The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Zweli Mkhize, yesterday (Thurs) met with the Maluti-A-Phofung Consultative Committee to present the approved Recovery Action Plan which seeks to fast track the turn-around of the municipality.
Mkhize also used the opportunity to commit government to resolving governance issues that affect efficient running of the municipality with all tools – legislative and otherwise.
“We commit to availing resources needed to restore, refurbish and maintain the ageing water and electricity infrastructure, within the provisions of the Fiscus and related legislation,” he said.
Of critical importance is the mechanical and electrical work that must go into the refurbishment of Fika Patso and the repairs of the Intabazwe pipeline, he added.
The minister commended the role of business saying the deliverables, as outlined in the action plan “are realistic and achievable and that can only be possible by the pooling of resources and expertise.
“The role of the business community becomes more important in the implementation of the plan and the onus is upon the Consultative Committee to come up with realistic milestones for implementation, in which all members will assume specific responsibilities in the implementation and monitoring of progress,” Mkhize said.
The political leadership would consistently play an oversight role and duly engage with the committee, periodically.
He also appealed to all sector departments and stakeholders in the recovery plan to prioritise and budget for them in the next financial year to make the project a success.
The recovery plan is a part of an agreement was reached between the municipality, local business, provincial government and the department to put into place specific measures to bring the municipality on stream The minister cautioned against misplaced optimism that the situation will improve overnight, noting: “The dire situation we all find ourselves in did not manifest overnight and therefore it would be unrealistic to anticipate overnight success. It would also be unrealistic to assume there will not be any hurdles as we go along, but it is prudent that we deal with all obstacles as a collective, as and when they arise.
“The teamwork that prevailed in the drafting of the recovery plan becomes more important in the implementation and since we collectively own the plan, there is no wisdom is isolating ourselves by what and who we represent, when challenges arise and seek relief from the courts. The bottom line is to collectively restore the municipality to an entity that is able to sustain itself financially and otherwise and deliver services to its community, efficiently.”
As part of the commitment, Mkhize said – where required – COGTA and other departments will also second personnel for skills that are required as a matter of urgency. Those officials will be based at the municipality on a full time basis until such time that the municipality can appoint its own personnel.
The filling of vacancies was one the main pillars of the recovery plan, he explained.
The Consultative Committee is made up of business, provincial government, National Electricity Regulator of SA, National CoGTA, Eskom, National Treasury, Department of Water and Sanitation and the Municipality.
Maluti A Phofung Municipality was last year riddled with violent strikes by residents over allegations of rampant corruption and poor service delivery.
The demonstrations resulted in the former executive mayor, Vusi Tshabalala, being recalled by the ruling ANC as it moved in to restore administration sanity.
The council was then put under provincial curatorship to assist with service delivery backlogs and outstanding payments to third parties for municipal employees.