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Assistants, but still no office space, no tools of the trade

Eleven Buffalo City Metro councillors work from their car or home every day because they don’t have access to an office.

Council speaker Alfred Mtsi. Picture: FILE

This is according to a report tabled before council by speaker Alfred Mtsi, which also listed the councillors’ other demands for a variety of tools of their trade as well as numerous office perks, including one for Jacobs coffee and rooibos teabags.

Despite promises made by former acting city manager Nceba Ncunyana in 2016 that offices and furniture would be provided by the end of last year, Mtsi’s report revealed that the promises were not kept.

Some councillors complained of not having fridges, telephones, microwaves and kettles in their offices. Demands for stoves, cups and saucers, geysers, heaters, fans, air conditioners, cleaners and security, were also met with raised eyebrows when tabled before council this month.

Xolani Simandla, the councillor for ward 23 – which includes Mdantsane’s NU14, 16 and 18 – had 15 additional demands for his office including two heaters, Jacobs coffee, 5kg of sugar, cofee creamer, rooibos teabags, biscuits and 50 spoons, forks and teaspoons among other things.

DA councillor Sue Bentley said the council needed to decide on the minimum requirements and “at least get all 50 ward councillors the minimum requirements so that they can start doing their jobs properly”.

Municipal services to residents around Southernwood, Cambridge, Nompumelelo, Vincent, Greenfields, Gonubie, Tsholomnqa, Breidbach and Ndevana have been affected by the lack of offices for ward councillors as some residents don’t even know how they can access their municipal representatives.

Ward 25 councillor Crosby Kolela said: “We started in this council in August last year and to date the councillors here don’t have furniture. I am one of those councillors. The laptops that were given to the councillors are no longer functioning.… We don’t have any printing material. We are being given stationery but the only problem is we don’t know where we are going to use the stationery.

“You are given papers for printing but you don’t have a printer, you don’t have a computer, this is putting a strain on our part as ward councillors. I would suggest to put a deadline on this particular issue because as councillors we are taken for granted. We are the faces in our communities,” said Kolela.

Bentley questioned why the metro appointed assistants for councillors when there was no offices for them to work in.

“How can we appoint assistants if there is no place for [them] to work from and they have no tools of trade? I don’t know what these assistants are being paid for each month because they are unable to actually do any work,” Bentley said.

Ward 2 (including Duncan Village) councillor Ntombizandile Mhlola said: “I want to emphasise the issue of security in our offices because I am one of the victims.

“We need assistance very urgently for this.”

Ward 32 (including Tsholomnqa) councillor Vuyani Peter said what was missing from the report was how soon the outstanding tools would be provided.

“As the council we must make a serious resolution. We can’t have the same report talking about the same thing now and again.

“The city manager must look into this thing,” Peter said.

Mtsi said the next report would reflect on the budget still needed to address all the issues and if there are procurement processes currently in place. — mamelag@dispatch.co.za

Fridges, telephones,
microwaves, kettles, stoves, cups, saucers, geysers, heaters, fans,
air-conditioners, cleaners and security

Ward 23 councillor Xolani Simandla (which includes Mdantsane’s NU14, 16 and 18) requested:
Two heaters, Jacobs coffee, 5kg sugar, coffee creamer,
Rooibos teabags, biscuits and 50 spoons, forks and teaspoons