[OPINION] Is there new hope for Cosmo City?

In response to the opinion piece by Advocate Mahlodi Sam Muofhe regarding Cosmo City, the DA’s proportional representation councillor for Ward 100 has written the following:

Having been sworn in as a proportional representation (PR) councillor in late September 2018, I immediately made it a priority to interact with residents of Cosmo City and better understand challenges facing the community. I was well-received by the mostly older residents who painted a clear picture of the historical injustices and shocking disregard for service delivery by the former administration.

Arguably the greatest difficulty in the ward has been the sewer line and rehabilitation of South Africa Road in the surrounding vicinity. This is not a new problem; it stems from approximately 5 years ago (2014) and was never properly budgeted for.

The DA-led coalition government has, however, set aside a significant budget to upgrade the sewer line and improve road conditions in and around Cosmo City. As a pro-poor government, we firmly believe in the dignity of all residents and that adequate infrastructure forms a foundation for developing the open, opportunity society.

Unfortunately, Advocate Muofhe’s opinion piece is really just that: full of opinions. As a public servant, I believe in presenting facts rooted in reality. The facts, as obtained from Joburg Water’s (JW) Managing Director, are:

• The contractor completed the site establishment and has begun clearing the site. The contractor has placed an order for material which should be received soon.

• Meanwhile, the MD has instructed the depot to send a jetting truck and team on a daily basis. The team is removing sand, rocks, and solid waste from the system.

• JW will be sharing their programme to upgrade the sewer line with Joburg Roads Association (JRA) so that JRA is ready to resurface the road soon as JW has completed work on the sewer line.

• JW is also engaging with local ward councillor regarding the misuse of the sewer system in the area, so as to curb potential future issues. JW Stakeholder and Communication team will be busy with an education campaign for the community in the area. They need to do this while they are busy upgrading the line so that we can comprehensively manage the issues.

Much of these developments can, in fact, be traced back to the 2016 local government elections. At the time, the former PR councillor pledged to support Cosmo City and take the steps described above. That predecessor of mine is now the MMC of Finance, councillor Funzela Ngobeni. He has remained true to his word and together, we are working to fulfil the DA’s pledges to the community.

Even today (4 January 2019), I conducted an informal oversight inspection to Cosmo City and clearly identified that JRA have filled the potholes on South Africa Road with rubble as a temporary measure.

I am grateful for the hardworking officials, Diphetogo (Real Change) of the DA-led administration, and support of Cosmo City residents.

Belinda Kayser-Echeozonjoku is the DA’s proportional representation councillor for Cosmo City in Johannesburg.