Call to support acting manager
In a move hailed across party divides as positive, Manager of the Sarah Baartman District Municipality Ted Pillay has been seconded to Makana for three months as of yesterday, Thursday 1 February. In the first full Council meeting of 2018 on Wednesday, both ANC and DA councillors called for officials, politicians and residents alike to get behind Pillay in his efforts to put the embattled municipality back on its feet.
The official announcement came soon after a discussion on the municipality’s qualified audit on the basis of numerous non-compliance issues.
Also in this week’s council meeting was confirmation of a 6% increase in the remuneration packages of councillors.
In her opening address to the Council, Mayor Nomhle Gaga responded to claims by the Concerned Citizens to Save Makana (CCSM) group as reported in Grocott’s Mail and other media that she had misled citizens regarding the appointment of an acting municipal manager.
“I will never mislead this Council,” Gaga said, explaining how the absence of certain key officials had slowed the process of securing an agreement with the District Municipality to have an acting MM seconded to Makana.
In a statement issued yesterday the municipality said that after numerous attempts to get a secondment for Section 154 from the Department of Corporate Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) for Makana, the municipality together with Sarah Baartman District Municipality had formally agreed to second Pillay.
“This comes after the Council rejected the person seconded by COGTA due to exorbitant expenses he required,” the statement said. “It is with great excitement to announce that Mr Pillay will be the Act- ing Municipal Manager for the next three months, starting on 01 February 2018 until 30 April 2018, with all his expenses paid for by the district.” Pillay would report to Council and would be expected to assist the institution in the appointment of the Municipal Manager; improvement of revenue collection; assessment of major outstanding creditors; improving staff morale; reducing excessive overtime; improving service delivery and lobbying for funding.
DA spokesperson Mlindi Mhanha said the party was relieved at Pillay’s appointment and was of the opinion that he was the best man for the job.
“We believe in his abilities and his track record speaks for itself. We are however concerned that three months may not be sufficient for him to turn the municipality around and a permanent MM must be appointed sooner rather than later,” Nhanha said.
“We call on residents, councillors, staff and labour unions to support Mr Pillay during his tenure at the helm of the administration.”
The DA in Makana, towards the end of last year, urged the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Fikile Xasa, to dissolve the Council and hold fresh elections within 90 days. They retracted their call on the basis that Pillay would be seconded to Makana.
The CCSM cried foul when it emerged that the request for Pillay to be seconded had not appeared on any agenda for the District Council by the end of last year.
Ted Pillay is acting municipal manager at Makana for three months.