Council blames lack of funds for delay

Mvuyo Mati

Mvuyo Mati

The Buffalo City Municipality said it will cost it R660million to reconstruct the streets of Mdantsane in East London.

But the municipal spokesman, Mamkeli Ngam, said they were not ready to tar the roads because there was insufficient funding.

Many streets in Mdantsane, a township with a population estimated at 350000, are not tarred and many residents live in squatter camps.

Mdantsane's NU5 residents are now furious about the municipality's failure to tar their streets.

Residents blamed the local councillor, Temba Jida, for the delay in the development of the roads.

But Jida also said the reason was a lack of funds.

"We must wait for the funds. People must not think money is always available," he said.

But Jida could not commit himself to a time frame for the development of the roads.

Ngam defended the municipality and Jida, saying: "Nobody is to blame [for the untarred streets]."

He said the reconstruction of roads costs the municipality about R2million a kilometre.

"We are looking at innovative ways to upgrade the roads to reduce costs and keep standards at the same time," he said.

Ngam said the municipality was going to get funding from its coffers, and request further funds from the provincial government and from the European Union.

Mdantsane has a housing backlog of about 75 000 units.

According to Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), 35 percent of the economically active residents earned less than R1000 a month. The unemployment rate stands at 42 percent. Residents employed in the formal sector are estimated at about 13percent. The area lacks economic and social infrastructure, commonly associated with an urban area of its size.

Stats SA said 40 percent of the population was under the age of 15, accounting for the high level of dependency on adults.