Committee lambasts City

2017-04-26 14:00
Panel calls for no bonuses, finds call centre non-functional.

Panel calls for no bonuses, finds call centre non-functional. (File)

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The Municipal Public Accounts Committee, tasked with playing an oversight role at Msunduzi, has slammed numerous aspects of the way the municipality is operating.

The committee rated the City’s performance for 2015/16 as “poor”, and called for municipal officials not to be paid performance rewards or incentives.

The report, prepared by committee chairperson Mary Schalkwyk, then goes on to criticise the City’s performance in the current financial year.

The committee took exception to the management’s sketchy responses to Auditor-General Kimi Makwethu, which contained too little information.

Makwethu condemned the City to a qualified audit opinion — a step down from the clean audit opinion they received in the previous term.

The report by the committee — dated March 30, 2017 — implies the City could have prevented repeat findings by Makwethu had it implemented recommendations of the city’s internal audit unit.

The report orders acting municipal manager Sizwe Hadebe to submit to them a “comprehensive” monthly report on the internal tracking tool on the outstanding audit queries.

The oversight visits by the committee had also found that the City’s call centre is “non-functional”.

The committee called for “stringent measures” to be taken to address the issue of the call centre “as a matter of urgency”.

The report reveals the non-functioning of the call centre had led to the whistle-blowing hotline being used to report service delivery issues.

Also not responding to calls “adequately”, is the City’s disaster management unit, the report said.

It found the unit was not capacitated to respond “adequately” to disaster related calls.

The report by the committee, which is formed by councillors from various political parties represented in the council, lambasted the City for the “non-existence” of maintenance plans for parks and cemeteries, especially those in the greater Edendale area.

The report called on the general manager for community services, Boniwe Zulu, to address the absence of appropriate record-keeping of all graves within the municipality.

The Witness recently ran a story about a man who had been struggling for a year to find the grave of relatives, his grandmother and brother, at Ethembeni Cemetery and had not been given assistance by officials.

The committee’s oversight visit also found there was inadequate maintenance of community halls.

“The general manager for community services [must] submit a comprehensive plan on the maintenance of halls which will ensure that facilities are thoroughly checked before and after the events and caretakers be allocated to all halls throughout the municipality to prevent vandalism and ensuring their upkeeping,” Schalkwyk said in the report.

The committee also wants a stand-alone law enforcement unit to be established with a view to intensifying the monitoring of compliance with all municipal bylaws.

Lack of enforcement has contributed to the decay noted within the city, the report said.

Msunduzi spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha did not respond to queries sent to her.

OTHER ISSUES RAISED BY THE COMMITTEE

A high job vacancy rate throughout the municipality, which has a negative impact on service delivery.

Water loss, which is sitting at 33,3% as per the annual report and electricity loss of R181,96 million.

The unresolved challenges in relation to the housing rental stock as clearly outlined in the annual report, noting that these problems have been ongoing for several years, continuing without any improvement and outstanding debt continues to escalate.


Read more on:    pietermarizburg  |  msunduzi municipality

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