New manager plans to fix Matatiele’s tarnished image

The Matatiele municipality is under fire after unveiling a small bridge that cost R3.8m to build.
The Matatiele municipality is under fire after unveiling a small bridge that cost R3.8m to build.
Image: SUPPLIED

Improving the Matatiele municipality’s audit outcome from an unqualified opinion to a clean audit would not be easy, but not impossible, newly appointed administration boss Lizo Matiwane said on Tuesday.

The seasoned administrator was announced as the new municipal manager by mayor Momelezi Mbedla at a press conference on Tuesday. He reported for duty last week.

Auditor-general Kimi Makwetu gave the municipality’s books an unqualified audit opinion with no findings in the 2018/2019 financial year — but now Matiwane has been tasked with achieving a clean bill of health — a feat the municipality last achieved in 2015/2016.

Only Senqu municipality achieved a clean audit in 2018/2019.

Matiwane’s appointment comes barely six months after the municipality terminated the contract of the previous incumbent, Dr Tshepang Nakin, whose contract was scheduled to run until 2022.

His contract was terminated after “relations between him and the council broke down”, the mayor said.

The Dispatch reported in 2019 that discussions around Nakin’s removal had resulted in internal battles within the ANC caucus.

Mbedla said: “Cogta even had to intervene to facilitate his exit and an amicable settlement. The separation happened this year in March and we immediately advertised for a new municipal manager in April.”

And now Matiwane has been tasked to polish the damaged image of the municipality and promote good governance.

Mbedla pledged that council would do its best to assist him in his efforts to “rebuild brand Matatiele”.

“We are putting our trust in you. In the coming months, we must rewrite the Matatiele story. People must read about a Matatiele that prides itself on excellent quality financial management, clean administration, good governance and an epitome of local government excellence.”

Matiwane said he was ready for the task. He said Matatiele had always been one of the best-performing municipalities and credited that to the work done by his predecessor.

“But I am aware of the workload ahead. I need to assess the damage that might have been caused by the exiting of Dr Nakin.

“This will be done by means of a public participation survey which I believe is going to assist us to understand what the community of Matatiele feels,” he said, adding he would have an open-door policy.

Mbedla said because of Covid-19 they had experienced budget cuts on electrification programmes.

They had resolved to look to tourism to breathe life into their economy which had been adversely affected by the lockdown.

He said they were ready to welcome back tourists.

“We will showcase rural tourism offerings which include natural wonders, lifestyles, events, traditions, culture, crafts and encourage everyone to take a ‘Sho’t Left’ into Matatiele.

Mbedla acknowledged they had failed to provide efficient services to residents, vowing they would continue to improve on service delivery. — DispatchLIVE

The Dispatch reported in 2019 that discussions around Nakin’s removal had resulted in internal battles within the ANC caucus.

Mbedla said: “Cogta even had to intervene to facilitate his exit and an amicable settlement. The separation happened this year in March and we immediately advertised for a new municipal manager in April.”

And now Matiwane has been tasked to polish the damaged image of the municipality and promote good governance.

Mbedla pledged that council would do its best to assist him in his efforts to “rebuild brand Matatiele”.

“We are putting our trust in you. In the coming months, we must rewrite the Matatiele story. People must read about a Matatiele that prides itself on excellent quality financial management, clean administration, good governance and an epitome of local government excellence.”

Matiwane said he was ready for the task. He said Matatiele had always been one of the best-performing municipalities and credited that to the work done by his predecessor.

“But I am aware of the workload ahead. I need to assess the damage that might have been caused by the exiting of Dr Nakin.

“This will be done by means of a public participation survey which I believe is going to assist us to understand what the community of Matatiele feels,” he said, adding he would have an open-door policy.

Mbedla said because of Covid-19 they had experienced budget cuts on electrification programmes.

They had resolved to look to tourism to breathe life into their economy which had been adversely affected by the lockdown.

He said they were ready to welcome back tourists.

“We will showcase rural tourism offerings which include natural wonders, lifestyles, events, traditions, culture, crafts and encourage everyone to take a ‘Sho’t Left’ into Matatiele.

Mbedla acknowledged they had failed to provide efficient services to residents, vowing they would continue to improve on service delivery. — DispatchLIVE



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