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Vaal in serious economic trouble, Makhura tells Ramaphosa at imbizo

President Cyril Ramaphosa and several ministers are in the Vaal for an imbizo.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and several ministers are in the Vaal for an imbizo.
Image: Amanda Khoza

Gauteng premier David Makhura on Friday told President Cyril Ramaphosa and his ministers that the Vaal, south of Johannesburg, is in desperate need of national intervention.

“Sedibeng district municipality is in the south, with 1-million who live in it. Gauteng has 16.1-million people. The Vaal is the birth place of industrialisation in Gauteng. The steel industry employed a lot of people.

“We need the president and his cabinet ministers to know the economy in the Vaal is in serious trouble, and we need national government to help us revive and rebuild this economy,” Makhura said.

He was speaking during the fourth presidential imbizo in Sedibeng, where he highlighted the Vaal’s desperate need for “economic regeneration”.

The fourth Presidential Imbizo is about to start in Sedibeng, Gauteng. The president and some of his cabinet ministers will spend today listening to service delivery challenges in the area. @TimesLIVE

— Amanda Khoza - The Journalist (@MandaKhoza) August 12, 2022

Ramaphosa and ministers Bheki Cele (police), Pravin Gordhan (public enterprises), Aaron Motsoaledi (home affairs), Nathi Mthethwa (sport, arts and culture), Naledi Pandor (international relations and co-operation), Joe Phaahla (health) and Patricia De Lille (public works) attended the imbizo. 

Makhura said municipalities are often not operating optimally.

“Political instability and infighting sometimes leads to the municipality not operating optimally and this leads to municipalities not being able to function stably," he said.

Listing issues in the community, Makhura said there was a high level of unemployment and refuse was piling up in the district.

“There are heaps piling up and we need more trucks to collect the rubbish.”

In March, the Sunday Times reported on the dire situation concerning refuse in the area. Communities claimed they at times spent six months without their waste being collected. This had led to the mushrooming of unofficial dumping sites. 

Ramaphosa began his countrywide presidential imbizo roadshow in March this year,  canvassing communities in the North West, the Free State and Mpumalanga as part of the government’s district development model. 

The aim of the imbizos is to listen to communities’ concerns about service delivery challenges for all three spheres of government, together with civil society, to jointly plan development and respond better.

The first resident to speak is Sekgola David Lepota, 61, from phase one Tsepiso in Sharpville. He tells Ramaphosa that: "I am unemployed and we have no food. My wife almost left me. Please can I have a job." @TimesLIVE

— Amanda Khoza - The Journalist (@MandaKhoza) August 12, 2022

In his state of the nation address in February, Ramaphosa made a pledge to engage with communities around the country.

The Sedibeng district municipality comprises the Emfuleni, Midvaal and Lesedi local municipalities, which all feature high levels of unemployment, skills shortages and aged water and sanitation infrastructure which results in sewer blockages, spillages, pump station breakdowns, water leaks and pipe bursts.

Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said: “Government is responding with various actions, including R700m to Rand Water to rehabilitate the Vaal sewer network. Funding is also being sourced to upgrade bulk infrastructure, such as electricity, roads, water and sewerage.”


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