Mpumalanga Plans To Eradicate Informal Settlements

Pretoria - Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza has instructed Emalahleni Municipality councillors to do away with informal settlements, which he described as a "health hazard" for the area's fast-growing population.

Mabuza said he wanted a plan from the municipality on the formalisation of all informal settlements around the municipality.

He said the plan must be submitted to his office in a week's time.

"These informal settlements are a health hazard to the people. When you go there, you would leave that place a sick person. The situation is very terrible. There is dust all over and people are not living a normal life there.

"You should speedily identify land, build RDP houses and move those people to a serviced land. Our pace of service delivery is too slow. We must plan ahead and stop reacting to the problems," said Mabuza.

The premier also reminded councillors that they were managing a big municipality on behalf of the people, and they needed to be proactive.

He said they needed to push the provincial government until they received the necessary attention as they dealt with the day-to-day problems.

He said the infrastructure was ageing and the plan to be submitted to his office should specify how they would deal with it.

The municipality received a disclaimer from the Auditor-General.

"We must bring public confidence through our work. We cannot afford to nurse each other and be friends at the expense of the people who gave us the mandate to run this government on their behalf.

"We cannot fail on our problems, otherwise people will lose confidence in the leadership. We must proactively buy land and do away with informal settlements. They degrade our people and end up creating even more social problems," said Mabuza.

Last year, Mabuza relocated two families from Coronation Park informal settlement to KwaGuqa township after reading about their plight in the media. After visiting the area, he asked the municipality to relocate all the people to a serviced land as they lived on an un-rehabilitated mine.

Recent Census statistics reveal that the population in Emalahleni Municipality is increasing, as people flock there in search of job opportunities.

While in Empumelelweni, Mabuza also checked the disappointing and unacceptable state of the newly built RDP houses, which have been handed over to the beneficiaries. The houses are of poor quality and the premier demanded that the four involved contractors should not be paid until they rectify the situation.

Mabuza has since asked the beneficiaries not to occupy the houses until they have been corrected.

An urgent meeting called by Mabuza is expected to take place today between Human Settlements MEC Andries Gamede, the Emalahleni mayor and the contractors.