Leaders to meet in bid to save Makana

Plans to save the embattled Makana Local Municipality will be hashed out at an all-important meeting between provincial and national leaders in Pretoria, on Friday.
This follows a march in Makhanda this week where a petition signed by about 21,000 residents calling for the council to be dissolved was handed over to speaker Yandiswa Vara.
Eastern Cape MEC of co-operative governance & traditional affairs (Cogta) Fikile Xasa said he would be meeting with Cogta minister Zweli Mkhize to discuss how the province would benefit from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s stimulus package following Tuesday’s march.
“There are projects that have been packaged for Makana municipality. We are meeting tomorrow in Pretoria where we’ll get a presentation on the projects that are being implemented,” he said.
“One time they told us about the water pipes that are made of asbestos. We are dealing with that and there’s a project that’s under way.
“We want to deal with this once and for all. The intervention itself we’re doing talks to water and sanitation, electricity, housing and the issue of roads,” Xasa said.
The municipality has been battling a number of administrative challenges, from financial constraints of battling to pay staff and creditors to low revenue collection rates.
It was also recently discovered that there were between 60-80 ghost employees on the municipality’s pay-roll.
In the petition, the residents said the council should be dissolved because of frequent electricity and water outages, potholes, sewage flowing down suburban streets and uncollected rubbish.
Asked if he would consider placing the Makana municipality under administration, Xasa said that would depend on the content of the petition and reasons given by the residents.
About 24,000 voters cast their ballots in the Makana region during the 2016 municipal elections.
Grahamstown Residents’ Association’s Tim Bull said putting the city under administration was not necessarily the only solution to Makhanda’s problems, but he noted that when the municipality had previously been under administration there had been improvements.
“We’ve had 22 months from 2014 to 2016 when we were under some administration and right now its worse than when we were under administration.
“During this water crisis which carried on for two weeks we have not had a word from anybody in the council, in particular the mayor, of sympathy of concern, of taking charge or to mitigate,” Bull said.
ANC Sarah Baartman regional chairman Scara Njadayi said their deployees in the council were new and inherited recurring problems such as ageing infrastructure and an alleged rise in corruption within the municipality.
“I can’t say these councillors are poor in terms of performance but they are engulfed with challenges,” she said.
Makana DA caucus leader Mlindi Nhanha said: “The ANC without doubt has failed the people of Makana. Residents are calling for dissolution of council and fresh election be held within three months.”
Makana municipal manager Moppo Mene did not respond to calls...

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