MEC Must Release Pilgrim’s Rest Consultation Report

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

The DA calls on Public Works, Roads and Transport MEC, Ms Dikeledi Mahlangu, to immediately make public the report on departmental consultations with Pilgrim’s Rest stakeholders last week, which will be presented to her today.

The DA has been informed that MEC Mahlangu will meet with the Deputy Director General of her department, Mr William Mthombothi today, to discuss the contents and findings of a report into meetings held in Pilgrim’s Rest last week.

Last week Wednesday (11 July 2012), departmental officials conducted a meeting with a selected group of successful bidders, with the purpose of confirming whether the new occupants were ready to take over their premises on 1 August, and that the successful bidders were in a financial position to establish new businesses on this day. During the meeting, the eviction of current occupants was allegedly confirmed. New tenants were also allegedly told that the police would assist with the evictions if necessary.

On Thursday (12 July 2012), two departmental officials were dispatched to Pilgrim’s Rest to consult with local communities over the outcomes of the controversial tender process, and receive their inputs over the impact the process would have on their lives. With 18 businesses serving retrenchment notices on workers, and no guarantees demanded of new tenants to employ locals, over 100 workers face unemployment on 1 August, with their families now faced with deprivation and poverty.

Opposition to the tender process outcomes are escalating with business owners and workers united in their bid to stop the 31 July evictions. Concerns and allegations over tender irregularities in the bid adjudication and allocation process continue to emerge.

In the interests of transparency and accountability, the DA will today write to MEC Mahlangu requesting a copy of the report.

All matters relating to Pilgrim’s Rest are of extreme public importance and time is running out to find an amicable solution before 31 July, to save this town from shut-down and collapse.

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