Byline: Nonjabuliso Nhlambo

15 August 2023

Gert Sibande District Municipality (GSDM)’s Executive Mayor, Cllr Walter Mngomezulu has welcomed the deployment of Electricity Minister, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa as the National Champion for the District Development Model (DDM), saying this would positively impact on the efforts of improving delivery of services in the district, in particular electricity.

This follows a recent announcement made by President Cyril Ramaphosa on the deployment of Minister Ramokgopa to Gert Sibande District recently.

Cllr. Mngomezulu made the remarks during an introductory session with Dr Ramokgopa at the GSDM Office Complex on Thursday, 03 August, which was aimed at introducing the minister to all DDM stakeholders and to present a status quo of plans and work done through the DDM structures.

The meeting was attended by top leaders and officials from both the public and private sector such as executive mayors from Dr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme, Lekwa, Msukaligwa, Govan Mbeki, Mkhondo and Chief Albert Luthuli municipalities, representatives from Sasol, Forestry South Africa such as SAPPI, Mondi and SAFCOL. PG Bison was also present and committed R2.5b in a form of a factory in Mkhondo which will start running in a few months’ time thereby creating over 2000 jobs.

Dr Ramokgopa said they would work together to ensure that every role player understood the district’s challenges and the role each stakeholder must play.

He also said, it was clear that the issue of electricity, in particular the localised load reduction, roads and water needed urgent attention. The meeting agreed that, for DDM to succeed, all spheres of government should actively participate in the DDM to achieve integration of programmes.

The Minister also emphasized the importance of improving the network industries which are key to improved service delivery.

He warned the leaders that, to attract sustainable investments to the district, transport logistics should be set right, that crime and corruption should be fought in order to create safe environments for investments.

 Mngomezulu described Dr Ramokgopa as an energetic person with vast knowledge in the local government sphere saying this would come in handy in his new task of trying to turn the tide on the challenges currently being faced with regards to the delivery of services.

He also thanked and commended the Minister on the efforts to prolong the lifespan of coal fired power stations in the region, saying this would go a long way in preserving jobs and economic opportunities, not only in the affected towns, but in the entire District.