When I received the news that Lukhanji, Nkwanca and Tsolwana municipalities would merge and be renamed Enoch Mgijima, I was so excited that the legacy of the prophet would be lived. I recall when former executive mayor, Lindiwe Gunuza-Nkwentsha promised the family and the Church of God leadership that they were committing themselves to good governance, efficient and effective service delivery. By doing that, they would uphold the name of the prophet, a founding leader of the Church of God and Saints of Christ in South Africa.
However, the first thing that made me sceptical about the municipality, was its frequent change of political leadership, Gubula being the third mayor within five years. I also noticed that the troika is not speaking with one voice. Councillors are divided, with those loyal to Ebden Street and others loyal to the sub-region. If this is the situation, how were they going to play an oversight role and give political direction? I also noticed there is no differentiation between the ANC as a political party and ANC in governance – hence a lot of interference by the ANC leadership in the running of the municipality.
To eliminate this, the ANC must organise a workshop to clearly define the roles of political principals and deployees in governance. Then create sound working relations between the political head and administrative head. I believe the two are inseparable and they must complement one another.
The above has resulted in the embarrassing situation we find ourselves in. Therefore, the first thing to do is close ranks. Administrators must play their implementation role and politicians their oversight one. The Batho principles are just ornaments. There is no value for money. If you drive through Dr Ntlabathi Road in Ezibeleni, named after a prominent doctor in the municipality, the road has just been sealed, but potholes are emerging because of shoddy -work. Then Fikile Gwadana Drive, named after a political activist, was done less than two weeks ago and it has returned to the swimming pools that made it very difficult for drivers.
The business community is trying to clean the area, however if the community service directorate has no strategic vision or plan in place to see that the area remained clean, this is a futile exercise. If the directorate would apply the municipal by-laws, that would eliminate the open space salons that are operating in Cathcart Road. By letting this continue, you are exposing the council to litigation, as you are failing to uphold the Constitution.
If the directorate of community service is serious about the municipality’s obligation to provide a clean and safe environment, as prescribed by the Constitution, a plan must be in place on how to create and sustain it.
Lastly, my heartfelt plea to the mayor, revive the Mayoral Business Forum for the development of the town and you will not regret it. “It Always Seems Impossible Until It Is Done”. (Nelson Mandela, 2001)
By Mzwabantu Dapula