Faxi ex­presses con­cern over se­nior staff ex­o­dus

Talk of the Town - - News -

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.

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