Service infrastructure plays a critical role in the development of the economy of the municipal area as well as the maintenance of environmental and health standards. Service backlogs are rampant. The other reality is that areas with huge infrastructural backlogs tend to do poorly in attracting investment. Whilst it has favourable geographical conditions, this municipality has been unable to attract established industries to come and invest in its area. If it has to meet the Millennium Development Goals targets, all spheres of government must work together to improve bulk infrastructure investment.
According to the 2001 census figures, 16% of the population have access to telecommunication in their homes either through a land line or their own cell phone. 56% have access to phones at a reasonable distance and make use of phones belonging to other persons or public telephones. 28% have no access or access at a location far from their homes.
Telkom now operates an established telecommunications network throughout the region. Telecommunications were historically limited to urban areas, but are now being promoted in remote areas by means of the Digital Enhanced Cordless Telephone System (DECT). Vodacom and MTN have also installed transmitters that provide service to 13% of households.
Access to potable water is essential to survival, human health and development. There is a link between the provision of water and sanitation services. Sewer systems depend on water for their effective functioning. Ingquza Hill is one of the areas that have been adversely affected by human settlement patterns, global warming and poor infrastructure development, which in turn limits access to potable water which impacts negatively on both the quality of life and standard of living of the community.
The previous dispensation did not prioritize the development of bulk infrastructure in rural and homeland areas, and these communities were forced to rely on natural sources of water such as rivers, streams and dams as a source of water for drinking and domestic purposes. According to Census 2001 figures, 70% of households at Ingquza Hill are dependent on natural sources of water such as boreholes, springs, tanks, rivers and dams. Only 21% of the population have access to RDP standard water in their homes. Of this 21% only 61% have access to piped water within 200 meters of their yard boundary.
The standard of living in this community will either remain the same or decline over time unless the necessary steps are taken to ensure access to water of an acceptable standard. The backlog in bulk infrastructure is a huge problem that requires urgent attention. The backlog figure for Ingquza Hill stands at approximately 80% according to Statistics SA which draws on the census results for 2001. This figure demonstrates the actual reality faced by ordinary people who need access to water to meet their daily needs.
The sanitation infrastructure is also not adequate to meet the demands of the households in the municipality. There is a high number of households with no access to sewer services and this reflects the sub standard levels of infrastructure development. Only a paltry number of households have access to a flush toilet. The majority of households are using pit latrines without ventilation or have no access to any form of toilets which may have negative impacts on both the health of the communities and the environment.
In line with the Millennium Development Goals target, the government has set the year 2012 as the deadline for halving the backlog in access to basic sanitation. The government has also set the end of 2007 as a target to eradicate the bucket system. Whilst different systems will be put in place as interim measures to improve access to sanitation, the ultimate goal is to have a flush toilet in each an every household.
The available statistics demonstrate that the previous dispensation did not give priority to investing in water and sanitation infrastructure. Backlog figures for sanitation services within the Ingquza Hill Municipality stand at around 88%.
The management of waste plays a crucial role in ensuring that communities are able to live in an environment that is conducive to their health and well being. Municipalities have an obligation to protect the environment for present and future generations and must take positive steps to minimize factors that impact negatively on the environment and the community living within the environment. Pollution is one of the factors that can lead to environmental degradation and detrimental living conditions.
The previous dispensation did little to manage and regulate the dumping of waste which led to the indiscriminate dumping of waste in close proximity to residential areas. This had dire consequences for the health and living conditions of these communities. The Ingquza Hill municipality is responsible for performing the cleansing, refuse removal, refuse dumps and solid waste disposal function. Cleansing in this context includes waste in public places, such as streets etc. The treatment and storage of waste is a bigger challenge, as suitable land has yet to be set aside and licensed for this purpose. The proliferation of settlements is also posing a serious challenge to the municipal planning process.
Currently, access to refuse removal services and cleansing is limited to the urban centres of Lusikisiki and Flagstaff. There is a general lack of access to refuse removal in the municipality with only 28% of households having access to this service. The majority of households resort to environmentally insensitive and illegal mechanisms for disposing of waste which in turn pose health risks to the community. Littering is prevalent throughout the entire municipality as is the discarding of dangerous forms of waste such as scrap metal. There is no municipal beach cleaning service in the coastal area. The Ingquza Hill has not been able to prioritize waste management.
The electricity sector has been in a state of limbo over the last few years as the electricity distribution industry (EDI) grapples with the concept of regional electricity distributors (RED’s). There is still lack of clarity about how they will relate to local government. This probably stems from the fact that policy has been driven by the electricity sector with insufficient engagement with municipalities who remain, after all, responsible for providing the electricity reticulation service in terms of the Constitution.
In principle, six REDs will be established, each with their own boundaries. The RED’s will cover the whole country. This has been approved by cabinet and the EDI is proceeding with business planning for these entities. There is a principle agreement at national level that those municipalities, which appoint RED’s as service providers, will give up their assets to the RED concerned. In return they will be given shares in the RED. Therefore the RED’s will be co-owned by national government (contributing the assets associated with Eskom’s current distribution system within the RED) and a group of municipalities. The basis for the allocating of shares has not been finalised yet. In order to compensate municipalities for the loss of revenue from sales of electricity, it has been agreed in principle that the RED will pay a levy to municipalities it serves. At this stage the basis for calculating this levy is uncertain. Outside the metros a decision has to be taken as to whether the district or local municipality will be the service authority. The current status is that the position prior to the year 2000 holds, namely that local municipalities are the authorities. This is further confirmed by the fact municipalities such as Ingquza Hill receive the electricity component of the equitable share allocation as well as the free basic electricity allocation.
77% of the households of Ingquza Hill have access to RDP standards of electricity. Extensive use is still made of other sources of energy, which can possibly be attributed to affordability levels. Wood remains the most commonly used source of energy for cooking purposes which can have serious environmental consequences. Paraffin is also commonly used as fuel for both heating and cooking purposes. Candles are also still used extensively for lighting purposes. Low usages of electricity impact negatively on the ability of the municipality to collect enough revenue from the equitable share allocation for free basic electricity. The electricity backlog for Ingquza Hill municipality stands at 23%.
Roads And Transport
Roads are essential infrastructure for attracting investment and development in the municipal area. They are also a catalyst for mobility of people and goods within the municipal area. Ingquza Hill is traversed by the R61 which links Port St Johns to Durban. This route runs through both of the commercial centres of the area namely Lusikisiki and Flagstaff. This regional road serves as access road in and around the central business districts and main road to towns nearby such as Bizana and Port St John’s.
This road is in poor condition and is not adequately maintained and evidence suggests that there is gradual decline in its condition (Qaukeni IDP, 2004). The majority of roads are district roads and are poorly maintained, especially the roads in rural areas. Most of the access roads are not tarred and have no road markings or signs. Potholes, standing water and lack of loading and off-loading facilities for passengers reduce the level of service and capacity of the roads in the municipal area.
The annual budget set aside for maintenance in the last financial period was below the acceptable standard. Resources need to be deployed to address critical areas such as road conditions, road markings and traffic signs. There is also a need to do resealing as prescribed by pavement management system to avoid the deterioration level. There is an urgent need to improve all roads within the municipality.
The majority of the population are pedestrians. A small proportion of the population make us of buses, minibus axis and private cars for transport.
There are airports listed for Bizana and Lusikisiki.