The local government elections highlighted poor delivery of municipal services across the country, with complaints about the lack of water, sewage and electricity and a profusion of potholes. These deficiencies impact residents and businesses.
Earlier this year, South Africa’s largest poultry producer, Astral Foods, took legal action against the Lekwa munipality in Standerton, which ended up being put into administration. It is now operating under a three-year recovery plan supervised by the National Treasury.
Also affected has been the third largest producer, Country Bird Holdings, and there were suggestions it was thinking of closing its operation in Mahikeng in the North West province because of water supply and other interruptions. Days after the local elections, Premier Bushy Maape assured Country Bird and other businesses of much better service in future.
The premier’s office said he has established an “interdepartmental war room” that will monitor service deliver problems and attend to them promptly. This includes an accelerated service delivery planned for the province.
The premier and his staff will be mindful of what happened in nearby Lichtenburg, where Clover closed the country’s biggest cheese factory, with a loss of more than 300 jobs, because the municipality failed to respond to years of complaints about poor services, including water. Clover has moved its operations to KwaZulu-Natal.
Far more jobs are at risk in Mahikeng if the premier is unable to keep his promises.
Image: Courtesy Astral Foods