Nongoma boss upbeat in spite of problems

2012-11-14 00:00

NEW Nongoma municipal manager Bonga Ntanzi does not believe his council is riddled with corruption — despite his predecessor being convicted for theft.

Former municipal boss Prince V.P. Zulu (41) was found guilty of stealing a municipal tractor and then selling it for R8 000. Zulu has appealed.

Zulu was sentenced by the Ulundi Regional Court on September 5, almost a year after his arrest in the same month in 2011. He received six years in jail.

At the time of Zulu’s sentencing, Nongoma Mayor Jeremiah Mavundla said several councillors in the NFP-led municipality initiated an investigation into Zulu last year, after it was found that three municipal vehicles, including the tractor, “had gone missing”.

Investigating officer Captain Bhekizenzo Mbuyisa managed to trace the tractor to Vryheid, where it had been sold.

Despite this setback and embarrassment for the council, Ntanzi said Nongoma had every possibility of flourishing economically, if its employees and natural resources were properly put into use. He declined to comment on Zulu’s case.

According to StatsSA Census2011 figures, 194 908 people live in the municipality, considered to be the seat of the Zulu monarchy, of which half the population is aged between 15 and 64.

But what is most striking from the statistics is how under-developed the council is in almost all sectors, except for primary school enrolment, which is at 93%.

With youth unemployment hovering at around 59% and general unemployment sitting at 49%, the need for an economic revival couldn’t be higher. But unemployment indicators have dropped by at least 20% since the last census.

Nongoma’s current economic drivers are mining, tourism, agriculture and retail.

“The challenge is to balance the huge expectations of the residents with the limited available financial resources. I don’t have a sense that corruption is a widespread problem within the council.”

Ntanzi said the test was to remain vigilant and improve monitoring systems.

One area he said he wanted to strengthen was internal auditing.

He said the council had a dedicated staff to promote tourism in the municipality.

“As the seat of the Zulu Kingdom, Nongoma is running tourism awareness campaigns that revolve around our monarchy,” said Ntanzi.

Other facts about Nongoma Municipality:

• Those with a matric: 27%

• Those with no formal

schooling: 20%

• Female-headed

households: 60%

• Formal dwellings: 64%

• Houses owned/being paid off: 62,8%

• Houses with a flushing

toilet: 6%

• Weekly refuse removal: 4%

• Electricity access: 63%.

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