Lack of support at the Ward 10 mayoral imbizo

LAST week Talk of the Town published a brief snippet from the story on the mayoral imbizo. stating it was poorly attended by members of the public.

Although notification was given by TotT in the paper and online for two weeks prior to the imbizo, some took to Facebook to say they were unaware the imbizo was taking place.

For those who did not attend, here is a copy of the article from the May 17 edition of TotT. Presentations regarding waste management, the financial position of the municipality and other matters dealt with at the imbizo are covered in several articles in the same issue.

READY TO ANSWER QUESTIONS: Municipal officials, the mayor and a ward councillor were ready to take questions and give answers at last Thursday’s Mayoral Imbizo, held at the Port Alfred civic centre. Unfortunately, officials outnumbered the number of residents present Picture: ROB KNOWLES

THERE was little participation at Thursday evening’s mayoral imbizo; an opportunity to have pressing questions answered by the municipality as well as to raise concern over issues, including the 2018/2019 budget as tabled at the last full council meeting.

PREACHING TO AN EMPTY HALL: The municipal officials and the press outnumbered Ward 10 residents at Thursday evening’s Mayoral Imbizo at the civic centre Picture: ROB KNOWLES

Ward 10 councillor and DA caucus leader, Ray Schenk, opened the meeting which comprised, aside from municipal officials and the press, of just six residents, and apologised to Ndlambe mayor, Phindile Faxi, for the lack of attendees at the meeting.

Faxi then repeated the message he gave to the Ndlambe council executive committee earlier in the day including housing issues, protest action and 43 Air School.

Mark Price of IWars explained about the company and how it was re-asserting itself to recover from financial problems and a fire at the Port Alfred dump site. He said that more recycling was necessary in order to create jobs and improve the environment.

Community protection services directorate was represented by deputy director Fanie Fouche, the infrastructural directorate was represented by deputy director Onke Sopela and the financial directorate by director Michael Klaas, with each giving a brief breakdown of the current status of the municipality.

Fouche spoke of grant allocations, specifically R10 million for dredging the river and fixing up the riverbank.

“We still have challenges,” said Fouche. “We are still awaiting the ruling by the department of environmental affairs regarding moving sand out of car parks all along the Ndlambe coastline.” He added he would be meeting with departmental officials the following Monday.

Fouche said that he was committed to removing alien and intrusive vegetation from the area and explained the procedure used 21, 14 and seven-day notices until the municipality cut the vegetation down and charge it to the land-owner.

Klaas began his session with a statement that, contrary to a report in the Herald that morning, Ndlambe Municipality is not in trouble.

“The report [Herald, April 10, page 4] stated that certain municipalities in the area were in financial trouble, and included Ndlambe in that number. But I want to tell you that we are not in financial trouble,” said Klaas.

Schenk added that Ndlambe had been bundled with Makana and other municipalities but, even though the municipal debt currently ran at over R130 million, all creditors were being paid on time and the municipal account was not in jeopardy.

Asked if the debt collection was a problem Klass answered that the municipality was in the process of implementing a new computer system that would monitor residents to ascertain if their circumstances change and they die or become indigent.

“We did not always know that an owner of a home is deceased, or if the breadwinner loses his job and the family become indigent and we cannot recover their outstanding debt,” he said. “We estimate that 50% of the outstanding debt may be irrevocable.”

Sopela explained how the municipality had repaired some roads and the revealed the plan to pave or re-surface other roads as budge or grants become available. The next road to be paved is Masonic Street according to Sopela.

“Patching pot-holes is an on-going job,” he said. “After patching the next day it rains and the patch is gone.”

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