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The difficult situation of people – the miserable fate of the Ventersdorp community

Every morning when Agnes Mahatlane stepped into her yard, she faced the local municipality's inability.

For over two months, an external loader from the JB Marks municipality in Ventersdorp has been parked in front of its home.

She has blocked part of the right-hand strap on Manaka Street.

The road is narrow and the new obstacle makes it difficult.

To avoid collisions, drivers are forced to climb on Mahatlan's sidewalk.

The 58-year-old has notified the vehicle about the vehicle but has not received a response.

Her heavy sighs and grim expression are emblematic of the attitude of many people to the local municipality of Ventersdorp.


Agnes Mahathallein (58) looks at the front loader that has been parked in front of his home in the city of McVeeneg in Ventersdorp for more than two months. Photo: Chante Schatz / News24

"It's hard to live in this situation"

"There has been no improvement – everything in the city has worsened," local king Mogale told News24.

The 53-year-old was born and raised in the small rural town.

"We are experiencing frequent interruptions of water and electricity – without notice."

Constant power interruptions destroyed several appliances in the Mogale's home.

"It's hard to live in this situation."


King Mogal (53) sits at a local office in the town of Ventersdorf. Photo: Chante Schatz / News24

Unwanted merger

In 2016 the municipalities of Ventersdorp and Tlokwe unite and form the municipality of JB Marks.

The districts are an hour's drive away – Tlouke is in Pochopstrum.

When the news of the merger was publicly disclosed, the residents of Ventersdorp protested.

Local residents complain about the lack of consultation regarding the merger.

One of their main concerns was that this would further delay the provision of services in their city because their requests for services would have to be filed in the Tlouke municipality.


The lack of drainage infrastructure has led to the accumulation of water on many streets. Chante Schatz / News24

Implosion of the new municipality

"The municipality of JB Marks is under administration, and this fact is not the thing that infuriates the inhabitants, honestly, most are not surprised, what has inhabitants in arms," ​​says an offensive resident in a letter from the editor in the last edition of Potchefstroom Herald.

Earlier this week it was revealed that the provincial government is planning to put the municipality under administration.

The municipality said in a statement Tuesday that the provincial government "has identified several areas in which it believes the municipality is struggling with the provision of services."

These latest developments have followed years of complaints of maladministration, corruption and a collapse in service provision.

The delay in the development project at Ventersdorp saw the municipality exclude at the end of last year as a result of prolonged protests.


Illegal waste disposal in the Tshing Ventersdorp neighborhood hinders the transition to the local cemetery. Photo: Chante Schatz / News24

Our municipality is not functioning

Lack of service is available to everyone to see when moving through parts of Ventersdorp.

Several streets in local municipalities are lined with waste.

The vacant land has become a waste disposal site.

The lack of drainage infrastructure has led to the accumulation of water on many streets.

Municipal activist Sello Dasi said municipal officials have promised big promises, but when it comes to granting, they do not respond.

"The whole question of providing services is in ruins because … our municipality is not functioning."

The 41-year-old, who lives in Ventersdorp for more than 30 years, says the city will be better off as an independent subject.

Like Dassie, many local residents believe that the unification of the municipalities pushed the needs of the residents of Ventersdorp to the periphery.

They believe that people living in the much larger and more urbanized Tloukeau area receive the highest fee.

"Nothing is better, because we are united with Tlouke, things are worse," Dassy said.


Sello Dassi (41) is in front of a local office in the city of Ventersdorp, where he meets community leaders to discuss the city's municipal issues. Photo: Chante Schatz / News24

Find common ground

The announcement of the JB Marks municipality under the administration was not well met by employees.

Subsequently, the municipal council rejected the decision of the Provincial Government.

The council felt dazzled and said there was a need for an in-depth consultation process before a final decision on the future of the municipality was made.

In a statement released on Friday, the Northwest Provincial Government said it was open to "engaging further" with the municipality in the hope of finding the best solution to address immediate issues.

Although the future of JB Marks is uncertain, it is clear that residents need effective leadership and well organized local government to deliver on their promises.


Elizabeth Ntlatlane (33) removes the sand from an already built base for its new RDP home in Toevlug Ventersdorp. Since the fate of JB Marks is hanging on a thread, the future of building her home is uncertain. Photo: Chante Schatz / News24

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