Ward councillors lash out

2009-09-03 00:00

WARD councillors lashed out at a se­nior official during a special full council workshop yesterday, accusing him of making fools of them by deliberately not including their requests in a document tabled at the meeting.

Deputy municipal manager for infrastructure services Phil Mashoko faced the verbal wrath of ward councillors during a presentation of how his department would be spending its budget for the ward councillor priority projects.

ANC councillor Musawenkosi Mchunu said “ward councillors are being fooled” because Mashoko’s business unit was being selective about which projects to implement.

He said councillors had taken the time and effort to go out to their various wards in order to find out which deve­lopments were necessary, but these were not reflected in the document.

Council speaker Alpha Shelembe said Mashoko needed to explain what criteria his department had used to identify which projects would be implemented, and which would be left on the wayside.

Mashoko said there were some projects which were more of a priority than others, but the problem the unit was facing was that the requests went beyond the means they had.

ANC councillor Henry Ngubane said he had a problem with the document.

“This is not a true reflection of what is happening in the wards. We [ward councillors] know what we’re talking about,” said Ngubane.

Municipal manager Rob Haswell also berated Mashoko and said some ward councillors were having a difficult time locating projects due to the nature of the document.

“I’m supporting what the ward councillors are saying. It’s difficult in the format presented to us to see which projects are where,” he said.

Haswell said Mashoko needed to ensure that the input of ward councillors was reflected very strongly as this was necessary for the capital budget.

Haswell said in order for the document to be more understandable to the ward councillors, it needed to be directed towards their needs. Thus, Mashoko must prepare a revised document which must be presented to them tomorrow.

ANC councillor Patrick Moon said one of the major problems was that officials were not attending portfolio committee meetings where decisions were being made.

Therefore, documents were being forwarded to Exco meetings where PR councillors, who had no idea of what was happening in various wards, were making decisions, said Moon.

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