iLembe strategising to move forward

2016-10-26 06:00
Members of the Executive Committee of iLembe (from left) councillors Sandeep Oudhram, Msawenkosis Maphumulo and Aubrey Baardman and the chairperson of Municipal Public Accounts Committee councillor Desmond Mpofu. Photo: supplied

Members of the Executive Committee of iLembe (from left) councillors Sandeep Oudhram, Msawenkosis Maphumulo and Aubrey Baardman and the chairperson of Municipal Public Accounts Committee councillor Desmond Mpofu. Photo: supplied

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THE strategic planning session of the iLembe District Municipality for the 2016 – 2021 period began on Monday morning, 24 October at the eBandla Hotel and Conference Centre in Ballito.

The session – which will end on Thursday – will see the new council, management, sector departments and other relevant stakeholders come up with resolutions to guide the development of the municipality during the current council’s term of office.

Setting the tone for the session, mayor of iLembe District Municipality Sduduzo Gumede said it is important for the municipality to perform its functions as required by the constitution.

“The strategic planning should chart a path towards the municipality effectively and efficiently performing district municipal functions as enshrined in Section 84 of the Municipal Structures Act.”

Addressing the session, Gumede said ideas were expected from everyone as this was not a session for the ruling party alone.

“People should always be at the centre and our decisions should always be influenced by the needs of our people,” he said.

Gumede revealed that at the end of the 2015/16 financial year, 22.8% of residents did not have access to water and 20% did not have access to decent sanitation.

“Great strides have been made during the previous term of office in ensuring adequate service provision.

“However, there are still areas that are without access to water and decent sanitation.

“It will be a task of this strategic planning session to derive targets for significantly reducing this backlog before end of councils’ term in 2021,” he said.

He also spoke about a disconnection between iLembe’s bulk infrastructure roll-out programme and the provision of government subsidised housing by the local municipalities.

“Local municipalities have been invited to present their housing priorities for the next five years so we can ensure that our planning in relation to infrastructural development is aligned,” he said.

Speaking on the financial status of the municipality, Gumede said regardless of the challenges the municipality has managed to achieve two consecutive clean audit opinions.

“We need to strive to be a viable municipality. Attaining a clean audit opinion must be supplemented by being financially viable.”

With the recent identification of iLembe District as a renewable energy hub, Gumede said the district’s development agency, Enterprise iLembe has to reposition itself in order to take advantage of opportunities presented by this hub.

“Enterprise iLembe must lead the economic development of the District in partnership with provincial and national government to ensure that our economy grows and it becomes more inclusive.”

Day one of the session also included presentations from stakeholders such as Eskom, Umgeni Water and Siza Water as well as departments of Water and Sanitation, Corporate Governance and Traditional Affairs, Stats SA and other relevant stakeholders.
These presentations focused on the plans that the stakeholders put forward to support service delivery in the district over the next five years.

Day two of the session saw presentations by the municipal departments, including Enterprise iLembe, the audit and risk committees as well as the presentations by the local municipalities on their housing priorities.

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