THE new mayor of Ndlambe, Phindile Faxi, assured tourism stakeholders and businesses that they had the municipality’s support, when he spoke at the Sunshine Coast Tourism and Events Authority (SCT) annual general meeting last Thursday.
Faxi said that he was showing his face “in order to be of help in areas where you need us.
“I am here, council is here, to serve,” he told the audience.
Faxi taught for 11 years at Bathurst High School in the township and worked for Cacadu (now Sarah Baartman) District Municipality as advisor to the mayor. The Sarah Baartman Municipality is known for good governance and clean audits, said Faxi.
In 2011, he was appointed as a councillor in Ndlambe and this year was “promoted” to mayor of Ndlambe.
Faxi said he aimed to create a stable council which would yield better results. The council consisting of the ANC, DA and EFF may have some hard core debates, but should still be stable, he said.
Faxi said economic development is a priority, which requires clear programmes and employment “of those on the other side of the river”.
Tourism is important for this reason, as it contributes to jobs, he said.
He said the issue of stray animals should not be taken for granted, and if it is not settled, it will hinder growth. Faxi will reach out to relevant government departments and the cattle owners to ensure that the issue is dealt with and will not negatively affect tourism.
Road infrastructure must be improved to attract investors, he said.
“Social cohesion is another goal,” said Faxi, “which will contribute to economic growth and festivals throughout the year bring people together”.
Finally, clean administration is a priority. “You need to be confident that our municipality is in safe hands, financing is in safe hands,” said Faxi, who intends to centralise procurement so that not every department is hiring its own people.
“You need to read that Ndlambe receives an unqualified audit,” he said, and “our municipality needs to be transparent to ratepayers”.
He wants to invite ratepayers to council meetings through the press. The meetings will start with an update from the mayor on progress with municipal projects.
He mooted an end of year meeting or session with the municipal manager, mayor and speaker, and to invite those who are away in Gauteng or abroad. In this way, there would be input from a distance.
He is also mooting an economic advisory committee on which local experts could serve, to make good economic decisions on behalf of the town.
SCT chairman Rick Pryce thanked Faxi and former mayor Sipho Tandani for what he had done for tourism. He also gave a big thank you to SCT manager Sandy Birch, Lungisile Sinque from the tourism office in Port Alfred, and Erica McNulty and Nomawethu Ngangqu from the Kenton office.
Pryce also said SCT needed to increase its membership.
“The new, blue road signs which point out what we have to offer are going up in Kenton”, said Pyce, “and Bathurst will be next.”
He also mentioned the prospect of commercial flights using Port Alfred’s 43 Air School, which could boost tourism. There has been a long-desired ambition to tar the runway at the air school, but council’s latest answer was that as it is private land, they have no input.
“We need more pilots nationally, according to the press, and we are proud of our air school,” Pryce said.