Councillors don’t read newspapers

DEAR Reader, It might come as a shock to you, but it has become clear that your elected councillors do not read newspapers.
This became evident during last week’s tabling of the draft annual budget when Kouga executive mayor Booi Koerat delivered an open and frank speech.
Although it was heart-warming and encouraging to hear the mayor so gallantly acknowledging the calamitous state of the municipality’s finances, it was also extremely worrying – because all the wrong-doings Our Times has reported on the past couple of years are only now being acknowledged by the present council.
Our Times was often, and is still being accused of being negative, and has been threatened with court action as we relentlessly exposed poor management within the municipality, warned of their extensive wage bill and informed our readers of the exorbitant debt to Eskom and the Nelson Mandela Metro. Surprisingly the mayor claims the present council did not realise the dire financial situation facing this municipality when they came into power last year May.
This newspaper has been shouting about poor management, nepotism, and downright theft and fraud from the roof tops – yet no one has heard!
However, what never fails to amaze is how all the institution’s financial woes are still blamed on the past. They claim ignorance (where were they these past four years?). It might well be so in the case of the mayor and the newly-elected councillors but what about the mayoral committee and the returning councillors?
The present finance portfolio councillor Vernon Stuurman, Thandeka Maseti, Phumzile Oliphant, Virginia Camellio-Benjamin, speaker Magdeline Dlomo are all old school as are Nico Botha, Chimpie Cawood, Murcia Ungerer and Ben Rheeder.
So why were nine of the current 29 councillors so shocked to realise the municipality’s dire straits?
Some of the above- mentioned councillors occupied key positions in the previous council and still do. So why the sudden plea of ignorance?
Perhaps not all of them were able to voice an opinion previously, or to make a difference.
It is now apparently common knowledge that the three Rs – Robbie (previous mayor), Ridwaan (sacked chief financial officer) and Rankwana (sacked municipal manager) had ruled the municipality with an iron fist and did not take advice from anyone.
Be that as it may the dismal state of the municipality cannot be ignored, and hopefully those who had no say in the past will now be heard. So let us give the current council the benefit of the doubt as the mayor believes they are making inroads in returning the Kouga to the once vibrant and well kept “place of abundance” it used to be.
– Cindy Liebenberg.

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