By Andrew Louw, MPL, DA Provincial Leader in the Northern Cape:
The Democratic Alliance calls for an immediate investigation by the provincial department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs into the chaos at the Office at the Municipal Manager of the Sol Plaatje Local Municipality. We are worried about the current shambles that characterizes the application for new building plans. Internal controls at the municipality are seriously lacking.
Building plans submitted for houses are simply disappearing.
Councilors and officials from the municipality are able to access plans without any restraint. Not only does this pose a serious safety risk, but it means that anybody can make free copies of building plans that you have paid an architect thousands of rands to design.
Community members have raised their concerns with us.
This is one area of gross mismanagement that we know about. In how many other areas are documents disappearing without a trace?
In terms of the Building Control By-law of 2006, the municipality is expected to either approve or reject new building plans within a period of 30 days. Yet applicants wait for months without feedback from the municipal manager. I know from my personal experience that if you contact him with a query, he is evasive and unable to provide satisfactory explanations for why processes are taking so long to unfold.
We are forced to raise this matter with the media because the municipal manager does not respond to queries. It is a shame that ratepayers like myself are forced to take extraordinary measures due to the shambles at the municipality.
Recently, the lifting of the moratorium on development in the municipality has given residents a sense of renewal. We felt that things are beginning to happen in Kimberley with the development of new commercial properties and hospitals. It is a shame that the development of commercial properties cannot be duplicated in the residential arena due to the gross negligence at the municipality.
We call on the municipal manager to take full charge of his responsibilities. It is unacceptable that residents must wait for months without knowing the outcome of their applications.