Sanity is returning to Maluti-A-Phofung (MAP) Local Municipality and the area is headed for improvement in the provision of services following the appointment of two senior officials this week.
Blakes Lefatula has appointed acting municipal manager and Tebogo Moopelwa as acting administrator for MAP.
The appointments come just weeks after Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela assured residents in MAP that she would continue to work tirelessly to ensure services are restored in the area.
The department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) rendered Ntombela’s promise true this week by descending to the area and implementing far reaching changes in the administration and running of the council, replacing both the current administrator and the municipal manager.
The changes were announced by Cogta minister Dr Zweli Mkhize during a visit to the area, accompanied by MEC Oupa Khoabane.
“I’d like to thank both the outgoing acting municipal manager and the acting administrator for a job well done under difficult circumstances,” said Mkhize.
Minister of Water and Sanitation Gugile Nkwinti, Deputy Minister Obed Bapela, police, roads and transport MEC Sam Mashinini and Ntombela were there during the announcement.
Mkhize said residents in MAP had registered their unhappiness long ago through running protests over lack of water, hence the multipronged intervention to restore services to the people.
MAP had been without a mayor for some time after he and 14 ANC councillors that defied the ruling party by appointing a mayor not endorsed its elders.
Various senior managerial positions in the municipality which have also been vacant for close to two years have since been filled with this latest intervention.
Mkhize and the Free State provincial government leadership agreed to strengthen the municipal administration and second joint interventions teams covering the critical administration areas.
Lefatula was municipal manager in Tshwane while Moopelwa is a former municipal manager of Westonaria Local Municipality. The latter also served as administrator under Ditsobotla Local Municipality.
George Joma, an experienced professional engineer with 15 years’ experience working with municipalities, has been appointed acting director of technical services at MAP.
Mkhize said his visit to the area was also meant to assess progress in the implementation of the section 139 interventions, and also to engage stakeholders such as councillors and political parties in council, traditional leaders and communities on additional measures to strengthen and address service delivery challenges.
“People do not have water. There are also water leaks, inconsistent electricity supply, and sewer spillages, roads, etc.,” he noted.
Part of the reasons for slow service delivery in the area, the minister added, is because certain posts such as that of municipal manager and director of technical services had been vacant since August 2017.
Other vacant posts were that of directors for community safety as well as litigation services.
The filling of posts, which comes just weeks before the national and provincial elections in May, are largely expected to help to stabilise the administration in MAP.
Mkhize said he hoped systems put in place would strengthen performance management, financial management and service delivery.
The appointed officials would be supported by experienced professionals in the areas of litigation support and community services.
Furthermore, the municipality will utilise the framework contracts available in the Free State provincial government, including service providers that specialise in Auditing, Financial Management, Supply Chain Management systems and processes.
The meeting also resolved on interventions to deal with water, sanitation, electricity and road problems.
Work to attend to ageing electricity infrastructure, pump sets, leaking pipes, installation of bulk meters, replacement and repairs of the electro mechanical pumps and valves as well as the refurbishment of pump stations has already commenced in the area