City seeks R100 million

2011-09-14 00:00

MSUNDUZI Mayor Chris Ndlela disclosed yesterday that the council has applied for a R102 million loan to improve the city’s ageing infrastructure.

Giving a report-back on his first 100 days in office, he said the council is awaiting a response from the Development Bank of Southern Africa.

Describing his first 100 days as an “uphill battle”, Ndlela said he wants to meet former mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo and ex-municipal manager Rob Haswell to hear why the city declined so under their watch.

“When we are building a nation we ought to forget about the negative, painful past and focus on the positive future.

“Meeting Mr Haswell and Mrs Hlatshwayo would help me get their side of the story because I have seen a lot of reports about them, but I have not been able to speak to them.”

Contacted by The Witness, Hlatshwayo and Haswell both said they are keen to meet Ndlela.

Ndlela said Haswell alone cannot bear all the blame for the municipality’s decline.

“From what I understand the downfall of the municipality was conducted by a number of people, so it would be unfair to single out one person.

“I have met former mayor Hloni Zondi, Mike Tarr and former municipal manager Thabani Zulu and even met the ordinary members of the public to find out their feelings,” he said.

Ndlela said any prosecutions arising from the financial collapse will be up to law enforcement agencies.

Dealing with more specific challenges, Ndlela said illegal connections cost the council millions of rands.

Ndlela also touched on his favourite subject — the need to get taxi associations to get pupils to school on time, because he deplores seeing pupils loitering in the city during school hours.

Democratic Alliance caucus leader Bill Lambert said it would be illuminating to know the outcome of the meeting between Haswell and the mayor.

He scored the mayor seven out of 10 for his first 100 days in office.

“He is a good leader with presence and a dignity that befits the office of our first citizen,” he added.

Lambert said the mayor has a difficult task because the municipality is under administration, and although he might have a degree of influence he cannot make final decisions.

“Nonetheless he is attempting to be inclusive [and] fair, and we wish him well for the rest of his term.

“Unfortunately he could not score higher because the blot on his copybook was when he had the opportunity to be inclusive in the nomination of members for the KwaNaloga conference, when the ANC hogged all 10 positions,” said Lambert.

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