R1 bln debt to be recovered

2012-06-01 00:00

THE Msunduzi Municipality will prioritise the collection of R1 billion in outstanding debt in the 2012/13 financial year, Mayor Chris Ndlela has said.

Presenting the R3,2 billion budget, which was unanimously approved during a full council meeting on Wednesday, Ndlela said presenting the budget — the first to be tabled by the municipality since its emergence from provincial administration — was like a dream come true for the council and Msunduzi residents. The final operating budget is R2,987 billion, with expenditure capped at R2,982 billion.

“As we emerge from an era that should never come back to revisit us, we are today closing this chapter and gradually but surely moving towards [becoming] a city of choice; second to none,” Ndlela said.

Municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi said 25 new posts will be created for new employees to pursue people who owed Msunduzi money. The team will be divided into sections to deal with government, business and residential debts.

In addition, all senior municipal officials would sign performance agreements by the end of June. This was to ensure that the aims of the budget were met, said Nkosi.

DA caucus leader Bill Lambert said the municipality’s focus should now be on the effective implementation of the budget “to ensure that we achieve or even exceed our revenue collection targets, keep expenses within budget and eliminate wasteful expenditure”.

He said he would like to see the plan to recover R1 billion owed to the municipality at the end of April succeed. “We will be giving this area our close attention,” said Lambert, adding that the budget marked a turnaround for Msunduzi for the better.

IFP caucus leader Dolo Zondi welcomed confirmation in the budget that the water tariff would increase by 15% instead of 22% as originally proposed.

He was also happy that Ndlela had spoken of the need to de-politicise the municipal administration.

“As it stands, the municipality has political deployment from the head right down to ordinary workers on the ground, which is something that negatively impacts the running of the council,” said Zondi.

NFP caucus leader Ntokozo Bhengu said they supported the budget’s provision for capital projects, like the creation of malls to benefit the Greater Vulindlela area. This would create employment and ease the burden of people in rural areas, who constantly had to travel to do their shopping, he added.

• thobani.ngqulunga@witness.co.za

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