It has been a very challenging year for all, including municipalities who are basically responsible for service delivery on a 24-hour basis and seven days a week.
Due to lockdown, in many cases service delivery did become very challenging for municipalities causing inevitable service delivery backlogs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But the Drakenstein Municipality (DM) continued delivering essential services during the national lockdown with many of their staff working from home, DM is only experiencing significant service delivery backlogs due to the lockdown in a few areas:
Road maintenance: As this work was not regarded essential during the lockdown, substantial backlogs arose in terms of fixing potholes as well as where road surfaces had to be reinstated after repairing other services. This backlog should be resolved within three months.
Water, wastewater and sanitation: As these services were classified essential, no major backlogs were created.
Refuse collection and recycling: There are no backlogs in respect of refuse collection or recycling due to the lockdown.
Electricity: There are no backlogs regarding service delivery or new connections due to the lockdown.
Maintenance of municipal properties, including grass cutting and weed control: The lockdown created a major backlog in this area, specifically with regards to Drakenstein’s open areas. The good winter rains also further contributed to the growth of the grass. The Municipality is currently following a well-structured grass-cutting and weed control programme to deal with this backlog.
Grass-cutting and weed control work at all parks, open areas and cemeteries should be completed by 18 December. Overgrown privately owned erven remain a challenge however, as some owners live abroad and are difficult to trace while others neglect to clean their properties.
Processing of transactions: Processing of transactions: There are no service delivery backlogs in building plan and land use applications due to the lockdown, as these divisions did not shut down during the lockdown.
Riana Geldenhuys, Communications Manager of DM said that this is largely due to the following:. We use off-site portals for all practitioners to upload their applications remotely. As a result they are not required to come into our offices at all. Where meetings were required these were done remotely.. Staff were able to take their tools of trade home and operate remotely to ensure that all applications which were submitted, were processed on time. . The biggest challenge was that the Post Office could not deliver the registered notifications of the land use applications and in this regard the Municipality and applicants made arrangements to hand deliver the required notices.. Wherever business process changes were made due to Covid-19 and have proven beneficial to all parties, we will be keeping the new practice.
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