Corrupt councillors and municipal officials will have no place to hide after a current investigation into corruption conducted by the Newcastle Municipality seeks to deal with misconduct without fear or favour, as per the announcement of the Newcastle Mayor Cllr Advocate Makhosini Nkosi during a media briefing, last Thursday.
The mayor admitted that he was well aware of many incidents of corruption by staff members and it will be dealt with and the necessary steps will be taken.
The mayor also pleaded with Newcastle residents to refrain from using social networks as platform to lay complains to the municipality. This comes after several incidents of complaints addressed to the mayor on the Newcastle Classifieds Facebook page.
Cllr Nkosi said social networks should be used to raise issues but relevant people are always available to attend to any complains at the municipal offices.
The mayor urged residents to come forward if they dispute the high municipal bills instead of lashing out on social network. Despite this call, the mayor was concerned over the bills and stated that the municipality does not get any pleasure from the stress by residents over the bills.
Social network will not even start to resolve the problem, it’s not a platform to solve problems but to raise issues and awarenesses, but if you want your problem to be resolved, approach us and if you cannot get help with our junior staff members, escalate it to the SEDs and subsequently to the municipal manager. We are confident that every individual will be listened to, Cllr Advocate Nkosi said.
Mayor Nkosi presented a report with progress of the past 12 months and plans for the year ahead with re-appointed Municipal Manager, Errol Mswane and Strategic Executive Director of Community Services Dr Dumisane Thabethe. Newly appointed Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Bheki Hlongwa was also formally announced after Sisho Nkosi was acting for two years. The municipality was without a permanent CFO for the past four years.
Despite Nkosi acting for two years, the mayor assured the media that the new CFO’s appointment was above board and he was the suitable candidate for the post.
Four SED posts for Corporate Services, Community Services Technical Services, Planning and Development have been advertised.
The mayor said they hope to fill these positions in the next four months to complete the top management structure and bring stability to the municipality.
Since there was no mayoral budget for financial assistance to varsity students, the mayor also plans to create a budget to bridge a gap that exists in finance and engineering within the municipality. The recipients will be awarded full bursaries until the completion of their studies. We decided to create a bursary that will be solely catering for a finance qualification and engineering with an understanding that those people will come and work for us.
A budget will be set aside and students will be awarded with bursaries. The process is very transparent, we will form a committee comprising of officials who will receive applications and go through them and consider academic performance and financial status of the applicants,” the mayor stated.
The mayor also said the municipality is embarrassed by the fact that Newcastle has been without parking meters for almost eight years.. He said although the meters will not add much to the municipality, but it will create a better environment for business as people will no longer opt for the malls because of the lack of parking space which affects business in the CBD.