Unusual, but Umvoti residents need answers

2017-02-22 06:01

It is most unusual to publish a letter to the Editor on the front page of a newspaper, but the Greytown Gazette received the following this week and believes that the contents are such that all Umvoti residents should request answers from the Municipality.The letter, written by local ratepayers, states:

On 25 February 2015 Greytown Gazette reported “Umvoti has a new Mayor”, on 15 July 2015 Greytown Gazette reported “Mayor’s lifestyle cost ratepayers plenty”, on 9 March 2016 Greytown Gazette reported “Umvoti Municipality ranked 183rd in SA. (183rd out of 234 Municipalities) and on 6 April 2016 Greytown Gazette reported “Will there ever be water in Craigieburn pipeline”. So the saga continues.

We were all surprised when the Municipality decided to buy a concrete mixer truck and various other road work equipment at the expense of ratepayer without following tender procedures.

This was hotly debated at Council and a resolution was passed to return the concrete mixer and recoup the funds. But two years later the mixer still lies unused and with no number plate in the Engineers yard.At the time the amount said to have been paid was R23 million for equipment now gathering dust.

Let us change focus from procurement to advertising..According to the Greytown Gazette dated 15th February 2017 an advertisement on page 8 was that the Mid-Year Budget and Performance Assessment were tabled, but only the Annual Report is available – nothing on the website. . The meeting where the Annual Report was to be discussed should have been open to the public and should have been advertised.The Acting Municipal Manager however called a special meeting and did not notify the public in the local press.

Furthermore COGTA informed the Municipality , in a letter dated 29th November 2016 that its appointment of the Acting Municipal Manager was unlawful and that the matter should be rectified within seven days otherwise legal action would be taken against the Municipality in terms of the Act. To date the Municipality has not responded to the demand from COGTA>

Section 54A of the Systems Act deals with the appointment of an Acting Municipal Manager, it also stipulates the appointment is null and void if, the person does not have the prescribed skills, expertise, competencies or qualifications or the appointment was made in contravention of this Act.

We will be following the next issues of the Greytown Gazette with considerable interest in the hope that the Municipality might provide answers to some of the above and other queries as what is happening to the Umvoti plantations for which Mondi paid a rent of a much needed over R3 million a year.

The lease which expired last November has not been renewed –the Municipal Finance Management Act does not permit the private lease out.

Surely Umvoti residents are entitled to know whether the Municipality intends to take over the running of this extremely valuable asset(considerable expertise being required)or is considering chopping the trees down to build houses?

We will be following the next issues of the Greytown Gazette with considerable interest in the hope that the municipality might provide answers to some of these and other queries about what is happening to the Umvoti plantations for which Mondi paid a rent of a much-needed over R3 million a year

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