#Dorplitiek: Midvaal residents rarely fail

Henry

In the Midvaal municipality in Gauteng, residents seem to have little reason to complain. Still, the mayor admits no one is perfect.

This municipality is one of the few outside the Western Cape that is fully controlled by the DA, since this party wrested the municipality from the ANC in 2011.

Midvaal has received clean audit reports for the past ten years and last year was named by the South African Association for Local Governments (Salga) as the municipality that showed the greatest improvement in relation to the collection of income and debt management.

Mayor Peter Teixeira attributes this to strict quality control and accountability. “Our debt collection rate is particularly great, with between 90% and 95% of debts being collected.”

He believes residents pay more easily when they see a service being provided. “Residents trust us with their money because we can account for every cent.”

A local chamber of commerce was set up here again in 2022 and Teixeira says they focus on growing the local economy, in order to tackle unemployment. “We are attracting more and more investors and we see it in our local unemployment rate (17.6%), which is one of the lowest in the country.”

However, money still needs to be carefully managed to make sure everything gets done. “Our road network is outdated and a recent audit showed that it would cost approximately R800 million to completely redo it. We certainly won’t be able to do it all at once, but we can start with the most urgent work, so that those who come to power after us can continue the work. We must constantly be proactive and plan.”

However, Teixeira admits that Midvaal, like any other municipality, is not immune to challenges. “We are still part of Gauteng (which is governed by the ANC) and poor service delivery at provincial level often makes it seem like we are not doing our job.” He refers in particular to provincial roads within the municipality that are not renovated, or schools that are overcrowded.

Competent municipal officials are important to Teixeira and his team.

“When the DA took over control of the municipality at the time, we immediately conducted an audit of municipal workers’ skills and made sure that the people we employ are qualified to do the job. We only hire competent and qualified people, no matter what color their skin is.”

Even members of opposition parties in the municipality cannot find much to find fault with. Ockert Brits is a ward councilor in Midvaal and a member of the FF Plus. He says the municipality is quick to respond to complaints and the work is being done. “I think residents can be quite satisfied with the way the municipality is run.”

However, not all residents are equally satisfied with the quality of service delivery in the Midvaal.

Louis Klopfer is a dairy farmer in the vicinity of Apple Orchards. His land is right next to a giant housing project, Savanna City, where a garbage container has been installed to dump residents’ garden waste. However, many residents use it to get rid of other rubbish, including plastic, and do not always dump the rubbish in the container either.

“The plastic blows over to my land and cattle do not distinguish between grass and plastic. Several of my cattle have already died after getting plastic in them and others had to undergo expensive surgery.” This, he says, led to losses of around R200 000.

He says the municipality does not regularly empty the waste container. He also believes that services provided in the rural area of ​​the municipality are not of the same quality as those in more affluent areas such as Meyerton. “The DA is definitely not going to get my vote in the upcoming election.”

Teixeira says he is aware of this specific incident and that the municipality tries to clean up here regularly. He does admit that it is sometimes more difficult to provide services in rural areas than in fully developed areas with proper infrastructure.

“It is indeed the municipality’s plan to also fully develop the rural areas’ infrastructure, such as tarring dirt roads.”