UMDM a winner at municipal awards

2013-11-12 00:00

UMGUNGUNDLOVU District Municipality (UMDM) was a winner for the second year in a row in the municipal excellence awards hosted by the Department of Co- operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta).

UMDM walked off with the best performing district mayor award for Yusuf Bhamjee. It was runner-up for best community project for the Mandela Day Marathon and also runner-up for the best performing district municipality, just pipped by Uthungulu District.

Bhamjee said the awards were in recognition of the collective effort of the municipality. He said it was a tribute to both councillors and staff across the board as well as to the family of municipalities who make up the district.

Municipal manager (MM) Sibusiso Khuzwayo said the awards were in recognition of the district’s turnaround strategy that brought it from the doldrums of incompetence and inefficiencies to the current “force to be reckoned with”.

According to Khuzwayo, the municipality continues to be financially sound and viable. UMDM has received five consecutive unqualified audits, after previously having three disclaimers in a row. He said this was the direct result of financial discipline, productivity and unwavering commitment to service delivery.

“We acknowledge possible gaps in our service offering, but we are constantly looking for opportunities for performance improvement,” he added.

Khuzwayo said their current drive was on the environment or ecological infrastructure. “In this regard, UMDM had secured funding from the United Nations for a soon-to-be launched programme on climate change and the mayor will be commenting more on this aspect within the next 10 days,” Khuzwayo said.

The municipality had also been awarded R300 million in donor funding from the Dutch government for its infrastructure development. According to Khuzwayo, the funding had been given in two phases. “We have completed the development phase … We are awaiting the Dutch Government to approve the next and final phase of implementation, which should be concluded by December 15, 2013. We have every reason to believe that we will start the implementation phase in April 2014,” he said.

The municipal manager added that there were a number of exciting environmental projects that the municipality had started and was working on in partnership with other organisations such as the Duzi-Umgeni Conservation Trust (Duct).

“We have an enviro champion project and an ‘Imagine uMgungundlovu’ Project. This is a visioning project, in partnership with Duct, to be incorporated into the District Growth and Development Plan to be concluded by March.”

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