Makana mayor ‘ready to work’
Mpahlwa faces many challenges as he takes on the mantle as new leader
Makana Municipality’s new mayor, Mzukisi Mpahlwa, says he will do all in his power to turn around the decrepit municipality.
Mpahlwa beat DA nominated mayoral candidate Carolynn Clark to the post by 17 votes to six at a council meeting on Friday.
Mpahlwa replaced former mayor Nomhle Gaga, who was removed from the position by the ANC last month.
He faces an angry citizenry tired of compromised service delivery, collapsing infrastructure that has resulted in wholesale sewage leakages all over Makhanda, and prolonged water outages.
The formal municipal rubbish dump is almost full, and mushrooming informal dumps all over the city are threatening the health of its residents.
Worst of all, Mpahlwa comes in at a time when the municipality faces a water crisis of enormous proportions. Not only have large parts of Makhanda faced prolonged water outages due to poor management of its ageing infrastructure, but the water supply to the western half of the city, including Rhodes University, is about to dry up due to the drought.
Ironically, the eastern half of town has a plentiful supply of raw water from the Orange River Scheme, but the municipality does not have the pump, pipe or water treatment capacity to meet the needs of its citizens. This means water rationing in the next 30 days is almost inevitable as the city will have to share the little water the municipality is able to treat and circulate from the plentiful Orange River Scheme.
Rhodes University, which opens its doors to thousands of new and returning students in February, has expressed its concern about coping without a reliable clean water supply.
Mpahlwa said the supply of clean water to all residents was top of his municipal priorities, closely followed by the dilapidated road and sanitation infrastructure, and high level of litter and illegal dumping.
“I am confident that working together with the leadership collective of this institution, including labour unions, we shall be equal to these challenges.”
He said the municipality would have to increase its poor revenue collection and be more transparent about its use of public funds.
A group of DA members led by its spokesperson on corruption, Phumzile van Damme, frontier constituency leader Jane Cowley and its spokesperson for basic services Kevin Mileham, protested outside the municipality, calling for the council to be dissolved.
Van Damme said day zero loomed as the ANC-led municipality was unable to cope with the massive water crisis and was broke due to its financial mismanagement. She said a change in mayor would not change this...