Business and Government meet to unlock millions for local repair

Emfuleni could see a massive cash injection of more than R200 million in municipal infrastructure and services after a watershed fact-finding mission last week between business and national Cooperative Governance Minister Zweli Mkhize.

The funding will be ring-fenced to address issues including upgrading upgrading of critical water and sewage pump stations, refuse removal, electricity infrastructure and water wastage and pollution issues, Vaalweekblad has learned.  The meeting heralds an unprecedented and massive joint turnaround effort by Emfuleni business-already working closely with the  local municipality on critical administrative and infrastructure bottlenecks - and national and local government, business sources said.

Minister Mkhize was accompanied by an official delegation of about 35 senior officials from his own department (Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs), the Departmentn of Water and Sanitation, Rand Water and relevant government departments for the closed meeting.  Held at the Sedibeng Municipality in Vereeniging last Friday, the meeting was attended by the Golden Triangle Chamber of Commerce (GTCoC), Minister Mkhize and Gauteng Province Finance MEC Barbara Creecy amongst other high-ranking politicians and officials.

Presentations were made to Minister Mkhize and his delegation by the GTCoC - which played a pivotal role in convening the meeting - on a spectrum of infrastructure and administrative crises confronting local government in Emfuleni.  The GTCoC has been prominent in leading organised business in active cooperation with all levels of Government and civil society on a range of issues.

GTCoC CEO Klippies Kritzinger and spokesperson a Jaco Verwey would not comment on the meeting but said they were intensifying co-operation with all levels of Government to unlock a swathe of projects for the benefit of all Emfuleni stakeholders.  Other business organisations present included Nafcoc and the Sedibeng Business Chamber.

The meeting also resulted in the establishment of an implementation Steering Committee and work teams to address a range of critical issues which would soon report back on plans and implementation, government sources confirmed.  "Its not only about the money, it's also about cutting red tape and getting approval for a whole basket of projects that need addressing on an urgent basis - this is really an unprecedented level of coordination and cooperation between the various stakeholders represented at the meeting." an informed source informed Vaalweekblad.

Plans for the joint business/ ELM Business Customer Centre are at an advanced stage for approval, GTCoC spokesperson Jaco Verwey confirmed this week.