Council proves its critics wrong with huge budget

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

Having started with a mere R3million budget in 2001, the Greater Sekhukhune district municipality (GSDM) has announced a massive R803million budget for the 2008-2009 financial year.

This is a growth of 229,5percent. The municipality was established in 2001 after the disbandment of the transitional local councils, and executive mayor Namane Dickson Masemola said they were going places.

"When we started seven years ago many doubts were cast about whether we would be able to sustain the municipality with such limited funds.

"But we managed to make our detractors eat humble pie and performed beyond all expectations," said Masemola at a media briefing in Polokwane yesterday.

He said they were working round the clock to change the perception that Sekhukhune was a poverty-stricken node and were making huge efforts to uplift the lives of the communities.

"Today we are operating on a sound budget of R803million.

"This is an indication that as a municipality, which cares for its people, we are also equal to the task of making sure that we deliver proper services to our people," he said.

GSDM was voted the best municipality in terms of communicating its activities to the communities it serves in the whole country last year.

Masemola said of the budget, R509million would go towards infrastructure development in the district, R253million towards provision of water, R63milion on sanitation, R68million on roads and storm water, R7,6million on community buildings, and R50million would be spent on electricity supply.

He said they would electrify at least 26 villages in the current financial year.

The other money has been budgeted for a farming support project, promotion of cultural tourism, fire and emergency stations, a poverty relief fund, a customer satisfaction survey and the geographic name-change process.