Uncertainty reigns over MBDA

2019-08-21 06:00

THE Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) is in a financial crisis due to not receiving funds from the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM).

This comes after the agency’s service delivery agreement with the municipality expired in December 2018. This has resulted in grant funding for the period from January to date not being paid to them.

Since the establishment of the MBDA, the municipality reviews and renews the service delivery agreement every three years. Annually the MBDA presents a budget to the municipality for approval.

Currently, the MBDA’s board of directors is functioning on a month-to-month basis due to the fact that the municipality is still busy concluding the process of appointing the new board members for the next three-year term. The current board’s term has ended.

The MMC for Economic Development, Tourism and Agriculture, Marlon Daniels, has expressed his concern over the spending of the MBDA with 38% of their budget allegedly going towards salaries.

Since the MBDA falls under Daniels’ directorate, he has stepped in to find solutions.

Daniels said, “The municipality is already in trouble with spending 33% of our budget on salaries.

“The MBDA, which is a small entity, is underperforming. In addition, their costs attached to travelling abroad are unacceptably high.”

Asked about a possible solution for the MBDA, Daniels said that he was working on ways to save the MBDA; however, not under the same leadership.

“The problem with the MBDA is its leadership. We cannot totally shut down the MBDA because of the projects that need to be finalised. However, if council approves, I will take the MBDA forward from my offices and unemployed graduates will form part of the ‘think tank’ to improve the metro,” Daniels said.

Daniels has since launched a private forensic audit into the MBDA.

ACDP councillor, Lance Grootboom, said he doesn’t agree with Daniels’ solution because he believes that the municipality was not in a position to manage all the MBDA’s projects.

Grootboom added, “The MBDA has done good work since its inception and the municipality will not be able to man all the projects.

“If we look at the state of our metro, the municipality is already failing to provide basic services to the residents. The ACDP will oppose the closure of the MBDA in council.

“This is simply happening because of personal vendettas,” said Grootboom.

According to the MBDA spokesperson, Luvuyo Bangazi, the agency is in constant engagement with the NMB Municipality towards resolving the outstanding issues.

“Senior management from both organisations met to chart a way forward. We are confident that the matter will be resolved at the next MBDA members’ meetings this week.”

On Monday, at time of PE Express, going to print, the agency’s service delivery agreement had still not been renewed.

The Mandela Bay Development Agency on Monday invited members of the media to attend a media briefing yesterday afternoon (Tuesday). This was in response to various media reports on the MBDA in the last few weeks. Bangazi said in the media that the MBDA Board as the Accounting Authority and oversight body over Management felt it necessary to call a special Board meeting to discuss the matter and chart a way forward. The media briefing was set to be held after conclusion of the board meeting. PE Express is printed on a Monday, and therefore details of the media briefing could not be included in this week’s report.

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