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Makana Municipality makes small strides in the right direction

Date Released: Wed, 28 May 2014 08:00 +0200

Makana municipality has started 2014 on an encouraging note and is making little strides to clean up its tarnished image and get down to the real business of providing quality service delivery for the citizens of Grahamstown. Positive steps include the release of the Declaration of Interests of Councillors and Senior Managers of Makana municipality after a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) request by the Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM) in February this year and the investigation and dismissal of the former municipal manager Naidoo on charges related to contravening the Code of Conduct for Municipal Staff Members.

The recent appeal by Acting Makana Municipal Manager Planga to the National Treasury for skilled personnel to assist Makana municipality with its finances resulting in the deployment by National Treasury of Busi Khumalo as Acting Chief Financial Officer (CFO) also forms positive news. Furthermore, at Makana Municipality’s first ordinary council meeting of the year on 12 March Executive Mayor Peter spoke on the implementation of the Municipal Public Accounts Committee’s (MPAC) key recommendations in his opening address which should hopefully set the tone for what potentially could be improved management, governance, accountability and transparency with finances over the next few months. Some of the key recommendations by the MPAC which were adopted by Council on 12 March in which Executive Mayor Zamuxolo Peter requested urgency:

• A Budget Steering Committee should meet at least once a month.

• A new Special Financial Oversight Committee, which would include members of the Senior Management Team and relevant councillors, should be created. This committee should meet once a week.

• MPAC recommended that separate bank accounts should be set up for each conditional grant to ensure that funds are not spent illegally.

• MPAC recommended performance reviews regarding the failed submissions of Service Delivery and Budget Implementation Plan quarterly reports.

• MPAC recommended a workshop on the implication of non-compliance for the register of Fruitless, Unauthorised, Irregular and Wasteful Expenditure.

Over the next few weeks and months Makana municipality will be under intense scrutiny by all stakeholders concerned as it releases the annual report for 2012/2013, prepares to table the draft budget at the end of March, and tables the final budget in early July. Furthermore, one awaits to see the findings of the report on the intervention by the MEC for Local Government and Traditional Affairs Mlibo Qoboshiyane. He will be investigating Makana’s financial affairs and allegations of mismanagement of funds. A “fact finding” team has been sent to Makana, and it is anticipated investigations would be concluded in 30 days of the investigation starting. If it is found that there was criminal intent in relation to mismanagement of funds, the MEC would institute criminal proceedings against implicated officials. All of these processes will be sandwiched between the National elections that take place on 7 May. One hopes that the positive note in which the municipality has started the year continues throughout these key processes and Makana municipality can provide quality service delivery to all citizens of Grahamstown.