CHANGE FOR THE BETTER - MAYOR
Polokwane Mayor John Mpe outlined the municipality’s plans for the 2022/23 financial year and beyond when he delivered the keynote address at the local authority’s two-day strategic planning session that started at a venue in Waterberg district on Monday.
The session, which was aimed at enabling the municipality to track progress toward its goals, set ambitions for the municipality’s future and determine how best to achieve it, was attended by a delegation of councillors, municipal officials, officials from government parastatals and partners, as well as representatives of organised labour.
Mpe explained that he has worked closely with the acting municipal manager and consulted with a wide range of stakeholders to be able to come up with a turnaround strategy and thus perform the political oversight that will steer the municipality towards being self-sufficient and financially resilient.
“Change comes with discomfort. We have made an assurance to the people of Polokwane that ours will be a change for the better,” Mpe assured his audience.
According to Mpe, Polokwane remains the only hope of attaining the vision of having a metropolitan city in Limpopo.
“It remains the socio-economic and political nerve centre of our province and the destination of choice for many and the entire Sadec region for economic opportunities and religious purposes.”
He stressed that much still needed to be done to ensure proper financial management and good governance, build better roads, deliver a clean and reliable water supply, provide proper sanitation and housing, create opportunities for jobs and grow the
Water supply is a major challenge. No economy can flourish without a reliable supply of water.
Mpe announced that the municipality will be able to build its own RDP houses with effect from July 1.
“Once we receive the necessary budgets from the National Treasury, we will be able to build houses for our qualifying members of the community. It will no longer be like before when we had to wait for housing allocation.”
Mpe reiterated that water supply is a major challenge.
“No economy can flourish without a reliable supply of water and the municipality must ensure that plans are
in place to ensure a reliable supply of water benefit the people of Polokwane.
Mpe cited the mushrooming of unplanned and uncontrolled settlements, primarily in the rural areas and privately owned farms, as a serious challenge with some of these settlements bringing more pain and suffering to those residing there as a result of no proper planning.
This, he said, is an issue that must be addressed with the proper authorities.
Mpe added that there are a number of major programmes that the municipality is going to drive in order to grow the economy. The projects include and eco-estate and creating of a special economic zone or industrial park around the airport.
“Transport and storm water remain the backbone of our economy. We have decided to change our strategy and prioritise tarring of prioritised roads within villages and townships through paving.”
He committed the municipality to move from qualified audit opinions to unqualified audit opinions, by stating that the only way in which this could be achieved, was when all hands are on deck to root out maladministration and corruption.
Polokwane will soon implement the separation of power model.
“This is aimed at improving oversight and to ensure that the executive is held to account by the legislative wing.
“We will continue to redefine participatory democracy through a massive stakeholder mobilisation and consultation to deal with rapid response service delivery on site,”
According to Mpe, the municipality will also prioritise capacity building and its employees.
“It is the responsibility of management to create a conducive environment to develop and be equipped. There is urgent need to reposition the organisational structure so that we can be able to respond to the challenges chall and needs of the commu communities and the institution.”
“Our interests as a municipality cannot be separated from the interests int of the community and the interests of the residen residents of Polokwane, these i interests are to ensure tha that there is proper planning plann and implementation implementatio and proper infrastructure infrastr in place so th that the communities could have better r roads, water, electricity elect and a growing grow economy i in their local area area,” Mpe