City frustrated by delays

2014-12-15 00:00

TARDY Msunduzi Municipal officials who have been delaying developments in the city were read the riot act by the Executive Committee (Exco) on Friday.

Mayor Chris Ndlela said it had reached a point where the council would have to apply the necessary regulations regarding employment conditions to deal with this tardiness.

Exco heard that big investors have been waiting for up to nine months for officials to carry out the simple task of sorting out the paperwork for land sales in the city.

Councillor Bill Lambert said it had become an embarrassment.

“Big multinational companies want to invest in this city and they have been waiting nine months for the paperwork to be sorted out on the polocrosse site. Mothers have babies to show after nine months, in this city we have nothing to show.”

He said the deputy municipal manager for economic development, Dr Ray Ngcobo, had told him that the city would see cranes in the sky before December.

“Well, it is December now and there is nothing.”

Ndlela said the entire committee shared Lambert’s frustration.

“We are losing potential investors and more importantly the opportunity to create jobs. We are all frustrated,” Ndlela said.

The mayor added that he had met with Ngcobo and told him that he was not happy with the slow pace of developments in the city.

Municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi said he could only apologise to Exco.

Nkosi said he honestly had no idea why the polocrosse land bid process was not underway as he had signed all the paperwork some time ago.

“All that was left was to advertise the sale. I don’t know why it has not been done as yet,” he said.

Nkosi added that he had spoken to all his deputy municipal managers after the previous Exco meeting and warned them that they needed to attend to all outstanding matters and that they would be personally answerable to the mayor.

Ndlela said that the situation had reached a point where they could not just talk and needed to look at what more can be done in terms of employment conditions.

“Thank you for saying that,” Lambert told the mayor, adding “it is music to my ears, we are going to need more developments to increase our rates income”.

More Delays revising rentals on properties leased by Msunduzi

ANOTHER outstanding matter that came under fire at Exco was the delay in revising the rentals on properties leased by the Msunduzi Municipality.

After the completion of the long-awaited commercial lease audit, councillors were shocked to learn that municipal land was being leased for next to nothing. There was a call for rentals to be revised.

Councillor Bill Lambert at the time pointed out that several buildings in the city centre were on council owned land and “were being offered out at ridiculous rentals and for periods of 100 years and more. Yet the lease holders were how letting them out at exhorbitant rentals.”

Last Monday’s front-page story was on the high rentals paid by government departments for premises in the city. Exco made it clear that it wanted items like the commercial lease issue dealt with.

• In March, The Witness carried a story headlined, “Municipal dithering costs city”. It told of the city losing the opportunity for an apprentice skills training facility to be developed on or in the vicinity of the polocrosse land. The facility was eventually built in Pinetown. However Barloworld, which proposed the facility, was still interested in developing a head office for its trading division in Pietermaritzburg.

Lambert said an advert announcing the sale of the land was published but later withdrawn, as there were some discrepancies that needed to be sorted out. He said it was baffling why the second advert had not been published, especially since approval had been signed by the municipal manager.

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