Schweizer-Reneke: town of potholes and billboards

If your municipality ignores the FIRST “bad service delivery” billboard you’ve erected, you simply put up another one.
Issue date 15 June 2007

If your municipality ignores the FIRST “bad service delivery” billboard you’ve erected, you simply put up another one. And another. And another. This is the tactic Kobus Smit of the Schweizer-Reneke Chamber of Business is using.

“We will put up one sign per month if that is what is needed to get service.” As there are four entrances to the town, there are four areas that can – and will – be billboarded unless the Mamusa Local Municipality cleans up its act.

On 23 March Farmer’s Weekly reported on the billboard that was erected in the town stating: “Welkom in ons dorp. Jammer hy’s so vuil en die strate is vol gate. Ons het ­ongelukkig nie water nie en ons infrastruktuur verval, maar ons betaal belasting.” (Translated: “Welcome in our town. Sorry it’s so dirty and the streets are full of holes. Unfortunately we don’t have water and our infrastructure is depleted, but we pay tax.”)

Smit said the public’s reaction to this signboard was very positive. People phoned from far and wide to comment on the billboards. “They especially like the idea that this is an easy way of wording grievances, without others having to suffer because of your protest.”

As for the municipal servants, they were in shock at first, according to Smit. ­However, little has since been done to rectify the sorry state of service delivery.

In light of this, the business chamber has decided to put up another sign next to the road between Amalia and Schweizer-Reneke. Amalia was a location area during the apartheid years. Smit said the sign will be in seTswana and say something along the lines of: “Did you know that your ­municipal and line managers earn RXXXX, while our town has nothing to show for it?”

Rocjy Masobe, Mamusa Local ­Municipality’s technical services director, said R3,5 million has been allocated to revamp ­Schweizer-Reneke’s streets. At the moment the municipality is still waiting for public ­tenders. Masobe said the contractors should be appointed by the beginning of July and repairs should commence shortly afterwards.
“Currently we are using road-­patching units,” Masobe said. The central ­business district is their main priority, but that does not mean that they will not cater for other areas, he added. – Susan Botes