The Council of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality approved its draft Integrated Development Plan (IDP), draft Operating and Capital Budgets as well as its 2013/14 Draft Property Rates Policy today during a full sitting of Council.
Further consultative sessions will take place regarding all these important documents and it will be revised before final adoption towards the end of May.
Executive Mayor Benson Fihla said although some of the views of stakeholders have been incorporated into the documents, the institution still needs to intensify its campaign in order to ensure that meaningful consultation with other important stakeholders also take place.
“It is our intention to consult, immediately after the adoption of this draft IDP and budget, the multi-party whippery and convene an IDP and budget monitoring task team in an effort of ensuring that their meaningful participation find its expression in these documents,” he said.
The full statement by Executive Mayor Benson Fihla is below:
It is with greatest pleasure to welcome all of you in this important special meeting of the council that will amongst other things consider the 2013/2014 draft integrated development plan, service delivery and budget implementation plan. All these documents forms part significant legislative documents with stringent timelines that emanates from the various pieces of legislation such as the municipal finance management act and the municipal systems act respectively.
Speaker, I wish to highlight that the integrated development plan and the budget that will be tabled today looks much better than the initial version tabled in the previous council meeting. This is precisely because we have made a concerted effort in ensuring that the views of the external and internal stakeholders are incorporated in this draft Integrated Development Plan and Budget to make it more credible than it was.
Fellow Councillors, although some of the views of our stakeholders have been incorporated into this 2013/2014 draft integrated development plan and budget, let me not hasten to mention that we still need to intensify our campaign in order to ensure that meaningful consultation with some other important stakeholders takes place. It is our intention to consult, immediately after the adoption of this draft idp and budget, the multi party whippery and convene an idp and budget monitoring task team in an effort of ensuring that their meaningful participation find its expression in the draft idp and budget. We strongly believe that the necessary consultation and inputs from all stakeholders would have been considered during the consideration of the draft IDP and budget for final approval by the council in May 2013.
Honourable Speaker, we need to ensure that whilst we will be passing this draft IDP and budget in May 2013, our capacity to spend the budget is simultaneously increased. It is a serious embarrassment on the part of both the administrative and political leadership of the municipality to witness the funds being rolled over to the following financial years as if the municipality does not have challenges that requires its immediate financial interventions. I’m really pleading to everyone involved in service delivery that this unpleasant situation must come to an end as a matter of extreme urgency.
Fellow Councillors, a worrying and glaring example of what I have just alluded to relates to the spending patterns in the integrated public transport system grant. It is a well known fact that we previously had our own challenges in so far as this project is concerned but even though we have overcome major hurdles that confronted this project, the spending patterns in this project leaves much to be desired. It must be remembered that this is one of the flagship projects in this municipality that could, if appropriately implemented, change the lives of the people in the entire metro. In view of the inappropriate levels of expenditure and slow delivery of this project to the communities, I hereby declare this project as an emergency project which should be handled with greatest circumspection. This project will form part of my delegation to the Deputy Executive Mayor as it forms part of strategic projects.
Honourable Speaker, the above announcement is merely based on the fact that our administrative processes especially the supply chain management issues requires some serious overhaul because of the malfunctioning of the current supply chain management committee system. What this implies therefore is for the municipality to explore certain allowed legislative provisions such as deviating from the normal supply chain management processes that are aimed at shortening the processes.
This is not the first time the municipality opted for this route, we have done it during the 2010 World Cup, why can’t we do it now especially for this significant project. However, the City Manager, as the head of the administration together with the relevant officials needs to exercise some serious caution in this regard.
This will eliminate all unnecessary complaints and delays in the speedy implementation of this project as a result of the normal supply chain management processes which takes ages to materialize, whilst the municipality is under siege.
On another note, Honourable Speaker, I would like to remind this house that that the council at its meeting dated 28 March 2013 considered amongst other items, item 4 submitted as a supplementary report of the City Manager dealing with the implementation of the macro organizational structure and the enhancement of the city manager’s office. The first 3 recommendations as contained in the said report are all rescinded except for recommendation number (d) relating to the urgent co-ordination of the recruitment and selection of senior management staff as a first step in stabilizing the administration. I want to be placed on record as saying that this is not based on anything else other than the non alignment of the administrative macro organizational structure into the political organogram as reflected by the announcement of the new mayoral committee members by the Executive Mayor on the 28 March 2013.
Further to this, the council, on the same meeting dated 28 March 2013, approved an item relating to the use of employment agency firm to conduct the recruitment and selection process for the filling of senior management vacancies. This item is also rescinded as I strongly believe that there is no doubt the necessary internal capacity to handle the recruitment and selection of the senior management staff.
Honourable Speaker I am now inducted and I know local government better than yesterday, thank you to Salga Eastern Cape. That induction of the past two days has sharpened my understanding of both my responsibilities and local government. The work has begun we must no longer be in the newspapers for wrong reasons but for good and right reasons.
We are blessed as Nelson Mandela Bay municipality as we are the hosts of APAC as identified by the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature. APAC was formed in 1997 as an association of Public Accounts Committees for the 9 Provincial Legislatures in South Africa and the National Parliament. The main aim of APAC is to promote credible financial management, accountability and good governance, through effective, collaborative, legislative, and oversight. Its vision is to develop and share effective and efficient Public Accounts Committees practices without fear of favour. The Conference will be in Boardwalk Casino from the 30th September – 3 October 2013 and 600 delegates across South Africa and other African countries such as Angola, Botswana, Seychelles, Kenya, Lesotho, Namibia, Tanzania, Malawi, Mauritius, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique amongst others will attend. A presentation will be made in the next Mayoral Committee and all councillors will be updated in due course.
We had a busy few weeks with the City Manager and some members of the Mayoral Committee since the last council conducting Imbizo’s with all municipal employees. It was for the first time that was done and was applauded by all municipal employees. Our employees have spoken about general challenges and working conditions affecting them which include amongst others pay parity, job evaluation, prolonged suspensions, cleanliness, service delivery, capacity building, recognition of long serving employees, neglect of their grievances, issues of transformation and leadership style.
We promised to come back to them again with the City Manager. We will also be paying a visit to some directorates in particular budget and treasury (supply chain) and infrastructure and engineering. We must address the concerns of our employees, their moral is very low.
Fellow councillors I few days time we will be celebrating freedom day and workers day. These events will be hosted at George Botha on the 27 April 2013 and 1 May 2013, in Uitenhage Jabavu Stadium. It is our responsibility to provide support for the success of these events. The constituency office must be given the necessary support to ensure that, these events become a success.
In closing, I once again plead for the full co-operation of everyone in ensuring that meaningful service delivery is realized.
Together, we can built better communities
Nkosinathi Benson Fihla
Executive Mayor: Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality