MEDIA STATEMENT: KZN COGTA MEC HLOMUKA CONDEMNS EXPLOSION AT MSUNDUZI CITY HALL

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KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka has condemned in the strongest possible terms the explosion that shook the Msunduzi City Hall today as Cogta-appointed administrator of the municipality Sbu Sithole was to present a confidential report.

KZN Cogta MEC has a called for an urgent investigation into the incident. The department will continue to support uMsunduzi municipality and everyone who is serious about restoring it to full functionality. The administration of the municipality remains in place until there is tangible improvement in Msunduzi’s fortunes.

“This is an act of terrorism, pure and simple. We cannot allow unknown assailants to paralyse our local government institutions and intimidate our officials and the general public. What happened in Pietermaritzburg today has no place in a civilised society,” said an indignant Hlomuka.

“We will not be intimidated by actions of individuals who seek to create chaos and sow discord. Our role is to support municipalities in this province and this is what we will continue to do. However, we urge all our and municipal officials to take the necessary safety precautions going forward,” said Hlomuka.

For more information contact: KZN Cogta spokesperson Lennox Mabaso, 082 884 2403

 

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KZN COGTA MEC HLOMUKA VOWS TO ADDRESS WATER CONCERNS OF MHLABUYALINGANA RESIDENTS

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KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka has vowed to address concerns of Skhemelele residents in the uMhlabuyalingana local municipality who had embarked on a violent service delivery protest demanding water.

Hlomuka engaged with the protesters this afternoon and proposed a couple of options KZN Cogta would be looking at in order to address both the long-term and short-term water needs of the community. The MEC made an impromptu visit to the community despite his busy schedule.

“We are concerned about what has transpired in this area where residents do not have access to clean drinking water while they have the Shemula Water Scheme not too far away. We are looking at various options, which include reticulation of the water scheme to ensure that members of this community benefit as well. We are also looking at bringing in water tankers as a short-term relief measure while we map out the best way address the concerns of the community in the long run,” said Hlomuka.

Hlomuka promised to meet again with the community in less than a week to provide its members with concrete steps to be taken to address their concerns. The MEC was accompanied by the Mayor of uMkhanyakude District Cllr Solomon Mkhombo.

For more information contact: KZN Cogta spokespersons Lennox Mabaso, 082 884 2403; or Senzelwe Mzila, 082 474 1882

Twitter: www.twitter.com/kzncogta

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kzncogta

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Website: www.kzncogta.gov.za

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Debate by MEC Hlomuka on 2019/20 Budget for National Department of Cogta

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DEBATE ON 2019/2020 BUDGET FOR NATIONAL DEPARTMENT OF COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS

BY HON. SE HLOMUKA

KZN MEC FOR COGTA

NCOP: 19 JULY 2019

Honourable Chairperson;

Honourable Members;

It is said that time and spaces are significant determinants in history as they define the actuality of any period. They tell us about the challenges and opportunities of any period and the possibilities permitted by such period.

The Honorable Minister, during the Budget presentation eloquently defined the actuality of the period we are in as a country and quite succinctly sketched the bright possibilities ahead – particularly the mission to grow South Africa and create nothing but jobs! Jobs! And more Jobs !

In her articulation of our radical socio-economic agenda to grow South Africa, the Honourable Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, took full charge of the cooperative governance and traditional affairs, vehicle that will transport this country on a journey towards achieving NDP vision 2030.  There can be no doubt that in Honourable Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, we have a driver who knows where she and her team are heading.

The 2019/2020 budget for national Cogta, was bound to be an impressive budget because it presents a vision that will take the sector of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to another level. This comes from a minister with a stellar career in championing ground breaking developments as a former Minister of Health, Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Chairperson of the African Union Commission.  Many of her achievements in each of these portfolios now form part of the collective legacy of our successive democratic governments.

We are lucky to have Dr Dlamini-Zuma in charge of Cogta at a time when this portfolio is seeking reclaim its role of being a developer of choice for South Africa. We are confident that Dr Dlamini-Zuma will bring her vision, her special brand of energy, her hands-on management, her judgment and her woman’s touch to Cogta addressing the stubborn challenges facing the local governance sector such as precarious finances, governance issues and service delivery shortcomings.

As articulated by the Minister, policy continuity and change will define the work we will collectively perform in this sector. The ongoing Back to Basics programme is a good starting point for any discussion of local government in South Africa today. The programme rests on the pillars of governance, financial management, service delivery, capacity building, and public participation. Dr Dlamini-Zuma has made clear how she intends to deal with each of these areas in her budget speech.

Coming from the province of KZN – which has the largest number of municipalities of any province, the largest number of deep rural and the largest number of traditional leaders, we would like to bring our own experiences and solutions to the vibrant debate in this House and the debate on the future of local governance in our country as a whole.

In many ways, KZN is the microcosm of local government in South Africa. We are representative of both its successes and its shortcomings. In order to maximise the successes and minimise the shortcomings, we have undertaken an assessment of the current state of local government in our province. Its aim was to get to the bottom of the multiple challenges and to sharpen our own response as Cogta to them.

We have collected up-to-date information, reconciled it with the existing municipal reports and corroborated it with the municipal leaders, both administrative and political, in each one of KZN’s 54 municipalities. We have found municipalities with unfunded budgets, high levels of irregular expenditure, unspent conditional grants, high vacancy rates and poor state of service delivery to communities.

With all of this information on hand, we have formulated in details how our support programmes will have to change to offer comprehensive and targeted support to municipalities that is tailor-made to their specific needs and challenges. Going forward, we will support as best as we can, but we will also demand strict consequent management for all manner of wrongdoing.

We are determined to build on the successes we have, such as the 34 municipalities with unqualified audits, all of which we will support so that they can graduate to the clean audit category where we already have Okhahlamba. We will also build on the successes of municipalities that have excelled in the provision of universal access to electricity, such as Kokstad and Danhauser which have electricity in every ward. We will respond comprehensively to the challenges of non-payment for services.  We will roll-out campaigns to encourage communities to pay for what they use.  We commit to ensuring that we will write a new narrative for local government in the coming years and we will ensure that this sector is repositioned to achieved its sustainability phase as envisage in the local government white paper.

At the same time, we will be uncompromising when it comes to maladministration, fraud and corruption. We will continue to conduct forensic investigations, speed up the tabling of our reports in the affected councils and sharpen our tools in ensuring that our recommendations are implemented even when this means that those fingered in the investigations are brought to book and lost funds are recovered.

We are encouraged by the recent judgment by the Western Cape High Court where a custodial sentence has been imposed on a former Municipal Manager for offences relating to irregular expenditure. This adds bite to the provisions contained within the MFMA and we hope that our Municipal Managers will note the possible consequences for failing to prevent irregular expenditure in their municipalities.

As we consider our best response to the challenges in our own municipalities, we rest assured that our counterpart department at national level is in the best possible hands of Hon. Minister Dlamini-Zuma. We pledge to work with her as she tackles the day to day running of one of South Africa’s most contentious portfolios and we also pledge to give her our unwavering support.

In conclusion Honourable Chairperson, I want to say.  We are led by a woman of less talk and more action, indeed as Thomas Sankara instructed us, in this sixth administration “Our revolution will not be a public-speaking tournament. Our revolution will not be a battle of fine phrases. Our revolution will not simply be for spouting slogans that are no more than signals used by manipulators trying to use them as catchwords, as codewords, as a foil for their own display. Our revolution is, and should and will continue to be, the collective effort of revolutionaries to transform reality, to improve the concrete situation of the masses of our country”.

As KZN we welcome and support the budget presented by the Honourable Minister of Cogta.

I thank you!

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Hlomuka sends condolences following passing of uMzumbe councillor

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Hlomuka has also expressed his heartfelt condolences to the uMzumbe local municipality and the family of the late Janet Thembi Radebe (68) following her sudden passing.

“Councillor Radebe served in the council since the local government election in 2016 and has greatly contributed towards the improvement of lives in this deeply rural municipality. As the sphere of local government, we mourn this great loss. Our councillors make immeasurable sacrifices in fulfilling their roles in our communities and when one of them passes away, it deeply hurts,” said Hlomuka.

During this difficult time, our thoughts and prayers are with the uMzumbe municipality, the Radebe family and the late councillor’s political party who all lost a dedicated person who always put the needs of her community first.

For more information contact: KZN Cogta spokespersons Lennox Mabaso, 082 884 2403; or Senzelwe Mzila, 082 474 1882

 

Twitter: www.twitter.com/kzncogta

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kzncogta

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Website: www.kzncogta.gov.za

 

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MEC Hlomuka announces appointment of Local Government Deputy Director General

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KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka has welcomed the appointment of Mr Thulani Mdadane, from the department of Public Works, to the role of Deputy Director General for Local Government within the department.

Mr Mdadane will lead a team of highly motivated local government specialists within the department who are tasked with ensuring that adequate support is provided to the province’s 54 municipalities which are facing a myriad of challenges.

Hlomuka has welcomed the appointment and has wished Mr Mdadane all the best in his new role: “We wish Mr Mdadane all the best in this important task that he has been given in spear-heading the turnaround of local government in the province,” said Hlomuka.

Mdadane has the following qualifications: a Master’s degree in Construction Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, a Bachelor of Information Science degree from UNISA, an Honours degree in Information Science from UKZN, a Master’s degree in Infrastructure Design from UCT, an MBA from MANCOSA, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Labour Law from the Graduate Institute of Management and Technology. He has served in various management roles within the Provincial Government.

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MEC HLOMUKA CONDEMNS HARRASSMENT OF JOURNALIST IN ETHEKWINI

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KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka has expressed his concerns at the alleged violence which led to the ill-treatment and man handling of journalists during a protest outside eThekwini City Hall

“We condemn the violence and heavy handedness in dealing with journalists. The right to protest is enshrined in the Constitution, however, it must be exercised without infringing on the right of others. Equally so, Media freedom is a right entrenched in the constitution of the country and journalists play a critical role in holding the sphere of local government accountable and should be able to conduct their work without any fear or favour” said Hlomuka.

Hlomuka has tasked officials within the department to provide him with a detailed report on this matter.

For more information contact: KZN Cogta spokespersons Lennox Mabaso, 082 884 2403; or Senzelwe Mzila, 082 474 1882

 

Twitter: www.twitter.com/kzncogta

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Website: www.kzncogta.gov.za

 

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KZN COGTA AND ESKOM CONTINUE TO NEGOTIATE IN AN EFFORT TO AVERT PENDING POWER INTERRUPTION AT MPOFANA MUNICIPALITY

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KZN Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), under the directive of MEC Sipho Hlomuka, has today met with Eskom in an attempt to avert an electricity interruption at Mpofana local municipality.

The meeting follows Eskom’s publishing of a notice of intent to interrupt electricity supply to Mpofana daily beginning from Monday 8 July 2019 at 6am. This is due to the municipality’s overdue debt to the power utility.

Cogta together with the Eskom delegation are still engaged in intense discussions to prevent the interruption in Mpofana municipality.  Whilst there appears to be no immediate solution as yet, both parties are optimistic that a breakthrough may still be found.

The parties will continue negotiating throughout the weekend keeping in mind that Eskom has set the deadline of Monday 8 July 2019 at 6am to effect the interruption.

Cogta has appealed to all Mpofana residents, businesses and farmers who owe the municipality for services to make immediate payments to prevent the interruption.

Should an agreement acceptable to both parties be reached over the coming weekend, further communication will be issued to keep the public informed.

For more information contact: KZN Cogta spokesperson, Lennox Mabaso, lennox.mabaso@kzncogta.gov.za, 082 884 2403, and Eskom Communications and Stakeholder Manager, Joyce Zingoni, zingoni@eskom.co.za, 084 556 5778

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MEC Hlomuka meets with Amakhosi in Durban

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The KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Mr Sipho Hlomuka, met with the Province close to 300 Amakhosi in Durban in an engagement called the Trads MEC. The engagement provides a platform for both amakhosi and the MEC to discuss pertinent issues that are affecting the institution of local government. The engagement was held on Tuesday 25 June 2019 in Durban-City Hall.

MEC Hlomuka thanked amakhosi for the positive role that they continue to play in the development of rural communities across the province. “Amakhosi are reliable partner to government in its efforts to develop rural areas and ensure that adequate services are rendered to these communities. Through this engagement we aim to engage you as Amakhosi on how we can strengthen and solidify our relationship. The task that we have as the provincial government is one that we cannot hope to possibly achieve if we do not have buy in from the institution of traditional leaders within our province” said Hlomuka.

Chairperson of the Provincial House of the Traditional Leaders, Inkosi Phathisizwe Chiliza, on behalf of the Traditional Council, welcomed the engagement with the MEC and expressed the desire of Amakhosi to see the strengthening of working relations between Amakhosi and the sphere of local government. Chiliza also raised issues such as the transportation of Amakhosi, remuneration, as well as housing subsidies that he requested the new administration to look into.

In his response MEC Hlomuka, welcomed the positive engagement with Amakhosi and promised to look into the issues that were raised.

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KZN COGTA: POOR MUNICIPAL AUDIT OUTCOMES – MEC HLOMUKA PROMISE IMPROVEMENT AND CONSEQUENCES

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KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka has noted the report on the audit outcomes of municipalities for the 2017/2018 financial year. The outcomes show that 34 KZN municipalities have received unqualified audits (including one clean audit), 13 had qualified opinions, six had adverse findings and one had a disclaimer.

“We congratulate the majority of our municipalities that have received unqualified audits outcomes. This is a reflection on the hard work by their officials and such hard work must be acknowledged and encouraged going forward. Ideally, we would like this success repeated and improved upon in the audit outcomes for the 2018/2019 financial year,” said Hlomuka.

KZN Cogta MEC has also urged all municipalities to analyse the Auditor-General’s findings and implement immediate consequence management measures where required. In practice, no bonuses should be paid to officials in municipalities where the latest audit outcome was a disclaimer or an adverse opinion or where there has been no tangible improvement.

“We would also like to see a situation where mayors and municipal managers who have failed to apply due diligence will face having all wasted public funds recovered from them. It is clear that all rules have to be enforced if they are to yield the desired outcomes. We need to get serious about improving our municipal audit outcomes across the board,” said Hlomuka.

We will continue assisting municipalities to improve their audit outcomes through targeted support programmes and regular engagements with all poorly performing municipalities in the province. All departmental support programmes will be reviewed in light of the latest audit outcomes.

“As we ponder on these municipal audit outcomes, we are reminded of former President Nelson Mandela’s words to remain positive into the future: the important part is not how many times one has fallen but how many times one has risen after one has fallen. This, however, does not mean that we can condone repeated failure where there is no evidence of improvement,” said Hlomuka.

For more information contact: KZN Cogta spokespersons Lennox Mabaso, 082 884 2403; or Senzelwe Mzila 082 474 1882

Twitter: www.twitter.com/kzncogta

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kzncogta

Instagram: www.instagram.com/kzncogta

Website: www.kzncogta.gov.za

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Media Statement: THOUSANDS SET TO TAKE PART IN 2019 Mandela Day Marathon

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“This year’s Mandela Day Marathon promises to exceed all expectations” -these were the words of KwaZulu-Natal Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Sipho Hlomuka who convened a press briefing at the Mandela Capture Site in Howick today to give updates on the 2019 edition of this Iconic race.

“We are very excited that the marathon continues to grow in leaps and bounds and is fast becoming a key event in the province’s racing calendar. We have set ourselves an important target of delivering an excellent marathon that will reflect the values that Madiba stood for. This year is a significant year when our country is celebrating 25 years of freedom and we are excited that all our key partners are on board and are assisting to ensure that we deliver a spectacular race,” said Hlomuka.

Hlomuka was joined by Mgungundlovu District Municipality Mayor Cllr Thobekile Maphumulo and uMngeni Mayor Cllr Sizwe Sokhela. In her address Cllr Maphumulo hailed the economic benefits that the District continues to gain from hosting this historic marathon.

Race Director, Johan van Staaden, announced that for this year’s edition of the marathon entries will be capped at 18000 athletes for the various races which will take place at the end of August. “We have also increased the number of buses that will shuttle athletes from the finish line to the various parking areas. The number of security and personnel that will be assisting with the marathon has also been increased,” said van Staaden.

The total prize money for the Weekend of Festivities is over R3-million, with the winner of the 42 KM walking away with R100 000 in each category.

The Mandela Day Marathon weekend of festivities will see thousands of atheletes take part in the various sporting codes on 24 and 25 August. These activities include Mountain Biking, Hiking and the Triathlone. On the Sunday, athletes will tackle the 10 KM, 21 KM and 42 KM ultra marathon in honour of Madiba’s legacy.

Hlomuka was today accompanied by the Mgungundlovu District Mayor Cllr Thobekile Maphumulo and the uMngeni Mayor Cllr Sizwe Sokhela.

Entries for the marathon have opened and top international athletes are expected to take part.

“#KeepRunningTheLegacy”

For more information contact: KZN Cogta spokespersons Lennox Mabaso, 082 884 2403; or Senzelwe Mzila, 082 474 1882

Twitter: www.twitter.com/kzncogta

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kzncogta

Instagram: www.instagram.com/kzncogta

Website: www.kzncogta.gov.za

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