THE community should change their attitude towards their leaders and show them more respect.
This was the message of Handy Modiakgotla, the newly elected speaker of the Phokwane Local Municipality at the inaugural meeting that was held at the Hartswater community hall on Tuesday, 23 August.
He said the community should change their attitude towards their leaders.
Modiakgotla emphasised that Phokwane will not be the same anymore. He said change is inevitable.
“You can rather hate us for implementing changes within our municipality, but changes will come.”
Sentle Maria Kalman was elected as mayor. She had held the position of speaker since 27 May after the death of Dieketseng Moeketsi.
Her election was not without controversey. Several ANC members in Phokwane complained about her elevation to the top of the candidate list, which made her eligible for the position of mayor.
The ANC head office, however, has since dismissed the complaints and gave the assurance that her name appearing at the top of the list did not mean that she would automatically become the mayor.
The ceremony also saw Shadrack Thube sworn in unopposed as the chief whip of Phokwane.
To everyone’s surprise, the inauguration went ahead smoothly and not as violently and dramatically as many had expected. Supporters of the various parties all gathered peacefully outside the hall where the proceedings took place.
The newly elected mayor said now that the elections were over, it was time for everyone to put their differences aside and to work together to deliver services to all the residents.
“Phokwane deserves only the best from everybody, whether they are in the political leadership, in management, in all positions within our administration and across the spectrum of our business partners and civil society.”
She further promised to work with all parties and stakeholders in an effort to find workable solutions to the problems facing the municipality and transforming it into a world class town.
“I want to give the assurance to the people of Phokwane that we will build a better community and address the situations where officials are sitting in their comfortable offices and doing nothing to improve the lives of the residents.
“Both management and staff will be held accountable for the quality of their service delivery.”
Kalman furthermore said that council members do not underestimate the development crisis faced by the community.
“We will continue with our turnaround of the town’s billing system and ensure that we realise the benefits of a modernised system that will provide our residents with a single entry point to gain access to all municipal services.
“We will continue with the process to refurbish and replace our infrastructure network and ensure that all residents have access to quality water, reliable electricity and decent sanitation,” she promised the audience.
Kalman further promised to address the road infrastructure problem by fixing potholes and repairing broken traffic lights and storm water systems.
Communication with residents will also be improved in the spirit of Batho Pele, she said.
More attention will be given to women’s issues, Kalman said. “Our primary focus will remain firmly fixed on women development. We will, however, not let up on our efforts to improve the quality of life of people in all our wards.”
According to Kalman, special attention will be given to programmes that alleviate endemic poverty, widen the net of the expanded social package, address issues related to child-headed households and people living with and affected by HIV and Aids.
“The town of Phokwane is poised for an exciting new chapter. The time has come for the council and every employee of Phokwane to roll up their sleeves and dedicate themselves to the task at hand,” concluded the new mayor.