It was a day filled with heated debates last Thursday as the municipality held a special council meeting. At some point the speaker of the Mangaung Metro Municipality, Mxolisi Siyonzana, had to step in and reprimand the councillors. Siyonzana said that councillors were becoming too personal during the debate and reminded them to focus on the matters on the agenda. He even hinted that councillors might need a refresher course on council rules.
First on the agenda was the application for a R500 million loan. The application had been made by the previous council, stating that they needed the money for infrastructure projects. Mangaung Metro Mayor, Olly Mlamleli, said part of the R500 million will be used to pay contractors owed by the municipality, but the money will mainly be used for infrastructure.
During the council debates it was highlighted that compared to other metros in the country, Mangaung’s loan was not that high. “We debated and debated. Ultimately we agreed that we’ll take the R500 million, but we as the municipality must make sure that we service the loan, because if we have the loan and we don’t service it, it’s a problem,” said Mlamleli.
The recent adjustment in the water restriction percentage was also discussed, with some councillors stating that the municipality needs to ensure that residents are adhering to the restrictions and that those who waste water should be reprimanded. Councillors also added that some residents complained to them that after they had lodged a complaint with the municipality about water wasters, the municipality failed to follow up, with the speaker also admitting that law enforcement in this regard remains problematic.
It was then agreed upon that the water restriction change from 20% to 30% would be implemented and that water tariffs will now be at level three. This means that water tariffs will increase by 44%. The consolidation of the Integrated Development Plan for 2016/17 was also on the agenda, but there was no agreement on the matter.
Council then met in camera to discuss issues relating to vacant positions in the municipality. Executive mayor of Mangaung Metro, Olly Mlamleli, said she gave the council an update on the process of appointing a new city manager. The position has been advertised and they are now in the process of interviewing the shortlisted candidates.
Another matter discussed was the salary of new appointments in this new council, which states that heads of departments’ earnings will be calculated according to salary scale 7. Mlamleli said that this could cause tension as it means general managers in the municipality will earn more than departmental heads.
Mlamleli also discussed the progress of the investigation against former director of strategic projects, George Mohlakoana. Mohlakoana was suspended after failing to attend a compulsory competency course which cost the municipality R48 000. The municipality and Mohlakoana are currently holding discussions regarding settling out of court and him receiving a bonus. – Seithati Semenokane