Mene tackles Makana mess
Cometh the hour, cometh the Mene.
Makana’s new municipal manager, Moppo Mene, is in a very hot seat indeed.
He faces the Herculean task of turning around a broke, decrepit and moribund municipality.
He is the first permanent appointment to the vital post since the last failed incumbent Pravin Naidoo was fired more than four years ago.
In the intervening years the municipality has been on a steep downward trajectory despite half-hearted interventions from the province and various interim managers.
The Cradock born and bred Mene has several solid qualifications, including an MPhil (information and knowledge management) from Stellenbosch University and a 25-year background in local government.
But the challenge he faces combines incompetent revenue collection, massive debt, collapsed water and sewerage infrastructure, a potholed road network and an explosion of informal rubbish dumps in suburbia.
And the human element is just as terrifying.
He must deal with a defensive council with a host of confusing political agendas and a hostile staff establishment that is contemptuous of the constant array of acting ‘Fix-Its’ that have passed through his high office.
Mene is friendly, confident, open and determined to do what he can to fix Makana.
But, he also comes with baggage.
He is fighting his previous employer, the Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) in court for its summary withdrawal – on the instructions of local government MEC Fikile Xasa – of an offer to renew his municipal manager contract there.
But, baggage aside, Mene remains determined to give his best in his new post.
He says one problem he faces starting work in a new municipality in August is that he will have to implement a new budget in which he had no input.
“Any ideas one has, must be funded and one must know the purse you carry.”