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Harry Gwala District Municipality Open Council 2024

The Harry Gwala District Municipality Open Council was held on the 23 May 2024 at Peace Initiative Hall in Ixopo. This is when council consults, deliberates, or makes decisions. As per Section 20 (1) and (b) of the Systems Act, Municipal Council shall conduct its business in an open manner and every meeting of the council and all committees, including the executive committee/ mayoral committee shall be open to the public; provided that this section shall not apply when it is reasonable to do so having regard to the nature of the business being transacted. 

Address by the District Mayor Cllr Z. Nxumalo;

Honourable Speaker,

The Deputy Mayor

Local Mayors and Deputy Mayors

Local Speakers and all Councillors present,

Municipal Managers,

Senior Managers and Staff,

Our distinguished and special guest (Traditional leaders, Treasury, COGTA),

Our friends from the media

Ladies and gentlemen

Greetings to you all.

It is a great honour for me to stand in front of you and present the budget for the year 2024/25 financial year. This budget represents our collective vision and unwavering commitment to improving the lives of our residents and our steadfast dedication to sustainable development.

Before I deal with the budget and other related documents, allow me to start by locating my budget speech to a broader context. Honourable speaker this year 2024 marks the 30th Anniversary of our democracy. A reminder of the tense negotiations and years of liberation struggle by leaders, people and individuals who organised themselves in unity to fight for a common cause. For a liberated, free South Africa which changed the history of our country. Reflecting on the thirty years of democracy, we see a nation that has overcome tremendous challenges, bringing former opponents together to build constructive relationships that focus on nation building. Consistent with our objective of creating a better life for all, the Harry Gwala District Municipality has made positive progress in relation to ensuring that services reach all corners of the district.  Our mission over the past 30 years has been to restore both social and economic justice to our nation, and to decisively address the inequality that was the symbol of systemic discrimination and dispossession. The budgets we have tabled since 1994, have been about securing the goal of growing the economy, so that we can do more to address the inequalities and deprivation that still scar our society and undermine the promise of democracy.

According to Census 2022, the population of the Harry Gwala grew to 532 000 in 2022 from 461 000 in 2016. Despite the continuous increase of the population in our district, government managed to implement policies, strategies and plans that were helpful in assisting to stretch the rand to provide the necessary basic services to the people of the district. Since the dawn of democracy in 1994, there has been a gradual improvement in the quality of the lives of our people. The provision of critical household services in the district as per Census 2022 has improved drastically. The proportion of our population having access to flush toilets connected to sewerage increased to 40 per cent in 2022. Access to piped water in dwellings increased to 49 per cent in 2022.

Today we are tabling the 24/25 municipal Budget during an electoral season. It is the time for our citizens to exercise its power by participating in this democratic process and exercising their democratic right by ensuring that they are registered to vote and by casting their votes. We like to thank thousands of volunteers of all political parties and representatives of the Electoral Commission for the work and sacrifices that you have made and will make to ensure a free and fair election on 29 May 2024.  

Budgeting is primarily about the choices the municipality has to make between competing priorities and fiscal realities, improving lives of our people. With this in mind, President Cyril Ramaphosa, when delivering the 2024 State of the Nation Address called on all of us to be optimistic about the future of this nation when he said “As we move forward, let us remember that it is up to us, not anyone else, to determine the future of South Africa. We are not passive observers of our history. We are its authors. We are the builders of this country we call home.” Harry Gwala District Municipality re-assures the President that we remain committed and look forward to the future with optimism and envision a district that will grow stronger and more exciting.

Harry Gwala District Municipality is one of the ten districts in the province faced with challenges similar to other districts in providing basic services and addressing backlogs. The goal of the district municipality is to enhance service delivery aimed at improving the quality of lives for all in the district. This leadership made a commitment to the community of Harry Gwala that it will continue to deliver services better, faster, and smarter in order to build a performance-oriented municipality. Guided by these imperatives, the municipality has implemented a range of initiatives that responded to the eradication of the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment, and inequality.

Even though Harry Gwala is a rural municipality, we face unique challenges, but we also have unique strengths. Our communities are resilient, our landscapes are rich with potential and resolve to improve living standards is unwavering. This budget seeks to address our most pressing needs while laying the foundation for future growth and prosperity.

Honourable Speaker, we were given the opportunity to lead this district, we have been re-writing history. We picked up the baton and ran without ceasing and have achieved many milestones, we are here to reflect on our highlights so far and challenges experienced during the 2023/24 financial year in order to present future plans going forward. There are multitude of challenges that HGDM is faced with in its endeavour to provide basic water and sanitation services and these include but not limited to:

Ageing Infrastructure: The Municipality grapples with ageing water and sanitation infrastructure, which poses a significant obstacle to efficient service delivery and sustainability.

Vandalism: Frequent acts of vandalism against water and sanitation facilities exacerbate operational difficulties and financial strain on the Municipality. We would like to encourage our communities to take full responsibility in guarding their water infrastructure.

Insufficient Bulk Water Supply: Inadequate bulk water supply infrastructure fails to meet the burgeoning demands of the local population, resulting in erratic service provision. That is being addressed through projects like Mqumeni, Summerfield, Creighton, Bulwer Dam (on the planning stage), and Kempsdale Dam….

Continuous Backlog: this is due the limited or lack of resources to provide sustainable water and sanitation services.

Non-payment of services: this is due to lack of appetite to pay for water and sanitation services by consumers especially those that are not indigent. That is also being addressed to the installation of meters. Speaker, we also want to encourage our communities to pay for municipal services.

Mphakathi wase Harry Gwala the municipality took an initiative to respond to the challenges listed above by developing Water Services By – Laws, Policies and Customer Care Charter as well as the Water Services Development Plan, Wastewater Risk Abatement Plan and the Regulatory Performance Management System to improve those challenges. Communities are being encouraged to familiarise themselves with these documents which are available on our website. The enforcement of these documents will give a rise to the manner in which we interact with our communities, reduction in illegal connections and water losses and increase in Water Quality through Blue Drop and Green Drop. Honourable Speaker as a water service authority we have a duty to provide better services to our community. Listed below is our achievements and priorities for the 2024/25 financial year.

A lot has been achieved over the years, just to name a few, more than 25 Water Scheme Refurbishments that have been concluded such as Tarrs Valley, Hostela, Mcweba, Mhlabashane, Ntabane, Springvale, Nyanisweni to name a few. The functionality of these schemes is assisting our communities to receive more sustainable potable water supply. Our municipality working together with COGTA have managed to complete 180 boreholes, 20 with the assistance from Cogta. Water schemes will be refurbished amounting to R36million in 2024/25 financial year. These refurbishments include Kwanjunga, Raloti, Nazareth, Mfulamhle, Bhayi, Gudlicingo to name a few.


Honourable Speaker we know that our infrastructure is aging, and we are working very hard to ensure that we use our limited resources to maintain our infrastructure. R 49 million has been made available through internal funding to maintain the existing water and sanitation schemes across the district; more funding is however required to adequately maintain our existing infrastructure.

The municipality also appreciates the additional R 10.5 million that will be received from COGTA to maintain or rehabilitate the existing water and sanitation infrastructure.


A number of households are benefiting potable water supply from water schemes that we constructed throughout the district. For the 2024/25 financial year, we have allocated R252, 3million towards enhancing our water infrastructure. This allocation will fund the construction and refurbishment of boreholes, the expansion of water treatment plants and upgrading of our pipeline network. We will prioritise areas that have been historically underserved, ensuring that every household, farm and business has access to this vital resource. By doing so we aim to reduce waterborne disease, enhance agricultural productivity, and improve the overall quality of our residents. Honourable Speaker allow me to mention few water projects that we are planning to construct for the 2024/25 financial year that will benefit the community of Harry Gwala using Municipal Infrastructure Grant. The municipality also allocated R63, 7million from Water Services Infrastructure Grant for upgrading pipeline to Bhongweni and Shayamoya.


Harry Gwala District has made provisions for activities for recreational purposes which seek to support the various groups in society such as, Youth, Women, elderly, men’s sector and disability sector. In the year 2024/2025 the Municipality has budgeted for the following Special Programmes senior citizens and disability games R 900 000.

The municipality has a programme for financial assistance to students enrolled with recognized tertiary institutions by paying registration fees and full bursaries to two best performing students within the district. We also provide skills development programmes for unemployed youth. The Municipality set aside a budget of over R1 500 000.00 for youth development programmes. Lastly Harry Gwala District Municipality hosts the HGD marathon on an annual basis and the budget is R 1 000 000.00.


In order to create a vibrant local economy that is essential for the well-being of our residents. We are investing R 6, 7million in initiatives designed to stimulate local economic growth. This includes support for small and medium sized enterprise, agricultural development programs and tourism promotion. We will provide training and resources to local entrepreneurs, helping them to start their businesses. Honourable speaker listed below is the few but not list.

In conclusion

This budget is a reflection of our commitment to the people of Harry Gwala District Municipality. It is roadmap for progress, designed to address our current challenges while laying the groundwork for a prosperous and sustainable future. I call upon all stakeholders, residents, businesses and community leaders to join hands with us in this endeavour. Together we can transform our municipality into beacon of development and hope.

Thank you and may we all work together for a brighter future of Harry Gwala District Municipality.

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