Lead­ers to meet in bid to save Makana

Pro­vin­cial and na­tional big­wigs meet in Pre­to­ria to stave off cri­sis

Daily Dispatch - - News - NO­MAZ­IMA NKOSI

Plans to save the em­bat­tled Makana Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity will be hashed out at an all-im­por­tant meet­ing be­tween pro­vin­cial and na­tional lead­ers in Pre­to­ria, on Fri­day.

This fol­lows a march in Makhanda this week where a pe­ti­tion signed by about 21,000 res­i­dents call­ing for the coun­cil to be dis­solved was handed over to speaker Yan­diswa Vara.

East­ern Cape MEC of co-op­er­a­tive gov­er­nance & tra­di­tional af­fairs (Cogta) Fik­ile Xasa said he would be meet­ing with Cogta min­is­ter Zweli Mkhize to dis­cuss how the prov­ince would ben­e­fit from Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s stim­u­lus pack­age fol­low­ing Tues­day’s march.

“There are projects that have been pack­aged for Makana mu­nic­i­pal­ity. We are meet­ing to­mor­row in Pre­to­ria where we’ll get a pre­sen­ta­tion on the projects that are be­ing im­ple­mented,” he said.

“One time they told us about the wa­ter pipes that are made of as­bestos. We are deal­ing with that and there’s a project that’s un­der way.

“We want to deal with this once and for all. The in­terun­der ven­tion it­self we’re do­ing talks to wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion, elec­tric­ity, hous­ing and the is­sue of roads,” Xasa said.

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity has been bat­tling a num­ber of ad­min­is­tra­tive chal­lenges, from fi­nan­cial con­straints of bat­tling to pay staff and cred­i­tors to low rev­enue col­lec­tion rates.

It was also re­cently dis­cov­ered that there were be­tween 60-80 ghost em­ploy­ees on the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s pay-roll.

In the pe­ti­tion, the res­i­dents said the coun­cil should be dis­solved be­cause of fre­quent elec­tric­ity and wa­ter out­ages, pot­holes, sewage flow­ing down sub­ur­ban streets and un­col­lected rub­bish.

Asked if he would con­sider plac­ing the Makana mu­nic­i­pal­ity un­der ad­min­is­tra­tion, Xasa said that would de­pend on the con­tent of the pe­ti­tion and rea­sons given by the res­i­dents.

About 24,000 vot­ers cast their bal­lots in the Makana re­gion dur­ing the 2016 mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions.

Gra­ham­stown Res­i­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion’s Tim Bull said putting the city un­der ad­min­is­tra­tion was not nec­es­sar­ily the only so­lu­tion to Makhanda’s prob­lems, but he noted that when the mu­nic­i­pal­ity had pre­vi­ously been un­der ad­min­is­tra­tion there had been im­prove­ments.

“We’ve had 22 months from 2014 to 2016 when we were some ad­min­is­tra­tion and right now its worse than when we were un­der ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“Dur­ing this wa­ter cri­sis which car­ried on for two weeks we have not had a word from any­body in the coun­cil, in par­tic­u­lar the mayor, of sym­pa­thy of con­cern, of tak­ing charge or to mit­i­gate,” Bull said.

ANC Sarah Baart­man re­gional chair­man Scara Nja­dayi said their de­ploy­ees in the coun­cil were new and in­her­ited re­cur­ring prob­lems such as age­ing in­fra­struc­ture and an al­leged rise in cor­rup­tion within the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

“I can’t say th­ese coun­cil­lors are poor in terms of per­for­mance but they are en­gulfed with chal­lenges,” she said.

Makana DA cau­cus leader Mlindi Nhanha said: “The ANC with­out doubt has failed the peo­ple of Makana. Res­i­dents are call­ing for dis­so­lu­tion of coun­cil and fresh elec­tion be held within three months.”

Makana mu­nic­i­pal man­ager Moppo Mene did not re­spond to calls.

The in­ter­ven­tion talks to wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion, elec­tric­ity, hous­ing Fik­ile Xasa

Co-op­er­a­tive gov­er­nance &tra­di­tional af­fairs MEC

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