‘Going green’: a paperless Newcastle

2011-11-10 00:00

THE local municipality of Newcastle in northern KwaZulu-Natal will soon be run without vast amounts of unnecessary paper, its mayor, Afzul Rehman, said on Sunday.

Rehman said his idea of sending agenda links to cellphones and laptops will save his municipality more than R1 million per year.

“It’s a matter of exploiting existing technologies to our advantage. I looked at how much we spend on printing and photocopying agendas for 61 councillors comprising Exco and council members, delivering these to libraries, over 30 municipal officials and local media.

“The cost to do this amounts to R1,5 million annually, and since we started having a paperless Exco last month, the difference is already showing,” said Rehman.

He said that with the COP17 climate change conference at the end of this month highlighting environmental issues, changing to new technology is one way of “going green” and contributing positively to the environment.

All Exco members in the municipality have laptops and have been trained to use them.

The mayor himself has an iPad and says he finds it easy to disseminate information. “The next step is for all council members to have laptops, provided that they agree to pay for them over a period of at least two years.

“This will make it easy for everyone to view agendas, budgets and other information they feel is relevant to them. Everything will be transparent as people will be able to view who won what tender. This new system, when fully implemented, will save the ratepayers money,” said Rehman.

He said he has been approached by an oversees company that is interested in the idea and is looking forward to contributing where it can to make the mayor’s project a success.

• chris.ndaliso@witness.co.za

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