East London – Officials from the newly established Buffalo City metro have assured residents that they will be provided with better service delivery.
Speaking a week after the local government elections, Buffalo City Metro compliance manager, Lawrence Valeta, said the metro will have exclusive authority over all local government matters, including building regulations, local tourism, municipal airports, health services, public transport, water and sanitation and general municipal planning.
“Becoming a metro will allow the municipality to improve service delivery, recreate itself and re-engineer the way service delivery is rendered,” said Valeta on Wednesday.
Valeta added that metro status would also enable the municipality to better address rural development.
“With regard to rural development, the city has an opportunity to uplift its surrounding rural areas by ensuring that all our development plans are ward-based and equitable across both urban and rural sectors of the municipality,” said Valeta.
Metro communications manager, Keith Ngesi, said the change to metro status would involve changing its council and mandate, vision and mission statement, as well as drafting a new service delivery and customer care service charter.
He added that a programme to elevate the metro’s social and economic development would also be introduced.
“Over the next five to 10 years, the city will focus on a targeted infrastructure development programme that will see the upgrading of infrastructure to support economic and social development,” said Ngesi.
Asanda Charlie (24), a resident of Jongilanga village, one of the villages included in the metro following a demarcation process, said he wanted to see a difference “between what was, and what will be”.
“I hope this new metro status will not just be a status by name. As a resident of a metro, I want to see changes and better governance,” said Charlie. – Thando Cezula, BuaNews