The operations of Road Forums in municipalities are being hampered by the non-attendance of officials from the Department of Roads and Public works and by the wastage of funding due to the appointment of consultants.
The Department of Roads and Public Works is derailing one of its best initiatives, namely Road Forums in municipalities, by farming out the work to consultants, who in turn appoint more consultants. The implantation of policies is problematic and mired by the absence of the key role players at local Road Forum level.
I have received numerous complaints, the latest being from Nxuba Municipality in Bedford where the Local Road Forum, despite strong attendance by stakeholders, has been held up by the on-going absence of the officials from the Department of Roads and Public Works. Nineteen agenda items have been deferred since February, owing to absence and late coming.
The Local Road Forums are welcomed by the people of this province. If the paid officials from the department would attend meetings, it could lead to focus, collaboration and delivery. Politicians countrywide have been grappling with a fundamental illness in public life. For service delivery to take place, public servants have to serve. This is a clear case in point.
I have today written to the MEC for Roads and Public Works, Thandiswa Marawu, to request her to investigate why her officials are not attending forum meetings.
Without official go-ahead, these forums cannot implement any decisions taken at meetings.
It is problematic that, despite the in-house expertise at the department, the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) has been appointed as the service provider. They have in-turn appointed consultants – Kungawo Development to drive the Road Forums. This is ironic in the extreme: consultants appointing consultants to drive a Forum whose only obstacle is the non-participation of the department who appointed the consultants who appointed the consultants.