uMgungundlovu wins top award

2012-09-17 00:00

JUST six years ago the uMgungundlovu District Municipality was staring bankruptcy in the face.

Four years ago the then mayor, Bongi Sithole, was fired from her post. The municipal manager, Monica Mngadi, and chief financial officer Bongani Ndlovu resigned following a forensic investigation into financial irregularities.

But things turned around with the appointment of S’bu Khuzwayo as the municipal manager.

District mayor Yusuf Bhamjee believes the close working relationship that the council’s managerial team forged with the political team helped it to win the best district or metropolitan council award at the 2012 Municipal Excellence Awards, hosted by the department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) in Durban.

During the event, which was held at the iNkosi Albert Luthuli ICC in Durban last Friday, Bhamjee was also named best district mayor.

The awards, which were voted for by the public during a two-week SMS voting campaign, reflected the public view of the council’s performance on service delivery, job creation and infra­-structure development.

Bhamjee told The Witness he was “pleasantly surprised” to have won.

“The team of mayors generally performs really well, so to be chosen as the best is an achievement, not just for me, but for the district municipality.

“It is a feather in all our caps [to win these awards]. We have moved from a point of insolvency and appearing in the media for all the wrong reasons to getting this award and others, like the Bluedrop status award for the quality of our water and organising events like the Mandela Day Marathon.”

Also celebrating at the weekend was the Richmond Municipality, which received the prize for best small municipality.

Umgeni Municipality was the runner-up in this category.

Newcastle’s Mayor, Afzul Rehman received two awards: the most innovative project and the best performing local mayor in KZN.

Richmond Mayor Andrew Ragavaloo was the runner-up for best local mayor, in an area once plagued by political strife.

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