Ventersdorp residents lash out at ‘merger’

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Residents of Ventersdorp near Potchefstroom in the North West hope to deal with their service delivery challenges by separating from the newly-amalgamated JB Marks Municipality.

They want the former Ventersdorp local municipality to be re-established as an independent entity from Tlokwe, based in Potchefstroom.

The ailing Ventersdorp Local Municipality was merged with Tlokwe in 2016 to form JB Marks Local Municipality, before the local government elections.

These residents say they are not benefiting from the merger.

They says when they go to the tap there is no water. When they are sitting watching tv or just cooking the electricity goes off without notice.

They further say all the officials have been moved to Potchefstroom; there is no one with authority in ventersdorp. The residents have to travel over 50 km to go complain even with a simple pipe.

JB Marks Local Municipality mayor, Khotso Khumalo has downplayed their concerns. He’s hailed the merger between Tlokwe and Ventersdorp as a winning step to better service delivery and rate collections in a previously defaulting Ventersdorp Municipality.

“There was an outstanding amount of R58 million that was owed by ventersdorp to Eskom but that money has been paid and so far we have paid more than R48 million,” says Khumalo.

Khumalo says there is a lot of illegal connection in Ventersdorp, “it’s a pity that some of our officials are involved in the illegal connection and I can assure you we will find them and we will arrest them.”