FEVER reporter PRECIOUS GUMEDE chatted to Umzumbe Municipality Municipal Manager, Nokuthula Mgijima, before her term of office ends. Mgijima is the mother of three. She was born in Johannesburg and raised in the Eastern Cape. She is a qualified environmental health specialist with a diploma in environmental health. She also has a B-Tech in environmental health and a Masters in development studies.“On 1 February, 2012 I started my duties as the MM of Umzumbe, it was a very interesting day, meeting new people, not Xhosa speaking, keen to understand the environment of a local municipality because I had worked for the Metro and district municipalities. “The position came with new responsibilities, overarching, being the accounting officer in charge of everything in terms of how the municipality is running, how it performs, in terms of its mandate and also reporting directly to council as well as administrative duties.“Achieving all the duties was a success through a collaborative approach, listening to people’s views - from the political wing and administrative leg together with a proposal of not undermining them,”She had to analyse situations from all the different departments in order to ensure that all the programs implemented, fulfil the challenges and also have practical solutions that benefit the community of Umzumbe.“A number of goals were set, but some of them were critical. One of them was sustaining an unqualified audit opinion of the municipality which was very successfully. “We have had an unqualified audit opinion and three clean audits consecutively. The other was developing a five year Integrated Development Plan (IDP) which was done implemented without being outsourced. Filling positions, I remember when I had to fill two directors positions, it was challenging but I did it,”“There are flagship projects still being implemented as multi-year projects - the indoor sports ventre, Ntelezi Msani Heritage Centre, the new municipal office building and Ntashana Access road, these are just a few, the list goes on.”She said all that’s required is proper planning and proper budgeting. Mgijima said being MM is interesting, empowering and gives one exposure.