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Middelpos want better services

Freedom Day may have come and gone but some residents of Middelpos, Saldanha say they still are not “free”.

Instead of celebrations on Freedom Day (Tuesday, 27 April) a handful of residents decided to clean the area.

According to the residents a lack of service delivery by the Saldanha Bay Municipality (SBM) means they are living in squalor. “It is disappointing that we still have residents who have to use the bucket system here. Local government has a responsibility to all residents,” explains Khaya Ngetu, chairperson of the ward’s ANC chapter. Ngetu says it feels like the community’s request for bulk infrastructure, specifically electricity and water, falls on deaf ears. With an estimated population of 10 810 (2016) in the ward, residents claim service delivery is not happening at a desired rate. Ward councillor Siyabulela Nafenuka says he understands the community’s frustrations but plans are in place to address the ward’s electrical and water challenges. Illegal electrical connections can be seen on most streets in the neighbourhood. “There are no plans for additional electrical bulk infrastructure in the coming financial year’s budget (2021-’22 financial period). However, capital and operational funding were budgeted for, towards the maintenance and upgrade of existing infrastructure,” Tereze Burger, spokesperson for SBM explained. She said the illegal “spider webs” are monitored, disconnected and removed as the Municipality becomes aware of the connections.

Water in Middelpos is provided via 22 communal taps and Jojo tanks.

According to the Municipality, 14 water tanks with a capacity of 2 500 litres and two tanks with 10 kilolitres’ capacity are filled daily. Vandalism is however a problem Burger says, with the Municipality doing repairs on a regular basis. Residents say their biggest concerns are sanitation and the lack of toilets. With Weslander’s visit more than one child used the strip of rubbish behind the neighbourhood to relieve themselves. Burger says refuse collection does take place and the ward is part of the Municipality’s bulk open spaces cleaning team servicing all seven towns. This team provides services every 6-8 weeks. Nosithembele Nazula says the lack of sanitation is of grave concern as local learners get sick and stay home from school. Nazula, educator at Middelpos Primary, says actions speak louder than words and the Municipality needs to act.

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