Faxi expresses concern over senior staff exodus
to withdraw from the Sarah Baartman District Municipal Planning Tribunal as they felt that despite attempts to engage with the district office on areas of improvement, they had not been assisted.
“I’m not happy with the recommendations that we should opt out of the tribunal,” Faxi said.
He explained the tribunal was a shared service, where all municipalities were represented at district level.
“The intention is to save us from costs that are related to dysfunction,” Faxi said.
He said that he believed Ndlambe should not opt out of the tribunal as there were qualified people in key posts and Ndlambe could absorb related posts.
“Governance encourages interdependence and closer working relationship,” Faxi said.
“I do believe there are litigations against us. If we have a shared service, litigations are shared too. If we opt out now, we are alone.”
DA caucus leader Raymond Schenk supported the withdrawal from the tribunal. “Sarah Baartman has done nothing for us in the last year to assist us in anyway. We have had to find our own way,” Schenk said.
He also suggested establishing a local forum, where local professional people with experience could be sourced, who would do the job for nothing.
“I know of people with town planning experience, legal people and people with other experiences, who are standing in the wings, who will assist us. Let’s look at sourcing qualified people, locally,” Schenk said. Deputy director of finance Michael Klaas supported Schenk’s notion and confirmed no action from the district, stating that the tribunal had not even organised a sitting.
Director of infrastructure Noluthando Masiza confirmed that despite attempts the officials at Sarah Baartman district had never assisted Ndlambe Municipality.
She also said that, based on her research, she had concluded that there were only two other municipalities in the tribunal, who had not withdrawn.
Masiza said she looked at the municipalities who had withdrawn from the tribunal and concluded that they were functioning well and had set up their own tribunals.
Faxi remained unconvinced, but asked the director to pen another letter to the district and explain the exit, the issue of sharing litigations and sharing the challenges of development.
Conrad Swart, representing Urban Econ on behalf of the department of rural development and land reform, presented a final business plan for the development of the Sarah Baartman Agri Park and establishing the Alexandria farmers’ production support unit.
The purpose of the business plan was to identify which commodities could be supported and identify and develop agricultural-processing as well as analysing the needs of emerging farmers.
Ndlambe Municipality proposed two sites for the “hub” development. Urban Econ then proposed Kruisfontein commonage as the suitable location.
The site, a former thriving dairy farm, was bought by the municipality about 20 years ago and used as a municipal commonage. It was first run by a trust but then neglected and allowed to deteriorate.
Due to the neglect, farm buildings were stripped, pumps were stolen, boreholes stopped working and fencing went missing.
TotT has reported in previous stories about the mismanagement of the commonage, the lack of cattle control and overgrazed land riddled with alien invasive vegetation.
Agri EC obtained a court order against the municipality earlier this year to rectify the commonage.