Date:16 December 2016 - By: Andries van Zyl
Makhado Mayor Shonisani Sinyosi paid a special visit to the office of the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror on Monday, not only to reflect on her first 100 days as mayor, but also to strengthen ties with the local media.
“Some of the targets I didn’t meet, but I have achieved many of the things I said I was going to do in my first 100 days as mayor,” Sinyosi said.
That Sinyosi had not been idle was highlighted by some of the goals she had set out to achieve, and that she is a hands-on leader, putting a high premium on engaging the public and other stakeholders on a one-to-one basis, soon became clear. These goals included paying courtesy visits to King Toni Mphephu Ramabulana and other senior traditional leaders. On a more mundane note, she recently held her mayoral imbizo feedback session at the local show grounds where she reported back to the community. A similar imbizo was held at Ha-Maila village. “You must understand that the government cannot do things alone. We need people to come and assist us. We must work together … That is why I have this programme of meeting the stakeholders of Makhado to say: ‘You know better about this town. What is it that we can do to make it better?’ They must come to assist,” Sinyosi said.
Another highlight of her first 100 days in office included handing over a newly built and fully furnished house and borehole to the Munyai family at Tshituni Tshafhasi Village. The mayor promised to build a house for one poor family in the area with her first 100 days. Previously, the Munyai family stayed in a one-room mud house. The borehole was especially welcomed by the family. “Water means life to people. By building that house [and borehole] we have put a smile on those people’s faces. They are free and even their privacy is now respected,” Sinyosi said.
The first 100 days of mayor Sinyosi’s administration also saw the completion and handing over of several major projects. These include six electrification projects and the completion and handing over of the Robert Khoza and Tshivhazwauli roads. Giving people access is something dear to Sonyosi’s heart and she also took it upon herself to have the roads in the Kutama/Sinthumule area graded. The grading of streets was one of the key issues Sinyosi identified when she took up office. Fourteen clean-up campaigns were also conducted.
Apart from a busy schedule regarding service delivery, Sinyosi is also not blind to other problems facing the Makhado municipal area. The high crime rate features high on Sinyosi’s agenda to tackle. “One of the targets I didn’t meet in my first 100 days was the issue of high mast lights, right here in town and in our townships,” Sinyosi said. She said that her focus would be to help curb the high crime rate in the municipal area. “We can assist the police, because if there are lights, crime will decrease …. but we have a plan. We even want to put up cameras around town, so that we can see the people tormenting our community – those who are making life difficult for the people of Makhado. We want to see them, so that the police can arrest them,” Sinyosi said.
Sinyosi has a clear vision for Makhado. “We are working so that the people of Makhado will get the best from us as leaders … The first thing I want to see is for the economy of Makhado to grow and that the people of Makhado are employed. That would be the main target,” said Sinyosi. Having said that, Sinyosi said that Makhado did face a major challenge and that was the lack of available electricity. However, they are in the process of addressing the matter at a higher level, including talks with Eskom. “You know that Louis Trichardt, together with Musina, has been identified as a growth point. We cannot say that it [growth] will come through dreams. We need to work hard, so that we can achieve that … We said that, come 2025, we want to see Makhado as a city. If you check, there are only nine years left,” said Sinyosi.
As for the immediate future, Sinyosi said that they had several major projects planned. “By January, we will be building some roads around Waterval, Kutama/Sinthumule and around Nzhelele. Even the Waterval stadium – we will be busy doing that.” Because of her experience, having served as a portfolio head in Council’s technical department, among others, Sinyosi is confident she will achieve her goals. “I have a lot of experience, working day in and day out. I know the challenges of service delivery … Now, as mayor, I am coming up with solutions. We need to look were we failed and come up with another solution to unlock problems … This is what I am going to do in my term as mayor,” Sinyosi said.
During her visit to the office of the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror on Monday, Makhado mayor Shonisani Sinyosi was taken on a tour of the exhibitions at the newspaper’s office. This included the newspaper’s vintage camera and micro-car display. Pictured from left to right are Ms Maita Ratshalingwa (PA to the mayor), Mr Anton van Zyl (owner of the Zoutnet group of newspapers), Mr Louis Bobodi (municipal spokesperson), Mayor Sinyosi, Mr Wikus Lee (editor of the Limpopo Mirror) and Mr Andries van Zyl (editor of the Zoutpansberger).
Andries joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in April 1993 as a darkroom assistant. Within a couple of months he moved over to the production side of the newspaper and eventually doubled as a reporter. In 1995 he left the newspaper group and travelled overseas for a couple of months. In 1996, Andries rejoined the Zoutpansberger as a reporter. In August 2002, he was appointed as News Editor of the Zoutpansberger, a position he holds until today.