Mpumalanga’s best: Go­van Mbeki

CityPress - - News - SIZWE SAMA YENDE sizwe.yende@city­

For more than a decade, Go­van Mbeki Mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s ad­min­is­tra­tion was in tat­ters. With the al­leged as­sas­si­na­tion of whis­tle-blow­ers and the dis­ap­pear­ance with­out trace of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer, Joshua Nt­shuhle, in 2003, the Se­cunda-based mu­nic­i­pal­ity was rid­dled with cor­rup­tion and slid­ing into an­ar­chy. To­day, it is a dif­fer­ent story.

The ANC-led mu­nic­i­pal­ity, which in­cludes Se­cunda, Le­an­dra and Bethal, is ranked 34th among the coun­try’s 234 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties – eight places higher than the City of Joburg.

Mu­nic­i­pal man­ager Mmela Mahlangu says af­ter he was ap­pointed in 2012, he and his team “had to look crit­i­cally at our gov­er­nance, re­vise our strat­egy and re­brand”. He es­tab­lished re­gional of­fices in Bethal, Se­cunda and Em­balenhle town­ship in 2013 to de­liver bet­ter ser­vices to the pop­u­la­tion of 294 538 peo­ple and 83 874 house­holds.

Then, he strength­ened the au­dit and risk com­mit­tees, and the fi­nance unit. For the past three years, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity has re­ceived un­qual­i­fied re­ports from the Au­di­torGen­eral.

“Let me also brag a bit,” Mahlangu says. “There are only two mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties that don’t in­cur unau­tho­rised ex­pen­di­ture … That is us and Pix­ley ka Seme. We’re able to spend our mu­nic­i­pal in­fra­struc­ture grants and there­fore get more fund­ing from Na­tional Trea­sury for ser­vice de­liv­ery.”

Con­tri­bu­tions from big busi­ness like Sa­sol and min­ing com­pa­nies were be­ing di­rected to­wards fix­ing san­i­ta­tion. Con­trac­tors did such a shoddy job that sewage spills into the streets, par­tic­u­larly in Em­balenhle, and pump sta­tions are bro­ken.

Though the mu­nic­i­pal­ity owes Eskom R190 mil­lion, Mahlangu says this is be­cause many res­i­dents ei­ther steal power or refuse to pay their bills. Now they are spend­ing R15 mil­lion on smart me­ters that can­not be tam­pered with.

Go­van Mbeki’s res­i­dents say that al­though they think the mu­nic­i­pal­ity is do­ing well, it could im­prove – es­pe­cially on elec­tric­ity sup­ply. Mas­ter Ndlovu (56) com­plained about oc­ca­sional power out­ages, “how­ever, ev­ery­thing else seems to be fine”.

Franzel Fourie (31) from Se­cunda says she has no prob­lem with the mu­nic­i­pal­ity, but prob­lems with un­help­ful po­lice. Matthews Zwane (25) from Em­balenhle also com­plains about polic­ing and power cuts. “The power goes off at the wrong time, in the evening and in win­ter when we have to cook. We have to use paraf­fin stoves,” he says.

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