Parliament, Friday, 18 November 2022 - President Cyril Ramaphosa’s annual address to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) sitting closed off the Taking Parliament to the People programme at the Ugu Sports and Leisure Centre in Gamalakhe in the Ugu District Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), on Friday.

The weeklong extensive service delivery oversight programme consisted of various public hearings and site visits to key service delivery points such as police stations, water reticulation and treatment plants, sanitation and road infrastructure networks and farming projects.

Community members had an opportunity to draw the attention of Members of Parliament, the KZN provincial legislature, Ministers and MECs, as well as municipal councilors to service delivery inefficiencies and challenges in their areas.

The challenges raised related to social services, economic development, agriculture, land reform and rural development, safety and security, transport, water and sanitation.

Social Services 

The public engagement on social services received a large number of inputs from the public. The main challenges focused on the distances rural communities have to travel to reach Home Affairs, SASSA and medical care facilities.

In terms of clinics, the community also requested that more facilities should be open 24 hours a day in order to cater for people experiencing medical emergencies in outlying areas.

Communities wanted more clinics, SASSA and Home Affairs offices located within the District. It was stated that there were more such services available in the past but that Departments closed many of these down.

Agriculture and Rural Development 

The main agricultural activities within the District consists of crop farming, with sugarcane and bananas being the main crops in addition to others. The agricultural sector is faced with a number of challenges, such as the lack of tenure security both for commercial and emerging farmers, and insufficient support for rural small scale farmers, especially women and youth wishing to develop farming enterprises. The lack of title deeds restricts access of emerging farmers to financial services such as loans.

Economic Development

The rural economy, including many of the Local Municipalities in the Ugu District, experiences many challenges highlighted during the public engagement session. Key among these are infrastructure shortcomings that hamper businesses. Numerous speakers highlighted the fact that the road network is in a poor state.

Bridges damaged by floods have not been repaired, and gravel roads earmarked for tarring has not been improved. In many cases, these roads are deteriorating, as the local municipalities are not in possession of the equipment needed to maintain gravel roads.

In other areas, gravel roads are periodically maintained but not converted to tar roads as planned. Inputs were also received about the lack of cell-phone towers in the district, resulting in the fact that entrepreneurs do not have access to phone or internet services. This obviously hampers their ability to do business.

On Safety and Security

Several common themes around crime in the Ugu District Municipally emerged from community members, including lack of access to SAPS centres, poor policing on drug and stock theft related crimes, the alleged complicity of police in criminal activities, and lack of Community Policing Forums.

When these concerns are viewed against the findings by Members of the NCOP during site visits to police stations in the area, it is evident that the lack of access to policing is impacted by personnel shortages and vehicle shortages in the SAPS.

At all SAPS site visits, detectives noted long delays in getting forensic results from the laboratories in KwaZulu-Natal. Furthermore, concerns around water supply in the area was raised as a major concern throughout the TPTTP week. This is a cross-cutting matter that impacts on safety and security, given that people have to walk to fetch water and may become vulnerable to crime.


Community members requested municipalities to give attention to the rectification of bridges affected by the recent floods and the improvement of road conditions. The current conditions present challenges and have on a number of occasions prevented teachers and pupils from going to school.

Households are in some instances cut off from accessing essential services because road conditions are too poor for either people or vehicles to traverse. As feedback the community was informed that, amongst other things, several projects such as the Lower Umkomaas Water Works Project, have been initiated in the District. Budget allocations were also provided for road maintenance and improvement projects.

The delegation conducted oversight visits to a number of these projects, including the Marburg Pipeline Replacement Project aimed at addressing water pipeline failures and the Main Harding Road Rehabilitation project.

Water and Sanitation

Whilst municipalities were thanked for improvements in certain areas, community members relayed that certain households in the District have not been provided with access to municipal water for a number of years. Many of the access roads to households are in poor conditions to be utilized by trucks supplying water to households.

At the same time municipal infrastructure has not been maintained and reservoirs that have previously been constructed have fallen into disrepair or have run dry. The community pleaded with municipalities to consider the development of additional water sources such as boreholes, natural springs and rain water harvesting in areas where geotechnical conditions make household connection to the water reticulation system challenging.

Government Ministers, MECs and councilors responded to most of the issues raised by community members and made commitments to accelerate campaigns and programmes to respond to the service delivery challenges.

The NCOP Chairperson, Mr Amos Masondo, said the KZN instalment of Taking Parliament to the People was a success, and has created a bedrock for further engagements between government and community members.

ENQUIRIES: Moloto Mothapo