Bfn service delivery non-existent

The pipe that burst in General de Wet that was only attended to several hours after it was initially reported. PHOTO: Justine Fortuin

The lack of service delivery in Bloemfontein comes as no surprise to its residents. However, due to recent protests by workers of the Mangaung Metro Municipality (MMM), these services, according to the Acting HOD of Waste and Fleet Management, Francois Nel, are non-existent.

Nel said these protests have been ongoing since March and the department has tried to join hands with community organisations to pick up waste around the metro.

“We note with concern the labour action by some MMM employees. We are also concerned about the declining level of service delivery as this has been going on for at least two weeks. There seems to be a deadlock between the employer and labourers and as a result, the community is bearing the brunt of poor service delivery – from waste collection to sewage spillages and water leakages,” said ANC Chief Whip, Vumile Nikelo.

Bloemfontein Courant went to the protest that took place at the Bram Fischer Building to speak to some of the protesting workers. One worker said: “This issue of wages isn’t a new one, since 2020 we have had problems with getting our full salaries. We are being taxed large sums of money which then drops our salaries to cents and it’s not possible to make ends meet.”

Another worker said: “Last month, we got paid R193 and some got R2 and others R43. That is why we are here today. The management says it is because of tax. They can’t say it is tax because we have not been getting any returns from SARS.”

According to ward councillor Dirk Kotze, councillors were informed in February that the service delivery grant provided to MMM (R135 million) by National Treasury would be used for maintenance work on municipal infrastructure, sewage and garbage disposal, and water supply problems.

“The grant was intended to purchase vehicles for maintenance. R70 million was allocated for maintenance at the nine sewerage plants, and R20 million allocated to resurface road infrastructure and fill potholes,” said Kotze.

Since Bloemfontein Courant reported that potholes in the city were marked “ANC” on 2 March, many more potholes popped up with the same markings in town. PHOTO: Justine Fortuin

He added that the past two months have shown that service delivery has not improved. “Refuse collection has not been up to national standards. Sewage spillages have not been attended to for weeks, and potholes have not been filled.

Multiple issues of water leaks, sewage spills, and potholes have been reported to MMM, but to no avail.

One such issue was reported this week in General de Wet. A pipe burst and the leak was only attended to several hours after it was initially reported. Because of the protests, a sub-contractor had to attend to it and they had to dig a hole of about one meter deep to fix the leak. Kotze said the contractor was struggling to close the valves because no personnel was available due to the protests.

Roseline van der Merwe’s drain that has been overflowing into their backyard since 10 March. PHOTO: Supplied

A resident from Uitsig, Roseline van der Merwe, told the publication that she has been struggling with an overflowing drain since 10 March.

“I have called multiple times with no answer. When I finally got through to someone they said they would send someone. We waited a very long time before someone came to our house. Two people came. The first time they said they don’t have the right equipment and the second time they said that it seems to be roots from a tree that is causing the issue and that they would be back. We have been waiting since then.”

Justine Fortuin