Mbombela cuts free meals for managers

2017-08-20 06:13
Neil Diamond. Picture: Alberton Rekord

Neil Diamond. Picture: Alberton Rekord

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Management at the City of Mbombela will have to be content with just water, tea and coffee at meetings, after the municipality’s new manager, Neil Diamond, put a stop to meals being served at the gatherings as part of drastic cost-cutting measures meant to improve the finances of the cash-strapped municipality.

The city has been struggling to service its huge Eskom debt, and pay service providers as well as workers and councillors on time.

Diamond, who took up the job on July 1, is acting in the position for 18 months.

Two months ago, the municipality served 77 employees with letters of intent to suspend them for incurring R755m in irregular expenditure over the past two financial years.

As a result, its previous municipal manager, Noko Seanego, and chief financial officer, Oupa Mokoena, suddenly resigned.

When the 77 employees were served with the letters, it emerged that contractors had been paid for installing streets lights and replacing 500 prepaid meters but that the work had not been done.

One contractor was paid for drilling 300 boreholes but none was found.

“Mbombela faces serious financial challenges but it is not unique … 263 municipalities in the country are facing the same challenges.

"We have to start at management. No meals will be served at management meetings … only water, tea and coffee,” Diamond said.

He cited as one of the reasons behind the decision the inflation of prices by suppliers, some of whom he said increased their prices by up to 75% when selling to the municipality.

“We have to deal with that,” he said.

“We can only fix the financial instability in two ways – cutting expenditure without necessarily affecting service delivery and enhancing revenue collection,” he said.

In order to turn things around, Diamond said that he had:

- Reduced the Eskom debt from R180m to just R95m, which is the municipality’s monthly bill;

- Intervened in the supply chain management unit to reduce irregular expenditure with a special focus on wasteful expenditure;

- Implemented a revenue enhancement and protection strategy;

- Cancelled certain contracts and renegotiated others;

- Ring-fenced various budgets; and

- Paid all service providers owed a maximum of R29 000 with more payments scheduled.

He said another critical area for revenue enhancement was collecting payments from third parties that were using the city’s commercial and residential properties and adjusting the property valuation roll.

“There are properties worth R3.5m but they appear in the city’s books as being worth R900 000. The valuation roll needs to be adjusted.

“We will also improve our billing systems so that our clients can receive their statements electronically, and use our advertising space to collect more revenue,” said Diamond.

Mpumalanga cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Refilwe Mtshweni seconded Diamond to the position after he had been acknowledged for his 16 years’ experience in municipal finance and having served in various capacities in the City of Ekurhuleni’s finance committees as an ANC councillor.

Several candidates applied for the position following Seanego’s resignation.

Read more on:    neil diamond  |  municipality

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
Watch: Investing in the future through child development

An investment of R32-million into 11 early childhood development centres is changing the future for children in the Northern Cape.

/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.