was enacting a measure of last resort by cutting utilities, it had not engaged with the department to resolve the outstanding payments through the Intergovernmental Forum (IGF) – a government mechanism for dialogue and resolution under such circumstances.

MEC Meyer through his swift action ensured the payment of outstanding rates by the DPW to Msunduzi, thereby avoiding the disconnection of school utilities.

Another priority for the MEC is the repurposing of under-utilised provincial government department buildings – including offices – and addressing infrastructure challenges within KZN’s schools, hospitals and clinics.

He will also be dealing with so-called bad buildings and vacant land and engage with the national Department of Public Works where they do not fall within provincial jurisdiction.

While the challenges within the department are massive, they can be overcome with strong political will. The DA has every expectation that under MEC Meyer, this is a department that will work for the people of KZN in rebuilding our province.