uMngeni’s new head brings turnaround plan

2012-10-03 00:00

UMNGENI Municipality, once on the brink of collapse and without a manager for three years, has finally found the man it hopes will turn things around.

At one stage the situation was so dire that the municipality survived on grants to fund its operations.

Provincial authorities proposed that it be placed under financial administration.

Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) last year proposed the appointment of a financial administrator to draft a recovery plan.

Its manager then, Dumisani Vilakazi, was axed in June 2010 and the municipality had struggled to find a suitable candidate.

The appointment of Mpilo Ngubane (44), who is regarded as an expert in local government issues, is seen as a blessing for the municipality.

Ngubane was municipal manager with the Mandeni Municipality until 2011, and left after he allegedly received death threats from individuals who wanted to access government tenders illegally.

Ngubane left after four years, leaving Mandeni looking financially healthier than when he found it in 2008.

He said that although the uMngeni Municipality was not yet out of the woods, its mayor and her office had done well to keep it afloat.

Ngubane said he needed three months to assess the challenges facing Umngeni.

“I will use this time to look into policies, procedures and internal programmes to put systems in place [to create efficiencies],” he said.

Ngubane has had residents march against him alleging he was corrupt. He dismissed this as a rent-a-crowd action by individuals aggrieved by his actions to stop the abuse of tenders in the run-up to the 2011 local government elections.

“I was cleared by two investigations and I would not have been endorsed by the MEC in my new post if she did not check my track record.”

Ngubane was born in uMsinga and grew up in Esikhawini. He holds two doctorates in public administration and honours and masters degrees in business administration.

He said he did not mix politics and work and would encourage his employees to do the same. “I don’t want to get involved in politics. Mine is to understand the policies of the government of the day and be able to implement their programmes without interference from anyone.”

He cautioned staff members against bringing politics into the workplace.

“We need to keep our eyes on service delivery as the administration and leave politics to politicians,” he said.

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