TCLM Officials pull a no-show at conference

LYDENBURG – Thaba Chweu Local Municipality (TCLM) officials were a noshow at a community meeting at the civic hall on Thursday night. Hundreds of residents arrived at the meeting with the hope of being able to discuss several issues relating to service delivery with the officials. The seats reserved for members of the mayoral committee remained empty.

The question was asked, why did the officials not pitch? DA councillor, Mr Nicko Janse van Vuuren, said that he personally invited the members telephonically and via email. Locals uttered their utmost regret that TCLM did not feel the need to address those paying for their services. Several heated discussions about water and electricity took place during the meeting.

Only one official later joined Janse van Vuuren and Mr Gravett Herbst on stage. The MMC for finance, Mr Markus Mashego, was the only member of the mayoral committee who showed up. DA MP, Mr Farhat Essack, addressed the residents and said that TCLM was a stage full of actors.

“The political agenda is severely strong at local government. If you are connected, you get the job, whether you are qualified or not. TCLM received a municipal infrastructure grant (MIG) of R94 million. I asked the municipal manager to show me one capital project that TCLM had completed successfully, not only in Lydenburg but also in Sabie and Graskop. It is tragic, but there was nothing to show.” Essack said that if there was no political will, and you did not have the right people in place nothing would change.

TCM’s spokesman, Mr Puleng Mapheto, responded to the media queries regarding the absence of the members. “Firstly, it is not compulsory for the officials to attend a community meeting called by any political party. “Ward councillors are mandated by the law to have meetings with their constituencies. Officials are only deployed during mayoral imbizos and communityoutreach programmes whereby members are obliged to offer a technical support to the politicians. The municipal and senior managers (directors) deal with administrative issues and all other political matters similar to the case at hand. Other political issues are directed to the Office of the Speaker.”

Mapheto said the executive mayor was committed to another official engagement, and if she was informed in time, she was more than willing to be part of any meeting called by the members of community. “However, all ward councillors are aware of the processes and procedures to call community meetings. In conclusion, the invitation forwarded was delivered to the relevant office of finance and technical services, MMC Mashego, and he was in attendance. He actually clarified most concerned issues raised during the said meeting,” said Mapheto

Narda Vermaak

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