Sithole sticks to his goals

2019-08-16 14:57
City Hallâ??s Clock tower keeps ticking. The Msunduzi municipality has managed to keep ahead of the problem the pigeons keep dropping. Photo. Jonathan Burton8BIM

City Hallâ??s Clock tower keeps ticking. The Msunduzi municipality has managed to keep ahead of the problem the pigeons keep dropping. Photo. Jonathan Burton8BIM (File)

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City administrator Sibusiso Sithole is forging ahead with his mammoth mission to turn Msunduzi around despite the political shenanigans currently playing out at the City Hall.

Yesterday, Sithole told The Witness that the provincial government’s intervention in Msunduzi — which he was sent to oversee in April — was not an easy task because of the size of the City and the enormity of the challenges it faced.

But, it’s not impossible and “we are already busy on the ground working”.

“An intervention of this size will obviously take time, but we are already seeing the difference; even though someone looking in from outside might not, I think they will soon.”

He said this week’s demotion of the ANC members in the executive committee, and the removal of the mayor, Themba Njilo, his deputy, Thobani Zuma, and Speaker Jabu Ngubo, did not affect his task as his responsibilities were already laid out.

The provincial Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) had promised to send him a team with specialities in business units that needed attention such as human resources and finance.

“Some have arrived and I must say that having that additional resource is really helpful because I can’t do everything on my own, so at least now I have people doing other things while I’m busy with others.”

Sithole said he has had meetings with staff from various departments to find out what was causing them to be less productive because he did not want to rush into blaming people without understanding the issues they faced. One of those is the revenue section and waste department.

He said one of the critical issues that came up was the high vacancy rates and the lack of supervision.

There were people acting in certain positions but that was not a permanent solution, he said.

Sithole wants council to appoint suitable candidates whom it could hold accountable when things fell apart.

“In the next two weeks we are going to be advertising some of the positions. These will include the critical posts and some for the general workers because we keep complaining about the state of the city, but we can’t get it clean if we only rely on EPWP [expanded public works programme] beneficiaries who only work about eight days a month when we need the city to be clean 24/7,” he said.

He said most of his time has been consumed by the compilation of the annual financial statements, which are scheduled for submission to the office of the auditor-general, Kimi Makwetu, in two weeks’ time.

“Whatever measures we implement while we are here must be sustainable so that even when we leave the organisation [Msunduzi] continues to thrive; we want to be thorough in everything that we do,” said Sithole.

Cogta provincial spokesperson Lennox Mabaso said the department would continue supporting the municipality and the intervention team.

He said the administration was reviewed on a month-to-month basis and the provincial government would only withdraw it once it was satisfied that it had achieved what it was meant to do.

On the axing of some members, he said the department had in place a support plan that would facilitate a smooth transition from the outgoing councillors to the incoming ones.

“As soon as parties have concluded their processes, the department will work with all affected municipalities to reconstitute the councils and facilitate the election of office bearers where necessary. We have already commenced with the support plan for all affected municipalities,” he said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg
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