Acceptance Speech by Tsantsabane Local Municipality Mayor (Mpho Mashila)
Friday, 15 February 2019
Honourable Councillors, Members of the administration and our respected community members.
Members of the administration
It is with humility and humbleness that I accept this deployment to be the Mayor of the Tsantsabane Local Municipality.
I have been serving as a councillor for Tsantsabane and ZF Mcqau District Municipality for a number of years now and have come to learn that being a public representative is quite a responsibility. We are serving at the coal face where we face the electorate on a daily basis, their every frustration and disappointment stares us starkly in the face, our failures affect them directly and more often than not. it has got negative social, economic and environmental consequences.
Our responsibility is to steer the ship, to move it out of the tumultuous waters we are currently in, we must lift our bootstraps. The non- responsiveness of the Senior Management Team of our municipality must come to an end. Also, the lethargic leadership that we have experience must become something of the past. It is unacceptable to live in such seeming abundance, yet we are one of the most backward municipalities. Our lights are not working, the streets are riddled with potholes, the town is extremely dirty with rubbish lying all over the place, water shortages are rife and at times our people go for weeks without water.
These failures can and should be placed at the doorstep of the administration. The culture of accountability is at an all time low, it would seem that everybody does what he or she likes, there is no consequence management and it seems we are generally incapable of doing what we have been employed to do.
The political leadership of the municipality has also been very absent; we have not played our role. It is safe to conclude that thus far we have left things to deteriorate. We have not played our oversight role and we are trailing far behind. This must change and it will change, it is unacceptable for elected leadership to have such low regard for their work.
The next few weeks, led by the speaker and ward councillors, we will once again go on a community wide public participation consultation process, we will leave no stone unturned, we will begin talks with our trade unions and employees to ascertain why the municipal workforce does not play its role.
The different directors will have to submit turnaround strategies on what they will do to turn their units around at the Strategic Planning Workshop and we will also realign our council committees in line with our IDP Representative Forum’s resolution on a Tsantsabane Approach for Development.
The Offices of the Mayor, Speaker, EXCO Members and Municipal Manager will be strengthened to improve our oversight and monitoring and evaluation capacity.
The Directors and Acting Directors must take charge and see to it that the most pressing community problems are resolved with immediate effect, that the town becomes clean again, that the lights are in working condition and in conjunction with the ward Councillors develop a plan that will result in our communities not dumping rubbish literally in the streets.
I will be demanding daily and weekly reports in this regard. Failure to resolve this most acute problem, will most definitely in consequence for the Municipal Manager and Directors responsible.
Revenue collection remains one of our most pressing problems, we are basically a municipality that operates on unfunded and zero budget and we just pull through every month. This has got a dire impact on service delivery and employee morale. We need a turnaround strategy as in yesterday.
I will begin discussions with the Municipal Manager with immediate effect. He and the finance team must tell us exactly how this turnaround must come about. Furthermore, as we consult our communities, the issue of payment of services must top the agenda and we must also tell them how service delivery is going to be improved.
MM, do we know who owes the municipality and how much, what are our big issues and who in our municipal area are our biggest debtors and creditors, what is the plan, can we summon all of them at once and understand why is that we not making headway in either paying them or us being payed?
I need a plan on this in the next week – which must become a subject of discussion at EXCO and tangible steps be taken with immediate effect thereafter.
The natural resources of our area must benefit our people and our youth must be employed. We want to see increased participation of our Tsantsabane black entrepreneurs in productive economic activities and are tired of being onlookers while our mineral resources are being exploited whilst we have nothing to show for it. We are tired of being at the mercy of the mines and solar industries for our every need. It’s time that this municipality becomes self-sufficient and able to provide for its own needs, without us running every time to the mines for help of even the most basic needs. We must also amend the municipal supply chain management policy with immediate effect.
For this reason there is a need to implement the Council Resolutions on Tsantsabane 2043 and Tsantsabane Growth and Development Agency with the view to consolidate the municipalities efforts of making sure that the mining industry and the solar industry contributes meaningfully to economic development in the municipality.
We must speed up the development of this agency and work hard to ensure that systems and structures are in place to ensure its optimal functioning. This can no longer be delayed, together with the executive council and the office of the Municipal Manager tangible steps will be announced soon.
There is a lot that needs to be done, and we must all commit to make our Municipality to work for its people.
I wish to thank former Mayor Marietjie Daniels for having steered this ship under extremely difficult circumstances and for having taken us thus far, thanks a lot.
My fellow Councillors, your support in this mammoth task going forward cannot be emphasized more, we need each other as a collective and I know we can count on your support.
Thanks. Dankie. Kea Leboga. Ndiya Bonga
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