30 minutes ago
Fellow ratepayers are urged to Google Govemment Gazette 37245 dated 17 January 2014 and to read the regulations governing the appointment of senior managers in local municipalities, in particular the minimum quali?cations listed from page 57. These
specify in general a university degree and five years’ successful experience at a managerial level for each post.
Nothing will change in Grahamstown unless the present senior managers who have bankrupted the Makana Municipality are made to resign and, where appropriate following the forensic audit recommended by Minister Gordhan, charged with criminal neglect, together with the councillors who failed to exercise due oversight.
It is reassuring to remember that in June of this year the Hawks arrested the Executive Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Council Speaker of Buffalo City Municipality and charged them with fraud and money laundering.
Ratepayers should be under no delusion about the pressure that w?l be exerted on the Administrator sent by the Province. Similar officials sent to Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality resigned, claiming intimidation in one case and death threats in the other.
Not only lucrative jobs for under-quali?ed managers are at stake, but tenders with subcontractors worth If no suitable candidates for senior managers are found, then the work will have to be outsourced.
This will be expensive and messy, but the alternatives, as we have learned, are worse.
Three sanctions appear practicable to enforce the resignation of the managers. One is a legal ‘class action’ brought against the Department of Local Govemment and Traditional Affairs. The second is an approach to the Public Protector requesting a directive. The third is the payment of rates into an independent suspense account by affected ratepayers until adequate municipal services are resumed.
An opening for such relief was left in the Constitutional Court ruling in the recent Rademan case, as long as the aggrieved ratepayer could document and quantify individual damages caused by non-delivery of services specified in the Municipal Systems acts. It appears unethical, for example, for Rhodes to pay R3 million a month in rates as well as bear the considerable cost of emergency water supplies, cancelled conferences and student applications and damage to brand value.
None of these sanctions are possible unless rate-payers prepare affidavits detailing service delivery failures and ?nancial damages, as well as instances where offers of voluntary skilled help have been ignored. And none of them will take place unless representative organisations such as the Residents’ Association and Business Forum, NGOs such as PSAM, unions and faith communities initiate the above sanctions. Our town is in crisis: the only way forward is assertive and sustained civic activism across a broad front.