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After a productive meeting with Newcastle Municipality’s Acting Municipal Manager Zamani Mcineka discussing various issues such as service delivery, staff accountability and corrupt officials being brought to book—he had the following to say.
Taking a no-nonsense approach, Mcineka states that the current administration has employed him for the interim to correct particular facets within the Newcastle Municipality. “I will also be listening to the complaints and inputs from the community, who are the shareholders, as the Newcastle Municipality’s existence would be null and void without them.”
With this said, when looking at the current status of service delivery, the Acting MM stresses that it might appear that the Newcastle Municipality does not care. But this is not the image the Municipality would like hanging over its head, Mcineka affirms.
He admits, “The standard of local government across South Africa has deteriorated over the years, and this has had a ripple affect into Newcastle.”
According to him, while the current administration is attempting to rectify this issue, another problem is hampering the government entity. The Acting MM explains that the Municipality has seen a decline in its monies from the fiscal amount for service delivery.
“People are not paying their relevant municipal accounts. Our debt book reflects that approximately R1.4 billion is outstanding and this affects service delivery.”
While the Municipality does receive grants from the National Treasury and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), he says this only accounts for 7.25% of the Municipality’s regular income. This means the Municipality requires Newcastillians to pay their bills to cover the remaining 92.25% for it to carry out its duties effectively.
According to Mcineka, the Newcastle Municipality will be taking the following steps to aid in debt recovery and finance development.
- Unlike Newcastle West, Eskom directly provides Newcastle East (Madadeni and Osizweni) with power. The Newcastle Municipality will be approaching the power utility to change this. This means that if residents default on their payments regardless of location, their power will be cut.
- A service provider has been enlisted to collect debts owing to the Municipality. Mcineka explains that since the said business has the relevant tools to investigate defaulting community members thoroughly. They can establish if they are genuinely indigent individuals or merely hiding behind the status fraudulently.
It is important to note that people defaulting on their municipal accounts face the chance of being blacklisted through the service provider.
Furthermore, we asked Mcineka what the Newcastle Municipality is doing to hold municipal leadership, past and present, accountable for corruption?
Responding, he stated that the Newcastle Municipality has been permitted to conduct forensic investigations into senior officials to root out corruption, fraud and maladministration.
Mcineka explains that the Municipality is determined to establish a culture of honesty and integrity within its ranks to lead the community by example.
With the gears in motion, we look forward to reporting on these developments. The Newcastillian – Online News, as always, will hold the Municipality accountable for its commitments. Therefore, be sure to stay tuned.
With this said, what are your thoughts on this? Share your views in the comment section below.