COPE raised four issues against Ndlambe municipality in a press conference last week.
Acting chairman for the subregion, Zamabuntu Payi, said service delivery matters had not been attended to with the urgency they deserved.
“We are on the road to anarchism,” he said.
The first challenge is the most urgent as it relates to the water crisis currently faced by mainly township residents. Payi said the municipality had not offered any explanation in reply to Cope members or to the public in general.
“Is this the meaning of democracy?” he asked.
Cope regional secretary Stwiga Njibana said the municipality had down everything to satisfy the ratepayers in Port Alfred after only a few days of not having water. There is no pressure from the township when things go wrong, he said.
Payi claimed the municipality had employed unqualified engineers and is paying unnecessary overtime to its employees. Cope intend to ask the municipality for a report on why this water crisis occurred when people where getting paid to do their job every month.
“We are investing a lot of money in infrastructure but we are not seeing any result,” said Njibana.
“We cannot blame apartheid; they have been in power for 18 years. They are blaming apartheid for bad infrastructure”, said Payi.
Appointment of directors
Their second concern was with how directors are appointed within the municipality. Payi said it was important this be done on a merit system and not simply redeployment at the hands of those who control resources. After 18 years of democracy, some are accumulating wealth at an alarming rate, he said.
He said the municipality prefers those who claim they have certain qualifications but then cannot prove it. He would prefer people who have grown up in Ndlambe, know the area and have Ndlambe’s interests at heart to be considered for director’s positions.
Payi said the municipality is losing out on money because they have to pay according to their qualifications.
“These funds could have been used to improve the lives of the people,” he said.
Municipal spokesman Cecil Mbolekwa said in response the municipality appointed people based on their qualification and experience and that the new directors have been appointed based on that.
Payi believes it is critical that directors and all other municipal employees undergo a lifestyle audit as they seem to be living beyond their means.
“This is a growing trend in local government,” he said.
He wants the municipality to check that those who work for them are not getting another income or kick-backs as a result of their position. He said there are those in office who are benefitting from Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) and affirmative action. Those who are not part of the ruling party are not awarded tenders.
“Society cannot be left to suffer in silence, it is time to make things right,” he said.
Mbolekwa refused to comment about the lifestyles of employees.
“When we are awarding tenders we follow our procurement policy which spells out very clearly specific requirements that one has to follow when submitting his or her tender document. We are not selective,” he said.
Since the local government elections, councillors have not called a single meeting in their area, Njibana claimed. He asked what the ward committees were doing as they are still getting paid.
“We don’t want to be seen as only criticising. We want the municipality to call and indaba so people with skills can come forward and assist. We need all the brains of Ndlambe,” said Njibana.
Mbolekwa said councillors have met their requirements in terms of holding the public meetings and they have submitted their schedule of meeting to the speaker of council which is being monitored by the speaker and the mayor.