‘Give me three months’

2012-01-04 00:00

THREE months. That’s the length of the honeymoon new city boss, Mxolisi Nkosi, has asked Msunduzi’s long-suffering residents to grant him.

That’s the period he believes he needs for a proper diagnosis of the city’s challenges and to come up with a plan to help solve its myriad problems.

Nkosi started his first day as municipal manager yesterday, undaunted by the scale of the task before him, which includes the lack of a chief financial officer and that all his senior managers are in acting positions.

On his immediate to do list is to get a deputy municipal manager for infrastructure services. His three priorities include resolving electricity and water challenges, cleaning up the city, and filling critical posts.

Nkosi is well aware of the difficulties the city’s residents have endured as a result of ongoing power outages, including over the festive season. The other critical post he plans to fill as a matter of urgency is that of deputy manager in charge of community services. This is so that street cleaning and the appalling state of garden refuse sites gets sorted out.

It was important to fill these positions urgently, so that there was proper leadership in these critical posts, Nkosi said.

Just by reading yesterday’s letters in the Witness, he could tell how angry and frustrated residents were at the power outages.

Asked whether, for example, he was prepared to walk the talk and move to Hilton, where residents continue to live with blackouts, he said: “I currently live in Durban, but I am prepared to live in any part of Msunduzi including the Hilton area, but it is just that I cannot afford to right now.”

Nkosi said his family is based in Durban and he has an extended family to support in Nquthu, so it is not a matter of just moving cities.

However, he added: “We would like all the people of Msunduzi to be able to live in any part of the city without having to be hindered by lack of service delivery or as a result of lack of professional services in that particular area. We want service to be priority number one in Msunduzi.

“We understand what our consumers and citizens have been going through regarding the state of our electricity and water, so it is important to reassure them that we will use all our energy and resources to show that we care,” he said.

He said Exco members had already entered into a tripartite agreement with the Independent Development Trust (IDT) and the Department of Energy to solving the issues of electricity infrastructure problems.

“This will give the IDT powers to implement a contingency plan to sort out the city’s electricity problems without having to go through the stringent procurement channels,” said Nkosi. He pledged not to throw away the good work that had already been done by the city’s former administrator, Sibusiso Sithole, and others.

“We will work on their recommendations and I will also be working closely with Exco in identifying the problems the city faces,” said Nkosi.

Opposition parties were also mindful yesterday that Nkosi was starting at a distinct disadvantage. Speaking at a Executive Committee meeting attended by Nkosi, Democratic Alliance caucus leader, Bill Lambert said: “This is a new dawn. Today we can turn the page from our dreadful past. We need to support Nkosi in his efforts to bring back to where we belong as a once proud and glorious city. Don’t let’s kid ourselves. It’s going to be a very tough assignment,” said Lambert.

Lambert said he believes that Nkosi was up to this daunting task. “I pledge the support of the DA as we strive to be the ‘City of Choice’ and a worthy capital city again,” he added.

Inkatha Freedom Party caucus leader, Dolo Zondi said: “We are happy that Nkosi has started and hope that there will be no hindrance for him when conducting his professional duties. We hope that there will not be any political interference from the ruling party. We know that if all suspended officials were not afraid to talk they would speak about the political interference,” said Zondi.He also urged that Nkosi be given a chance.

Nkosi is the former municipal manager of Kokstad and more recently worked as head of ministry in the KZN’s Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department.

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