‘What are you doing about it?’

2019-06-06 15:00

The newly appointed MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Sipho Hlomuka, has demanded turnaround plans from KZN’s “unstable municipalities”.

He said instability within a municipality compromises the quality of service delivery, and his priority is to turn this around.

He said this would only be possible though if all the stakeholders — including municipal executive committees, senior managers and even traditional leaders — played their part.

Hlomuka said he did not take it lightly that nine of the province’s 54 municipalities were in administration and that only Bergville’s Okhahlamba Municipality received a clean audit for the 2017/2018 financial year.

uMgungundlovu District has three of its seven local municipalities, including Msunduzi, under administration due to poor governance and financial mismanagement.

Hlomuka has asked Cogta administrators to compile reports on what they have done to turn things around and what still needs to be done to get those municipalities back on track.

“We can’t have a situation [where] we have municipalities that are eternally under administration, so our interventions should help them get back on their feet but we will, of course, continue to support them as a department even when the administration period is over,” Hlomuka said.

He said the interventions must ensure that municipalities don’t just collapse again. He said: “We must not wait until the auditor-general tells us that there are problems and which areas need urgent attention before we actually do something.

“We need to be in a position to detect early which municipality is collapsing because of non-compliance or poor financial management and then intervene timeously.”

As part of their reports, Hlomuka said he also wants a list of vacant positions as well as a skills analysis of senior managers so that Cogta could assess their competence.

“We need to have people who are not only qualified in their fields but also have relevant experience.

“For example, you can’t have a chief financial officer who does not have at least a degree in finance or a director for infrastructure who did not study engineering.”

Hlomuka said he was aware that some of the municipalities were having financial difficulties because their customers were not paying for services such as water and electricity.

He said it made no sense to him that people who drove expensive cars and wore designer clothes refused to pay for government services and rates.

As the country’s national and provincial governments settle down after the elections, Hlomuka said Cogta was already receiving reports from municipalities that had some of their leaders deployed to either the legislature or Parliament.

The Witness previously reported that uMgungundlovu’s former deputy mayor Rosemary “Fucwana” Zungu and the former mayor of Harry Gwala District, Mluleki Ndobe, were among those who were redeployed.

Hlomuka said the process to elect their replacements should start very soon after the Electoral Commission advertised the council vacancies.

“We are going to be working very closely with the affected municipalities to ensure stability and also urge them not to fight over these vacant positions,” he said.


MEC HLOMUKA’S PRIORITIES

• Quality service delivery

• Stability in municipalities

• Timeous interventions

• Strengthening disaster management

• Sustainable drought intervention programmes

• Strengthening relations with traditional leaders

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT HLOMUKA

• He is 38 years old.

• Has a postgraduate degree in public administration.

• He is deputy provincial secretary of the ANC.

• He grew up near Ladysmith.

• He is an only child, but has two of his own.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  cogta
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