Public may have say in municipal awards

2007-11-26 00:00

This follows recommendations made by Local Government MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu to boost municipal performance in the province and comments by members of the public that the awards judges are not critical enough.

Mabuyakhulu advocated that strategies be devised to involve the public and that performance reports be submitted for scrutiny by independent evaluators.

Eyebrows were raised at the recent Vuna awards when uMngeni Municipality was announced as best performing in service delivery and infrastructure

development, municipal transformation, and good governance, despite an ongoing forensic investigation.

The uMngeni Municipality is one of 33 municipalities under forensic investigation since 2005 and three new forensic investigations were initiated this year following allegations of fraud and corruption by council staff.

The municipality has been in the spotlight for steep rates hikes.

Earlier this year, a furore erupted over the purchase of a R1,7 million mayoral residence in Hilton for Mayor Edward Dladla.

The salary package of over R1 million of municipal manager Dumisani Vilakazi has also been criticised by the provincial legislature and members of the public.

Lennox Mabaso, spokesman for Mabuyakhulu, said to be nominated for the Vuna awards, municipalities had to show excellence in six categories set by the Local Government Department. The fact that a municipality is subject to a forensic investigation does not bar it from entering the Vuna Awards.

“We cannot rubbish a whole municipality because a few people have been implicated in corruption and fraud,” Mabaso said.

thabi@witness.co.za

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