Premier Oscar Mabuyane will visit Komani in March following an instruction from the office of the president for him to meet with the apolitical organisation, Let’s Talk Komani (LTK) to address issues facing the town.
Mabuyane sent his advisor, Zandisile Quphe, who met LTK last Thursday to discuss ways in which government could work with stakeholders wanting to resolve the crisis in the town and the broader Enoch Mgijima community.
LTK wrote to the premier in November last year requesting that the local authority be dissolved, due to the prevailing lack of service delivery, with no apparent active attempts by the municipal leadership to turn the situation around.
The organisation also filed an application with the Grahamstown High Court to have the Enoch Mgijima council dissolved, which is scheduled to be heard in March.
Quphe said Mabuyane would visit Komani accompanied by the MECs for treasury Mlungisi Mvoko, and co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) Xolile Nqatha, to find a way to resolve the issues.
“LTK has made proposals of wanting to work with government in addressing challenges facing Enoch Mgijima municipality, indicating that they had people with experience and expertise who could assist government. They complained about damaged roads, with some being 40 years since they were last resurfaced, endless sewage spillages that affect people’s lives, the municipality’s Eskom debt which could prohibit businesses from operating, and the drought situation.”
The financially distressed municipality, which also falls down in revenue collection could not pay salaries this week and The Rep is yet to find out if the Eskom debt and current account will be paid on time. Read full story on page3.
Quphe said they agreed with LTK that they would draw up a detailed plan on how the problems in the town could be mitigated, which would be presented to the premier for consideration.
“When the premier visits he will discuss the plans of LTK and how the plans and ideas could be incorporated with government processes so that the intervention has impact,” he said.
The advisor said the meeting was the first step to building relations between government and its stakeholders who wanted to see development in their area, to ensure there was stability and that government carried out its constitutional obligation to the community of Enoch Mgijima.
However, LTK members indicated in the meeting that they would not recall the litigation against the municipality until the situation was turned around for the better.
LTK chairman Ken Clark said the meeting was “extremely positive”, but he was cautious and would take things one step at a time, while ensuring they carried the interests of the community with them.
“I am positive with the way we have engaged. It was an honest and truthful and I look forward to engaging further. I am pleased that the president was able to get an envoy to us. I think it shows how serious the situation is and how seriously it needs to be taken. I am committed to making a difference and getting this matter resolved.”
Clark said he was disappointed that the local mayor, Luleka Gubhula, did not attend in spite of being invited to the meeting, stating that he was not surprised because she had failed to meet with the business fraternity after she was invited many times before.
“I think there is a very low level of trust between council, senior municipal management and the residents and that is a fundamental problem at the moment.”
The chairman said in LTK’s detailed plans and ideas that would be drawn up, he would have concrete and actionable items.
“We will propose that a proper power structure be put in place and the sharing of responsibilities to ensure priorities are attended to first. Government has to consult the community on how we want to see things happening in the future. We have to put an end to the corruption and maladministration in this municipality. We cannot allow or expect the people who put us in this situation will be the ones to take us out of it, it just does not work like that.”
He said the municipality was in total collapse and section 139 (1) (c) of the constitution needed to be invoked.