The following member statement was delivered in the Mpumalanga Legislature today by the DA’s Chief Whip Jane Sithole MPL.
The Democratic Alliance welcomes operation Hlasela in eMalahleni Municipality, although it’s a little too late. Operation Hlasela is aimed at eradicating illegal connections and stealing of electricity including illegal land invasion.
This week, DA Ward Councillor, Roy Cronje witnessed Operation Hlasela in action in Ward 20 where fines of over R150 000 were issued to perpetrators in just one afternoon. Cronje even uncovered an illegal dagga / marijuana plantation at the back of one of the houses. The dagga was removed and handed over to the SAPS.
Hon. Speaker, Illegal electricity connections, bypassing of electricity meters, overloading of meter boxes and unsafe electrical wiring are the order of the day in many communities and due to the municipality’s lax approach, this was allowed to continue with no consequences for a long time.
Public Representatives, especially Councillors should engage residents and encourage them to pay for services and make arrangements to settle their accounts with the municipality.
Hon. Speaker Illegal boarding houses, housing hundreds of people also contribute to electricity outages and sewer blockages that result in raw sewerage running into the streets and refuse bags pilling up. One of the houses was found with 25 backrooms build on one stand with one toilet shared by everyone living there.
There are also a lot of unsafe buildings that have no building plans and are not approved by the municipality. Some perpetrators were stopped with piles of bricks intended for building without obtaining the necessary municipal approvals.
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Hon. Speaker it is important for this house to note that all this was allowed to carry on to this extent due to the municipality’s complete inability to enforce its own by laws.
The majority of law abiding citizens are suffering due to these illegal activities that have affected the whole of eMalahleni.
The DA supports Operation Hlasela and we will continue to work with the Municipality to ensure these illegal and criminal elements are removed from our town and are dealt with to the full might of the law.