Parliament, Thursday, 29 October 2020 – The KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) delegation to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) together with Members of the KZN Legislature today received a briefing from the MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, Ms Nomusa Dube-Ncube and the District Mayor of Uthukela District Municipality, Councillor Simphiwe Mazibuko, on the state of Uthukela District Municipality, which is under section 139 (1) (b) of the Constitution.

Briefing the delegation on the third day of the programme, MEC Dube-Ncube, appreciated the support of the NCOP at national government and asked for more assistance for the provision of water to the district municipality which is largely rural.

Ms Dube-Ncube informed the delegation that Uthukela District has a huge potential of tourist attraction, however, crime and the lack of infrastructure diminish tourism opportunities in the area. Three local municipalities in the district do not have enough financial capacity to revitalise small and poverty stricken towns in their areas and rely on provincial and national government for that.

The delegation heard from the mayor that due to Covid-19, many small hotels have closed down.

Mr Sithole informed the delegation that water infrastructure is dysfunctional and is vandalised on a daily basis. Due to drought, he said a number of boreholes have dried up and the district municipality will be approaching the Department of Water and Sanitation to request a portion of the Municipal Infrastructure Grant funding for the development of infrastructure.

Local municipalities in the district lack capacity and revenue to deliver on other services as well. The theft of livestock along the border to Lesotho is rife and requires services of the South African Police Services.

The delegation also heard about the debt of R799 million to Eskom. It also heard about the escalating number of illegal connections that are an additional burden to Eskom. There is a planned meeting between the district municipality, the provincial department of CoGTA with Eskom to craft a strategy to deal with the problem of Eskom debt.

Mr Enoch Mthethwa who is part of the delegation requested the district to provide the delegation with information on the debt owed by individual government departments to the district municipality. The delegation was informed about the departments that include the Department of Public Works, Department of Health and the Department of Transport.

The delegation heard that the Provincial Department of CoGTA is assisting the municipalities in the province on debt collection, and it was also informed that the district is being assisted by the Provincial Department of CoGTA on the implementation of the District Recovery Plan.

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