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.
They filled the Millenium Hall in Ackerville as well as the Block B Community Hall in Nkomazi, lighting candlelights and “praying for the unity of the ANC for an overwhelming victory in 2019”.
The Practical Radical Economic Transformation group of Mpumalanga will campaign for the ANC to achieve “overwhelming victory” but wants the political power that the ANC will win next year “translated into the power of the poor”.
The organisation says they will go “to the ground” and mobilise for the “overwhelming victory” of the ANC ahead of next year’s general elections.
They held a prayer session at the Roman Catholic Church in Ackerville, eMalahleni Thursday this week, asking the Lord Almighty to assist the ANC get united and not lose focus on the needs of the poor.
There was also another prayer meeting at the Tonga Block B Community Hall in Nkomazi and both featured pastors who led the two prayer sessions before the organisation’s leader Themba Sgudla addressed both meetings.
Sgudla flew in a navy chopper on Thursday morning to allow himself to address both events.
He said when they campaign and vote for the ANC theirs have “conditions”.
“The situation we are finding ourselves in today cannot be the same after elections and that is the message we want the ANC to hear,” Sgudla said to applause.
“But now we are going to go on the ground and [will] campaign for the ANC. But what we are going to do that is completely different when we campaign for the ANC is to get you people who are sitting here to nominate yourselves and go to Parliament,” Sgudla said.
Sgudla, who early this year threw tantrums at the Mpumalanga ANC and former friend DD Mabuza, threatening to contest elections on his own, now says the organisation will rally behind the ANC of President Cyril Ramaphosa and ensure its “decisive victory”.
He urged PRET members who are also ANC members to nominate themselves in the branches in order to go serve in Parliament and the provincial legislature.
He said if the EFF was able to send poor people to Parliament and legislatures “why not the ANC”.
“If you poor people can nominate yourselves and go serve in Parliament and legislature you will be well placed because you understand the situation better,” he said.
He was accompanied by eMalahleni sub-regional leader Bhuti Mamba and other PRET leaders from Steve Tshwete, Victor Khanye, Thembisile Hani and JS Moroka.
The municipality says this is part of making sure crime is reduced to zero in the area.
The people of the Steve Tshwete sub-district will soon have CCTV cameras in the township.
Newly appointed mayor Tsietsi Tolo wants the cameras installed.
Tolo said while they focus on youth economic development and job creation they also want to ensure a crime-free township.
“Our Integrated Development Plan was approved in June 2018 and was developed from consultative meetings with residents, business and community representatives, government departments and other stakeholders,” he said.
The mayor said Middelburg being dominated by mining and steel producing companies will have to take advantage of it by means of the Mpumalanga Stainless Initiative.
“The programme will include a welding facility and an artisan development programme. We will continue to maintain a healthy relationship with business so that we can broaden the economic activities to include other sectors that have been neglected before, like tourism and agriculture,” he said.
The municipality’s total budget this financial year is R1,9 billion and R1.5 billion will be spent on the day-to-day operation of the municipality, R374 million will be spent on capital projects, R89 million on infrastructure maintenance and R93 million on renewing existing infrastructure.
On capital expenditure, R59 million will be spent for roads and stormwater infrastructural development, R77 million for electricity infrastructural development, R24 million for sewerage puriﬁcation and reticulation, R80 million for governance and administration, R37 million for community facilities and public safety, R44 million for water infrastructural development and R24 million for refuse removal.
“We will take advantage of the Maputo Development Corridor as more industries such as motor workshops, hotels, overnight bulk carriers and stopping-over places will be required. We will also upgrade our sports facilities, parks and recreation and other community amenities to make it easier to get to our municipality, whether to visit, work or start a business.
“As a municipality, we have reviewed the Spatial Development Framework. We are currently busy developing precinct plans in order to revitalise our CBD. By bringing more people to live in the CBD, we will create the necessary commercial base to support the wonderful array of independent retailers, restaurants and service providers in our CBDs for decades to come,” he added
Masina told the 013NEWS reporter on Thursday morning this week that he had been told he would be redeployed to serve as the MMC of a department at the Nkangala district municipality but after waiting for almost two months he decided “to weigh other options”.
“Yes, indeed,” Masina said in a reply to questions when asked whether he had left the council.
“I had the opportunity to weigh other offers that were coming thick and fast,” he said on WhatsApp.
Tsietsi Tolo took over as the new mayor of Middelburg. The ANC said they had to recall Masina because of proper working relations between himself and the Nkangala ANC but Masina rejected this, saying the only relationship between a mayor and the ANC is the ANC caucus.
“I had a revolutionary relationship with the ANC, not a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship,” he told the reporter.
Masina has been at the GK Steel offices since the week began, familiarising himself with the company’s environment.
He said he will remain an ordinary member of the ANC but is “done with active politics”.
“My major mandate is to take the company to greater heights through incubation program that will enable empowerment of previously disadvantaged communities by bringing them into the mainstream economy of the steel industry,” he said.
The party says they had to fire him to “stabilise” the municipality.
Steve Tshwete municipality mayor Mike Masina has been asked to resign from the job.
Masina lost his job this week Monday after the party recalled him.
Acting provincial secretary Lindiwe Ntshalintshali said they had to recall Masina because of a lack of “proper working relations” between Masina and the Nkangala ANC.
She said it was due to “the long standing lack of proper working relations between the ANC regionand the mayor”.
“The relationship between the SA Municipal Workers Union and stakeholders such as traditional and religious leaders has also collapsed and createdinstability in the municipality,” Ntshalintshali said.
Mike Masina. PIC MfisoDIGITAL/MLM.
Masina, who has been a mayor of the Steve Tshwete municipality since the 2011 local government elections, will now work at the Nkangala district municipality as an ordinary councillor.
The Steve Tshwete municipality has a track record of 16 years of excellent service and clean governance and Masina returned to the position of mayor after the 2016 local elections despite not having then Premier DD Mabuza’s blessing.
Tsietsi Tolo will take over the reigns as the new mayor of the Steve Tshwete municipality.
Other changes in the Mpumalanga municipalities are:
– Nkomazi mayor Thulisile Khoza has also been asked to resign, and has been sent to go work at the legislature. Therefore Johan Mkhatshwa will be the new mayor. The party says this is done “to harness service delivery” as there were no proper working relations between herself, speaker Million Shongwe and chief whip Simon Mabuza. Shongwe has now been sent to go work as an ordinary councillor at the eHlanzeni district municipality but Mabuza is sent to become an MMC at the same Nkomazi municipality.
– Ntshalintshali resigned as the eMalahleni mayor and Linah Malatjie, who is Nkangala district mayor, will take up her seat as the new eMalahleni mayor and Sarah Masilela will become the new Nkangala district mayor. Ntshalintshali is the ANC provincial election team co-ordinator and is asked to work full-time at party headquarters.
– Lekwa municipality mayor Linda Dhlamini has been asked to resign and Khosi Khotha will replace him. Dhlamini will work at the Gert Sibande district municipality as an ordinary councillor. The ANC says there have been difficulty in working relationship between Dhlamini, the speaker and the chief whip and this stems from differences they held towards the 54th national congress in Nasrec last year.
“It should be noted that these changes were made to strengthen governance so as toensure that service delivery to our people is maximised towards 2019 and beyond,” Ntshalintshali said.