New BCM head aims to end admin and political issues

Buffalo City Metro’s newly appointed city manager, Andile Sihlahla said the first thing he would do as the metro boss was to clearly define the different roles and responsibilities of politicians and the administration.

This will be in an effort to deal with tensions and political interference in administrative matters.

The 53-year-old Sihlahla was officially introduced to members of the media yesterday by BCM mayor Xola Pakati, who said Sihlahla’s arrival to BCM was “a significant day”.

Pakati said for the better part of last year, BCM had no city manager, which led to “all sorts of challenges”.

Making his first public address since taking office on June 1, Sihlahla spoke of his outlook in the post.

“The first thing that we will do is to clarify where the line, the demarcation for politicians and management, ends. However, we should also remember there is a direct link between the executive authority and the administration.

“You can’t run away from the fact that at one point in time there will be some level of tension here and there in trying to continue doing our work,” said Sihlahla, who takes over from Andile Fani, who was fired late last year.

He said legislation was very clear about the different roles of administration and politicians. “The only thing you would need is to ensure that everybody understands their responsibilities. That is very critical.

“If there is failure to appreciate that distinction then there is a problem. However, we have got a responsibility as management to explain and to clarify such issues.”

His administration would try its best to ensure there was “a clear separation” between politicians and administrators, he said.

However, he said politicians had the authority to intervene when there were problems in administration and that “sometimes there is confusion concerning their intervention as some people call it interference”.

Asked about his priorities for BCM, Sihlahla said he did not have a clear vision yet as he was still new in the position.

“When the time is appropriate we are going to call you again to announce the vision going forward from the administration ... ” he said.

“It would not be possible at this stage to say this is my vision, but at least I have seen certain things that need to be changed.

“When it’s appropriate, we will call you to make those announcements.”

Pakati boasted that Sihlahla carried a wealth of experience in various fields “especially in the priority areas of the metro”. — mamelag@

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