BCM residents expressed mixed feelings about Virtual IDP meetings

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Nosipho Haya-Komisa

Buffalo City Metro municipality continues to hold its annual integrated development plan engagements using online platforms.

The Metro has kickstarted its 2022/2023 financial year Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and Budget.

Buffalo City Metro Executive Mayor, Xola Pakati is leading a Municipal delegation to interact with communities virtually.

The Metro decided to convene its IDP meetings using virtual platforms following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic

Residents are utilising IDP meetings to inform the municipality about the issues they want to be part of the metro’s IDP.

However, some residents have expressed mixed feelings about the Metro’s decision to hold IDP meetings virtually even though some of the COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.

Scenery park resident Sibulele Ngabayena has appealed to the Metro to consider holding the IDP meetings physically as this will provide the residents with enough time to raise their concerns.

He further said that IDP’s part of the public participation is enshrined in the Constitution of the republic.

Another Duncan Village resident who didn’t want her name to be mentioned
has applauded Buffalo City Metro for giving the public a platform to raise their concerns, she has urged community members to use WiFi hotspots available in their locality to participate in the meetings.

“Thank you BCM for these virtual IDP meetings and I also want to urge all BCM residents to use every WiFi hotspot in the Metro to connect to their gadgets so that they can be part of the meeting,” she said.

She added that Metro’s decision to hold virtual IDP meetings means that they will be accessible to every community member including the workers.

She has appealed to those who can afford to purchase data to share their gadgets with the poor as part of maximising community participation in the virtual IDP meetings.

Buffalo City Metro spokesperson Samnkelo Ngwenya said that to curb the spread of COVID-19, the City has decided to use online platforms to interact with its residents during IDP roadshows.

“In previous years, Metro residents gathered in community halls and stadiums to indicate to the City leadership what they wanted to see happening in their wards, and what they wanted to be included in the IDP. With fears of a fifth wave and some limitations on massive gatherings, communities are being asked to make their submissions through community radio stations and on online platforms” he said.

Ngwenya has urged residents to practice their rights by participating in the IDP meetings.

“The City is therefore calling on people to fully participate on the roadshows as they assist the Metro in planning for its upcoming fiscal year,” said Ngwenya.

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