Church of God not a weapon

2015-09-16 06:00

THIS letter by David Lengoabala, speaker of the Dihlabeng Local Municipality, is in response to that of Roy Jankielsohn of the DA that was published in the previous edition.

LET me state from the onset that as the speaker of the council, I loathe to engage my colleagues and fellow council members in the media. My door and that of the executive mayor, council whip and the municipal manager remain open to any of our stakeholders.

The local government election season is upon us and the frenzy to identify failures by the governing party, real or imagined, has begun in earnest. Even the church of God is not spared, just to score cheap political points!

Operation Masikhulume is a programme of this very council. It was adopted unanimously and without any dissenting view during the meeting of council dated 14 February.

It is disconcerting when suddenly its legitimacy is being questioned.

We live in a democracy and public consultation and participation are the cornerstones.

Participatory democracy is a constitutional as well as a statutory obligation upon all spheres of government, on par with service delivery.

The Dihlabeng area is one of the most stable areas in the country, civic unrest are nil and all this is attributable to Operation Masikhulume. The community and the leadership of the municipality and national departments are able to engage each other proactively and not as a result of crises.

Programmes of government once adopted, get allocated resources in terms of the budget.

Attached to the budget is the Service Delivery and Budget Implementation Plan (SDBIP), which monitors and measures the implementation of the budget and its programmes.

The fact that the Masikhulume programme is implemented “religiously”, to borrow from Jankielsohn, attests to the competency of council and its officials and instead of finding fault we should be applauding them.

The assertion by Cllr Ben Venter that he was denied the opportunity to engage in the report during the meeting of council is devoid of any truth.

Venter’s thoughts at that particular time might have been elsewhere because he let the particular item on the agenda pass by and only when other items were being discussed did he want to return to that particular item.

That is not in the order of meeting procedures.

Out of sympathy and in the spirit of fairness we arranged with Venter for a one-on-one meeting to explain further the Operation Masikhulume concept and all matters he had issues with. Needless to say he did not honour our appointment, instead he ran to the “Big Brother” in the province.

The municipality does not have anything to hide; in fact, the source material used by Jankielsohn was duly and transparently disclosed in a formal report to council.

The incontrovertible truth is that the expenditure is lawful, as it was budgeted for; no service delivery was compromised and no debt obligation to Eskom or any other creditor was compromised and also importantly the procurement of goods and services was done in line with the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) and the municipal Supply Chain Management Policy and Procedures.

I want to appeal to my fellow DA colleagues that while it is their legitimate right to canvass support among voters and be seen by their rank and file membership to be a robust opposition, they should not make truth the casualty.

Please refrain from making wild and inflammatory statements or drawing the church of God into the mud-slinging.

It is just advice, take it or leave it

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