The Guard

The Truth On Board

‘Provide jobs, we’ll pay for services’

By Emily Setona

QWAQWA – Disgruntled residents of wards 32, 30 and 24 have dismissed the Maluti-a- Phofung’s (MAP) 2024/25 draft budget as bringing no tangible solutions to their problems.

This transpired at a community consultation meeting convened by municipal councillors and officials this week. The meeting was meant to solicit the communities’ inputs into the draft budget.
According to Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) Napo Letlala who is a member of the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) the municipality is unable to provide adequate services to the community because residents do not pay for their services.

“MAP is failing the community, and the community is also failing itself because people are not paying for services, therefore the municipality cannot provide proper services to its residents because residents are making it difficult to collect revenue that will assist with the smooth running of things. Rural communities are not paying for their services while a fraction of those who live in the urban areas reluctantly pay for their services because they feel like they are being cheated by the municipality,” Letlala to the meeting.

The angry audience retorted that they do not have jobs that’s why they cannot afford to pay for their services and, besides, they feel like their wards do not receive any service delivery at all.

One of the residents, Samuel Moloi said: “As long as we do not have jobs, we will not pay for services that we do not even get. During the time of TK Mopeli our people were employed, and everyone had dignity. This municipality expects us to pay for services, but how will we do that when we do not work. The municipality is really disappointing us with this poor service delivery and always coming to us for these futile engagements. Give the people jobs then the community will volunteer to pay for their services willingly without any pressure from the municipality.”

Another resident, Mofokeng Moji, shared these sentiments, stating that this municipality is toying with people and not offering any solutions to their problems, instead talking about the same issues repeatedly.

“We had a meeting in Lusaka where the mayor was there, and we gave our inputs regarding the budget, but it seems like our words fall on deaf ears. Someone also mentioned that our communities don’t even appear as beneficiaries of the service delivery projects outlined in this draft budget. We are still complaining about service delivery when it comes to water and electricity, and we don’t even have any jobs. How do we pay for services that we don’t even get, and with what income?” Moji asked.

In response, water and sanitation MMC Alan Mofokeng said the municipality is like a business and if the community does not pay for service delivery, the municipality cannot provide adequate service delivery.

Water and sanitation Maluti-a-Phofung local municipality MMC Alan Mofokeng engaging with residents during IDP roadshow in Qholaqhwe.

“Those who cannot afford to pay for services must register for the indigent list. If a household makes R4200 or less every month those people must register as indigents so that the municipality can be aware that your household cannot afford to pay for services.”

Some of the challenges faced by the municipality were stated on the 2024/25 draft budget with possible remedial actions. The primary challenge mentioned by members of the community is the inability of customers to pay for services due to the rising high unemployment rate, increasing interest rates and inflation.