Makhanda doing the ‘Jerusalema’ to fix roads

TAKING ACTION: Graeme College teacher Danika Pearson, left, and Anna-Mare Herselman have galvanised the Makhanda community to join the ‘Jerusalema’ dance challenge on Sunday to raise funds to repair potholes in the neglected city
Image: SUPPLIED

A donation station in a pothole and a dance on the streets may be an unusual way to tackle infrastructure and service delivery problems but they are a necessity for embattled Makhanda residents.

The community is using the #JerusalemaDanceChallenge on Sunday to unite and raise funds to fix the city’s pothole-pocked streets.

The brainchild behind the idea, Makhanda resident and owner of Ladies 1st Driving School, Anna-Maré Herselman, said the city had faced several challenges this year, from the deteriorating roads to the Covid-19 pandemic, which halted annual events that benefited the community.

Herselman said driving through the town was a struggle because the roads were riddled with potholes and uneven sections due to shoddy repair work.

“I drive through town and see the problems daily.

“Sometimes the municipality fills the potholes with stones and tar, but it is always a rush job, because as soon as it rains or as soon as a couple of cars drive through, the cracks appear again.

“Some work does seem to have started last week,” she said.

Herselman and fellow Makhanda residents, Graeme College teacher Danika Pearson and dance instructor Francois “Frankie” van Eck, made a Facebook appeal for assistance to help revive the ailing city two weeks ago.

The response to their bid to spread positivity and take action to get Makhanda back on track has been phenomenal.

She said 200 employees of various Makhanda-based businesses had confirmed their participation at Sunday’s event, while 500 other residents had indicated they were interested in attending.

Participants in the dance challenge, which kicks off at Church Square at 3pm, will pay R5 each.

Herselman said proceeds from Sunday’s event would go to Makana Revive, “an amazing initiative started to fix and maintain our city’s roads, which are in a dire state”.

Earlier this year, Makhanda high court judge Igna Stretch found that the municipality had failed to provide services to the community and was in breach of the constitution.

Stretch ordered Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane and his executive to implement a recovery plan, aimed at securing the Makhanda municipality’s ability to meet its obligations to provide basic services and to fulfil its financial commitments.

Later, the court ordered that an administrator be appointed to run the municipality until a new council can be installed after fresh elections.

The judgment came after the Unemployed People’s Movement (UPM) launched an application to place the municipality under administration after a severe sewage problem developed in Makhanda ’s Extension 6.

The UPM argued that the citizens of Makhanda had suffered long enough under a regime that had collapsed every aspect of governance.

The Eastern Cape government has since headed to the Supreme Court of Appeal in an attempt to overturn the judgment.

Co-operative governance MEC Xolile Nqatha’s spokesperson, Makhaya Komisa, said the matter was still before the court.

Makhanda resident Sanette Steyn said the city had multiple problems and residents were now forced to do something.

“There is also a water problem.

“Many residents get their water from the fire station using trucks and vans and that again damages the road and the trucks.

“This dance challenge is a good idea and will hopefully invoke the communal spirit in people because we have many problems,” Steyn said.

BY ZIPO-ZENKOSI NCOKAZI

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