Over­seas trips and land is­sues dis­cussed at lat­est Nd­lambe coun­cil meet­ing

Talk of the Town - - News - ROB KNOWLES

WITH Stephen Scheep­ers from the Au­di­tor Gen­eral’s of­fice present, the Nd­lambe coun­cil held an open coun­cil meet­ing last Thurs­day to present the tabled bud­get for 2018-19 and dis­cuss other mat­ters.

After the coun­cil had re­jected an ap­pli­ca­tion for a res­i­dent to pur­chase a small sec­tion of re­dun­dant land in Ken­ton-on-Sea, it went on to ap­prove the pass­ing of mu­nic­i­pally-owned land to churches.

DA cau­cus leader Ray Schenk said that this was hyp­o­crit­i­cal and could not un­der­stand why a piece of land the mu­nic­i­pal­ity can do noth­ing with but still has to main­tain could not have been sold.

“We would make rev­enue from the sale, would not have to main­tain the land any­more and it would in­crease the value of the ap­pli­cant’s prop­erty and there­fore in­crease rates rev­enue to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity,” Schenk said. The fig­ures pre­sented for Jan­uary showed that, of the 22 sam­ples taken around Nd­lambe, all showed 100% com­pli­ance with the SA Na­tional Stan­dards that pre­de­ter­mine drink­ing wa­ter must have a zero count for e.coli (which is gen­er­ally trans­mit­ted through fae­cal con­tam­i­na­tion). How­ever, the fig­ures pre­sented for Fe­bru­ary re­vealed a dif­fer­ent story.

Of the 22 new sam­ples taken, only 17 passed with 100% com­pli­ance. Of the three sam­ples tested in Alexandria, for ex­am­ple, none passed the test. One of the three sam­ples taken in Bathurst failed, and one of the two sam­ples from Ken­ton also failed.

The dif­fer­ence had coun­cil speaker, Vi­vian Mapha­phu, an­gry as she ad­mon­ished the ad­min­is­tra­tion on not warn­ing res­i­dents of the po­ten­tial danger. “You have failed dis­mally in not let­ting peo­ple know there are prob­lems,” she said.

On the sub­ject of the re­cent lis­te­rio­sis out­break that has seen cold meats be­ing re­called and de­stroyed all around the coun­try, DA PR coun­cil­lor Khany­isa Daweti said the mu­nic­i­pal­ity had not done enough to in­form res­i­dents of the prob­lem or pointed out which foods to avoid while the cri­sis con­tin­ues.

The be­lea­guered Ama­tola Bulk Wa­ter Project also came un­der the coun­cil’s scru­tiny at the meet­ing with coun­cil­lors and mu­nic­i­pal ad­min­is­tra­tors ap­pear­ing to be at odds with the items re­ported.

Ini­tially Ama­tola Wa­ter had promised sev­eral “quick wins” that fore­cast at the ear­li­est stages of the project, but these do not seem to have been achieved. It was also er­ro­neously stated that Nd­lambe, as the wa­ter ser­vice author­ity, had ap­pointed Ama­tola Wa­ter to the project. Coun­cil­lors were quick to point out that the author­ity re­spon­si­ble was ac­tu­ally the De­part­ment of Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion, and not Nd­lambe.

ANC PR coun­cil­lor Mon­ica Mateti said their hadn’t been any quick wins on the project since 2011.

“There are pipes ly­ing around Alexandria and res­i­dents are wor­ried,” she said.

The over­sight com­mit­tee ten­dered its re­port at the coun­cil meet­ing but con­cerns were raised that those who had been found guilty of squan­der­ing mu­nic­i­pal funds. Schenk asked why there was noth­ing in the re­port re­gard­ing any ac­tion taken against those who had spent funds ir­reg­u­larly or with­out au­tho­ri­sa­tion. There was no an­swer from coun­cil re­gard­ing his con­cern.

The mu­nic­i­pal stores, ad­ja­cent to the po­lice sta­tion, have been seem­ingly un­der siege in re­cent times as items in­clud­ing tools, ve­hi­cle parts, fuel and more has been taken. The ne­ces­sity to clamp down on these bla­tant thefts was re­alised by the coun­cil and mea­sures taken to curb lar­ceny. A re­port on the cur­rent sta­tus was com­piled but con­cerns were raised that the re­port did not ap­pear in the agenda.

A mo­tion of ex­i­gency was pre­sented to coun­cil ask­ing that the al­lowance for coun­cil­lors and of­fi­cials cur­rently at­tend­ing a trip to Ger­many be in­creased as they were only paid ex­penses based on the old rates by the South African Lo­cal Govern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion.

Schenk said that the trip had not been ap­proved by coun­cil and was there­fore ir­reg­u­lar.

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