Ndlambe accused of ignoring govt legislation
THE leader of a group of Sunshine Coast residents who have been withholding Ndlambe municipal rates yesterday accused officials of ignoring government legislation on budgeting.
Ndlambe Action Group (NAG) chair Derek Victor yesterday delivered a list of objections and comments addressed to mayor Sipho Tandani and municipal manager Rolly Dumezweni – hours before the cut-off time for community submissions on the budget proposals.
According to Victor, the latest NAG submission on the draft municipal budget had to be read in conjunction with previous submissions made in 2010 and 2011 which they claim to have not been considered or even properly responded to by officials – further compounding their many concerns about the budget.
“Indeed, it is evident the same basic flaws are perpetuated each year in the budgetary process.”
Although municipal spokesman Khululekile Mbolekwa declined to comment on Victor’s submission, he said several comments had been submitted by ratepayers and concerned residents. He said the inputs would be tabled before council and decisions made based on their contents.
Claims by Tandani that the local authority was a caring municipality were shot down by Victor who said an ongoing litany of cancelled meetings, unreturned telephone calls and general unavailability of officials was a great concern.
“The assurance of an ‘open door policy’ is a mere platitude and flies in the face of our experience.
“We can point out legislative requirements regarding the preparation of the budget, as we have done in previous years, but these you are familiar with – even though such are widely disregarded.”
A depressed economy and a proposed hefty 12% rates increase, if approved, meant local residents faced tough times.
Victor warned of local job cuts if the 12% increase occurred.
“Recent revelations of unauthorised and wasteful expenditure, reckless awarding of contracts, and an unproductive workforce does not equate to a caring or wellmanaged municipality.”
Victor said a proposed 10.5% salary increase for municipal officials ignored Treasury recommendations.
“When coupled with an absolute lack of performance management structure and indeed management process, we continue to lavishly reward people for being unproductive.”
If the increase was approved, the top five employees and Tandani would account for 10% of Ndlambe’s capital budget.
Other areas of concern were the Integrated Development Plan, which Victor said was flawed as it was based on irrelevant and inaccurate historical statistics. The fact that no means test had been conducted was another major problem as there were many non-indigent residents – like pensioners – who were battling to survive.
“We urge the council to take a proactive stance in complying with the law,” he said.