New councillor hits the ground running at special meeting

2019-09-11 06:00
Ward councillor Philani Mavundla (left) with Magistrate Masikane from Greytown Court.photo: andile sithole

Ward councillor Philani Mavundla (left) with Magistrate Masikane from Greytown Court.photo: andile sithole

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EMOTIONS ran high at a special meeting for Umvoti Municipality held on Thursday, September 5.

Outside the Council Chamber, Public Order Police were called in to remove supporters of the National Freedom Party (NFP) who had come to witness the inauguration of the new Ward 7 councillor, Philani Godfrey Mavundla.

Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd as NFP supporters chanted slogans outside the chamber while a meeting was in progress.

The newly-elected NFP councillor demanded answers about three councillors with outstanding municipal accounts.

According to the records in the financial statement for the year that ended on June 30, the three councillors are former Ward 7 Councillor Vukani Njoko (R15 148), IFP councillor Richard Dlamini (R115 608) and Mayor Thamsanqa Ngubane (R15 148). The councillors had arear accounts outstanding for more than 90 days on June 30.

“The three councillors owing this municipality, including the Mayor, cannot owe the municipality for more than 90 days,” Mavundla said.

Speaking just after he was sworn in, Mavundla didn’t hesitate to throw questions at Speaker Wilson Khoza and Municipal Manager Sphindile Ngiba regarding the alleged maladministration of funds at the municipality.

Mavundla questioned the council about other agreements that were made by the municipality on August 3, 2016.

Another matter tabled for discussion was the tender awarded to CCG Systems (Pty) Limited, with whom the municipality had a contract for the provision of a financial management system.

According to the financial statement, the municipality entered into the service level agreement with CCG on May 5, 2017 “for the implementation of [a] Municipal Standards Charts of Accounts (MSCOA) aligned Sage ERP financial management and reporting system.” The contract was an extension of the initial contract signed in 2014.

The agreement also provided for a renewal of an additional two years contract commencing from July 1 and ending on June 30, 2021 in which the municipality will be paying the company service and post implementation support fees of R3 321 937 for the duration of the contract.

Mavundla argued that the rules and regulations in the initial agreement that was signed with CCG in 2014 were not implemented. He also questioned as to why the municipality did not advertise the tender in the Gazette.

Ngubane responded, explaining that the advertisement and letter of appointment were done through the transversal tender by the national treasurer.

A representative from the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Zanele Mngadi, said, during her delivery of the support plan of the department, that Cogta was satisfied with the administration of Umvoti Municipality and they could not find any issues that need their intervention in the municipality.

Communications manager for Umvoti Municipality Phindile Phungula said the council of Umvoti Local Municipality held the special council to deal with urgent matters.

“Led by the Honourable Speaker, Councillor Wilson Khoza, the council welcomed and swore in Councillor PG Mavundla, who emerged as Ward 7 councillor at recent by-elections, and the annual financial statements were tabled as well. Several issues were raised in relation to the statements, with one being the municipal accounts of certain councillors accounts being in arrears.

“Although it came as a shock to members of the council, it was not a shock to those named as they had already noticed that something was amiss and taken measures to ensure the rectification of such. Councillors Thamsanqa Ngubane, Vukani Njokwe and Richard Dlamini recently approached the municipal accounts office after realising that they were not receiving municipal statements. They found that there had been an error in their billing, but had resolved to pay the arrears. An agreement was reached and terms set out to recover the funds as soon as possible.

The billing department has acknowledged the settlement made by the Mayor to his account.

It is highly appreciated that these councillors were proactive in finding out the issues relating to them.

“We encourage all residents to regularly check their financial standing with the municipality as missed payments often lead to adverse consequences for the entire community.”

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