iLembe mayor delivers State of the District address

2018-06-13 06:02

THE iLembe District Municipality led by mayor Sduduzo Gumede held the State of the District address for the first time since the 2016 local government elections at the iLembe Auditorium on Tuesday, May 29.

Various stakeholders attended the event including officials from all four municipalities and councillors. Among things discussed were the financial state of the water entity and the adoption of the 2018/19 budget as well as the unpacking of local economic development projects.

Addressing the gathering, Gumede said it is an important time in the life of the municipality wherein they demonstrate the importance of accountability to the people they serve.

“It is with great humility that I stand before you today to deliver this State of the District address and it is an incredible honour to do so in the year of the centenary of former President Nelson Mandela and struggle icon uMama Nontsikelelo Albertina Sisulu.”

Mayor Gumede said, in his address, that included highlights from 2016 to 2018, that financial viability is an area of concern for the municipality. “All efforts are in place to bring the viability of the municipality within the required norm in terms of cash on hand.

The effects of the drought is still being felt, coupled with a poor economic conditions being experienced by consumers impact the viability of the municipality.”

The district has budgeted R1 billion for its capital outlay in the medium term revenue and expenditure framework, being R363.5 million for 2018/19, R325 million for 2019/20 and R380.5 million for 2020/21.

“Our focus is water infrastructure amounting to R767.3 million and waste water infrastructure amounting R218.5 million,” said Gumede.

He also revealed that 125 743 households have been served with drinkable water, leaving iLembe with a 20.26% backlog as at 2016/2017.

“For sanitation, 127 136 households have been served, leaving a backlog of 19.38%,” he said. Gumede also said much effort needs to be made in order to reach the desirable level of three months reserves as a buffer. The municipality currently has 35 days cash on hand, as at the end of April 2018 which is within the norm of one to three months.

The collection rate is presently at 76% as at the end of April 2018.

This is an improvement as compared to the close of the 2016/2017 financial year when the collection rate was 71%.

Credit control and debt collection policy and by-laws are being implemented and all credit control measures are applied.

Water restrictions and disconnections are also taking place.

According to the mayor the municipality has made significant progress in terms of implementing the revised Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act Regulations of 2017 which came into effect on April 1, 2017.

Several engagements and discussions have taken place within the municipality to ensure that all glitches affecting the implementation are addressed in the interest of swift implementation of their capital projects.

A total of 43 local emerging contractors owned by black people have been given opportunities through subcontracting as part of the radical economic transformation programme.

“It must be noted that the district views the district SMME benefication from the holistic approach in that, if there is no qualifying emerging contractor from the area where the project is being implemented, the district may consider giving a business opportunity to other emerging contractors from other wards of the iLembe District.

“As we move towards the next phase of the programme, we welcome the SMME support strategies that Enterprise iLembe is introducing. These will be of great assistance to the local SMMEs who are in great need of support structure and awareness about the available options for them that would enable growth of their businesses. Enterprise iLembe through its local economic development function will be responsible for the support and incubation of the emerging entities allocated work through the procurement systems,” added Gumede.
The mayor revealed that the tariff of charges will increase by 9.5% which he said was way below the increase of bulk buying set by Umgeni which is at 13.7%

“We note that other neighbouring municipalities have increased their tariff of charges by more than 10%,” he said.

The African National Congress, the Economic Freedom Fighters and the Inkatha Freedom Party supported the budget.

The Democratic Alliance however, did not support it.

“We observe the progress made and we applaud the budget and support it,” said IFP representative councillor Aubrey Baardman.

DA representative councillor Madhun Singh said it was a difficult budget to prepare considering the challenges the municipality is faced with.

“The DA does not support the budget and the tariff increase but we will continue to support council,” he said.

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