Gert Sibande municipality backs decision to hire bodyguards for Absenia Habile

They say they couldn’t risk the man’s life.

The Gert Sibande district municipality says they took “seriously” the threats made through SMSes to municipal manager Absenia Habile and had to hire bodyguards to prevent any risk to his life…

Habile caused an outcry late last year when the municipality bent rules to supply him with bodyguards.

They were supposed to get a risk assessment report from police boss Lieutenant-General Mondli Zuma but Zuma ignored their request in June 2018 when they told him Habile was receiving “death threats”.

Then in November 2018 a council sitting took a resolution to supply Habile with two bodyguards, despite having no security assessment report from Zuma.

Municipal spokesman Lungisizwe Mkhwanazi said the hasty decision was taken “as a result of several worrying, consistent and regular life threatening messages directed at Mr Habile and members of his family”.

“These messages directly affected Mr Habile’s wellbeing and even his performance at work which was a matter the institution took seriously,” Mkhwanazi said.

Mkhwanazi said despite not getting “response or feedback” from Zuma they did open a case with the cops in Ermelo.

“Despite not receiving feedback from General Zuma’s office an effort to avoid possible loss of life was taken,” he said.

“Careful consideration to the financial implications was applied in that no new security contract was made, instead an extension of a readily available VIP protection service was used. This was a three months arrangement until the police commissioner’s office could advise accordingly and the SAPS could conclude on the case,” Mkhwanazi said.

Habile will be protected at R61 000 each month.

Mayor Muzi Chirwa was also provided with three extra bodyguards by a council resolution in May 2018.

Chirwa previously had two bodyguards and now the resolution added the three at R262 000 each month and this occurred 3 days after an MKMVA member was shot dead during an ANCYL conference, allegedly by one of his two bodyguards.

Trevor Nkosi, the chief whip at the same Gert Sibande district municipality, also has bodyguards.

DA councillor Muso Kubheka said it was unlikely the municipality was paying for Nkosi’s three bodyguards.

“We asked that question and they said ‘no’. And because it didn’t go to council we take it the municipality is not paying for Nkosi’s bodyguards,” said Kubheka.

(edited by ZK)

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R50 million set to renovate falling Mpumalanga hospitals

Most of hospitals in the province are in a very bad state, with patients forced to come seek help from the dilapidating buildings.

Health MEC Sasekani Manzini has said that an amount of R50 million has been made available by the Mpumalanga government to renovate the falling hospitals.

The government has started rebuilding the Middelburg hospital but it’s not clear when construction will be completed but a lot of hospitals in the province look abandoned by officials.

Manzini said the problems faced in the province were dilapidating hospitals and “some which no longer need to be renovated but to construct a new facility”.

Manzini was in eMalahleni last week Friday to announce the construction of a hospital in the area.

The people of eMalahleni have been left without a hospital after the Witbank Hospital began being used as a referral hospital, forcing the locals to drive all the way to Impungwe Hospital.

But now the government together with mining giant Anglo American will build a new hospital in the space where the TB Hospital in Ackerville is located and will then turn the Impungwe Hospital into a TB hospital.

R50 million set to renovate falling Mpumalanga hospitals

Health MEC Sasekani Manzini (L), eMalahleni mayor Linah Malatjie (C) and Anglo American Coal CEO July Ndlovu (R) as the sod-turning ceremony marking the begin of construction of a new hospital in eMalahleni. PICTURE BY 013NEWS/MLM.

Anglo American and another Germany company will fund the construction of the Ackerville hospital.

“The honourable Premier [Refilwe Mtshweni] gave us another R50 million to ensure that we maintain existing infrastructures,” she said when she spoke to journalists.

She said the provincial government has taken a decision to reconstruct the Mapulaneng Hospital in Bushbuckridge, Mmamethlake Hospital in Dr JS Moroka, the Bethal Hospital and Middelburg Hospital.

She said the construction of new hospitals does not mean they should abandon the existing ones, “so that is why the issue of maintenance becomes important”.

“Maintaining is an on-going thing. We are maintaining on a daily basis, and the R50 million that we got from the Premier is not enough hence we are excited when we get such sponsorship from Anglo American in assisting us either building a clinic or hospital,” she said.

(edited by MLM)

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Mtshweni to host public-private conference

It will be held at Emnotweni in Mbombela from 20 to 21 November 2018.

Premier Refilwe Mtshweni will host the public-private-partnership symposium to discuss economic growth and job creations.

Her government hopes that possible investment opportunities and infrastructure projects can be showcased to potential financiers and others.

It will be led by economic development MEC Eric Kholwane and will feature around 300 delegates who will form part of discussions.

On the first day of the conference – on 20 November – Mtshweni will host and address a gala dinner.

Kholwane said the symposium or conference aims to “forge ties between government and business” in order to grow the economy and create jobs.

“By strengthening partnerships with the private sector and working together to invest in infrastructure development we can unlock growth and boost job creations,” Kholwane said.

The event will be held at the Southern Sun Emnotweni in Mbombela.

There will be panel discussions and showcasing of projects as well as various workshops and project site visits.

Eight projects will be showcased by the Mpumalanga government, including the Mpumalanga International Fresh Produce Market and the Nkomazi Special Economic Zone.

Private-public partnerships are important because they create opportunities for financial innovations as well as developing and maintaining socio-economic infrastructure projects.

It is also to achieve socio-economic transformation and ensure both business and government are able to address “ways of implementing bankable projects in the province”.

“This symposium is an opportunity to enhance stronger partnership practices for the benefit of the people of Mpumalanga,” Kholwane said.

“It will also contribute significantly to forging ties between important stakeholders in the public and private sectors while also contributing to relational capacity building,” he said.

(edited by MLM)

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Officials warn of “fake” Bushbuckridge municipal jobs

A Mr Mogale’s bank account is said to be accepting upfront payment before you are employed and is posing as a municipal official.

The public is being warned of “fake” municipal jobs after an unemployed woman was promised a job by a “recruitment agent”.

The Bushbuckridge local municipality says they were made aware of this when they were informed by a local female job seeker who was almost tricked into depositing R2 300 into the bank account of a “Mr Mogale”.

Municipal spokesman Aubrey Mnisi said the young woman was promised one of the advertised jobs which closed on 9 November 2018.

He said the Mr Mogale is accompanied by a lady.

“It must be noted that the municipality doesn’t use recruitment agents and will not want money for anyone to get employment,” Mnisi said this week.

He said their posts are advertised in newspapers, municipal notice boards and on

“And we are appealing to community members not to fall prey to this scam. The fake municipal recruitment agents who are posing as employees of the municipality are using the following numbers to phone unsuspecting job seekers 063 629 8351 or 082 070 6614,” added Mnisi.

(edited by MLM)

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Mtshweni wants Steve Tshwete to show other municipalities how clean governance is done

She delivered a heated speech during her office’s Coordinating Forum meeting.

Premier Refilwe Mtshweni has announced that the Steve Tshwete municipality in Middelburg will be expected to show the other Mpumalanga municipalities their “strategies” of clean governance.

She spoke during a special Premier’s Coordinating Forum at the Nkangala district municipality Wednesday this week.

She also lauded the Mbombela municipality and said it will also join Steve Tshwete in “sharing” with the other municipalities how things are done.

A week ago, Mtshweni announced that eMalahleni, Govan Mbeki, Thaba Chweu, Lekwa and Msukaligwa local municipalities had been placed under financial rescue.

She said these five Mpumalanga municipalities were found to be defaulting on payments of their creditors and their current expenditure also found to be exceeding their actual current revenue, incurring operating deficit in most recent financial years.

She said this “recurring failure has impacted on their ability to procure goods and services as well as providing the much-needed services to communities”.

Wednesday this week Mtshweni told local and provincial government officials who attended her meeting at the Nkangala council chamber that both Steve Tshwete and Mbombela would be requested to share their strategies of keeping up with money.

“This is an endeavour aimed at sharing best practices in an effort to ensure that our municipalities move away from being largely grant dependent towards a sustainability based model,” the Premier said.

She said her government is “acutely aware” of the socio-economic situations of the various municipalities and in which the high unemployment rates led to low revenue collection capacity on the part of municipalities.

Officials are urged to update the system of unemployed and employed residents “to enable the provision of basic services to the truly needy”.

“And also ensuring that municipalities do not exhaust resources attempting to recoup remuneration for services from people unable to pay for the services,” Mtshweni said.

She said they were also noting the unwillingness by qualifying residents to pay for municipal services.

“In scenarios such as this the municipalities should invoke the suspension of services as well as debt collection in order to compel payment for services,” the Premier said.

Municipalities must also ensure that the quality of the billing is consistent with the services consumed, she said.

She said incorrect billing created the impression amongst the residents that municipalities were unable to “reconcile their books and determine what they are owed”.

“This ultimately results in wilful disregard of municipal bills and it is prudent to note that for any revenue enhancement strategy to work optimally, services must be rendered,” she said.

She warned the officials about a recent government report that showed if residents were not satisfied with the services rendered they found it easy to boycott payment of rates and taxes.

(edited by MLM)

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Mtshweni announces financial rescue for 5 municipalities

She announced a “financial recovery plan” is being implemented.

Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtshweni has announced that 5 municipalities will be placed under financial rescue.

Mtshweni spoke in Skukuza during her government’s Lekgotla.

She said eMalahleni, Govan Mbeki, Thaba Chweu, Lekwa and Msukaligwa local municipalities have all been placed under a financial rescue plan.

She said as government they area “acutely aware” of the challenges that the Mpumalanga municipalities face.

“As you are aware, we have had to recently intervene in the Emalahleni local municipality in accordance with section 139 of the Municipal Finance Management Act,” she said this week.

“A task team led by provincial treasury and encompassing specialists in every element of the financial management ecosystem has been dispatched to the municipality and are currently working tirelessly to develop and implement a financial recovery plan,” Mtshweni said.

She added this was an effort to ensure that “we collectively address the issues of financial mismanagement” in municipalities as this was affecting service delivery.

She spoke at the Skukuza rest camp during a 3-day provincial government Lekgotla.

Mtshweni told government officials that a Lekgotla was meant to convene officials “in order to ensure that we centrally coordinate the programmes of our government in an effort to ensure that the programmes of the government are concomitant with priority areas aimed at tackling the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality whilst ensuring that our people continue to have access to the most basic of services”.

“The objective of this Lekgotla is two-fold. The first being that we must ensure that  we continue to align intergovernmental relations with the priority areas outlined above. Secondly, it is important to take cognisance of the fact that we must outline and collate our achievements , as Government, as we approach the end of this 5th democratically elected administration,” the Premier said.

(edited by ZK)

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