Msunduzi fares well in survey of metros

2008-12-14 00:00

A COMPARATIVE survey that measured the country’s municipalities, including the Msunduzi Municipality, in terms of a municipal productivity index makes for interesting reading.

The MPI comprises five factors:

1. Extent of poverty and municipal response to poverty within a municipality, through the provision of free basic services.

2. Access to a minimum level of municipal services to reflect the backlogs within a municipality and, therefore, its developmental potential.

3. Economic “intelligence”, as suggested by:

a. infrastructure that has a bearing on productivity by providing access to economic activity;

b. the human capital base and the use of available skills, and

c. economic activity, as reflected by sectoral employment at the municipal level, extrapolated from GDP data.

4. Financial governance, as reflected by expenditure patterns.

5. Occupancy (the converse to vacancy) rates in the municipal administration.

Nine cities, including Msunduzi and the two other aspirant metros of Mangaung (Bloemfontein) and Buffalo City (East London), were judged along with the country’s six established metros.

Ranked seventh, Msunduzi compared favourably with the six metros in terms of access to services and staff occupancy rates, but scored lower in poverty response, economic intelligence and financial governance.

Encouragingly, Msunduzi ranked highest of the trio of new metros when all five factors are taken into consideration.

But the real surprise is that Msunduzi recorded the largest improvement in terms of addressing the shortfalls highlighted by the survey from 2007 and 2008.

But, as municipal manager Rob Haswell pointed out, much more improvement in all areas of the city’s operation is needed.

Silly season

THE annual Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business lunch is the signal that the festive season has officially arrived.

Like the jacaranda blossoms that remind students of the reason they’re at university, the PCB lunch marks the beginning of the year’s end and the start of the silly season.

Guests at the lunch got into the swing of things with gusto and, by all appearances, thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Party pooper

THE festive season is indeed upon us and some lavish parties are in the offing this month if the requests for funding from the Mayor’s Parlour is anything to go by.

For instance, a ceremony “in appreciation of HIV and Aids volunteers” is budgeted to cost R800 000, while the Christmas tree lighting function needs R50 000.

The organisers of two other events, the historically ill-fated Umphithi Music Festival and a Christmas party for the elderly and orphans, have set their aims a trifle higher though, and would like R1,5 million each.

We’re not sure that these functions are deserving of this lavish expenditure, and more so under the tough economic circumstances. To our mind, the R3 850 000 should be spent more fruitfully on deserving causes.

As a matter of interest, how many cookies, cooldrinks, and chips does R1,5 million buy?

Trawler alert

SEVERAL reports suggest that illegal fishing from trawlers is rampant along the Wild Coast. The authorities are less than vigilant about the abuse of this precious resource, especially within the Pondoland protected marine zone.

It is understood vessels illegally enter the 12 km protected zone to trawl or drop pot traps, and in an attempt to compose a complete picture, evidence is being collected about these activities.

For this reason, visitors to the region are urged to keep a look-out for any suspicious activity and record as much information as possible, especially the time and place, any other detail and, better still, photos or any other eyewitness evidence.

Please e-mail this information to and include your contact details.

Boldy forward

FEW companies are better acquainted with the vicissitudes of manufacturing than TDM, which recently announced a new executive team.

Directors Ute Bunge, Hannes Scharf and Martin Scharf have vested full confidence in the ability and talent of the new team to take this proud Pietermaritzburg company forward, and will play a supporting role as non-executive board members.

Effective from November 3, TDM is led by CEO Gary Smith, chief financial officer Keith Dacomb, Chris Powell (general manager: marketing) and Stuart Holliday (general manager: products).

We wish the leadership and TDM family well in these challenging times.

Say it in Zulu

TIRED of sounding silly and ignorant when called on to say a word or two in Zulu, journalist-cum-evironmentalist Pam Sherriffs has penned a little book to make conversing a lot easier.

Forgive Me, I’m an Impatient Mlungu, takes one through a series of 52 everyday topics, including cooking, cleaning, commuting, football, beauty, and even the loss of a loved one.

The adage about potent muthi in small bottles applies – the booklet fits comfortably in the back pocket of a pair of jeans – and Sherriffs has produced a highly recommended buy that is relevant, logical, easy to use, and even offers a dollop or two of dry humour.

Copies are available from several outlets, including Exclusive Books and World of Books at Cascades, or by contacting Sherriffs directly at 083 943 1754 or pamelas@

Warning echo

SPEAKING of books, Craig Elstop of fame has reproduced a remarkable chronicle of life in the Great Karoo more than a century ago.

The book belongs in an Africana library, if for no other reason that Manna in the Desert speaks sonorously, and sometimes sanguinely, of times long gone and an enduring love for the land and its creatures, domesticated and wild, that roamed the plains.

There is a sad subtext though, one that reflects on the cycle of life as much as it does on irretrievable loss.

In the context of the late 1870s, this translated to a ruinous drought that seemingly also extinguished some wildlife. The ecological catastrophe affected the writer deeply as seen by his comments that several birds, and even animals, were no longer heard or seen after the drought.

For reasons to do with loss, and man’s part in stepping up the march to extinction, this aspect of the book resonated eerily with our understanding of global warming.

Cheap business

NOT all things go up in price or cost more, as a 1980 copy of Biznews, the mouthpiece of the then Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Commerce and Industries, illustrates.

Back then, a copy of the magazine cost 50 cents. Today the publication, produced under the auspices of the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business, is free.

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