ESSENTIAL MUNICIPAL SERVICES TO CONTINUE IN KZN DURING LOCKDOWN: MEC Hlomuka

Posted Posted in News

KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka has assured residents across the province that essential services provided by municipalities, such as waste removal, water, sanitation, electricity and disaster management, will continue uninterrupted as the province and country commence with the 21-day lockdown as announced by the president to fight against the spread of Covid-19.

The department has issued a directive to municipalities in the province for Municipal Managers to sign letters which will be given to employees who perform essential services so that they can be able to move around unrestricted as they go about their jobs in line with the Disaster Management Act, 2002; Regulations issued in terms of Section 27(2) as gazzetted by the national Minister of Cogta Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

“During this difficult time we are faced with as a province, it is crucial that the sphere of local government plays its part as it is at the coalface of service delivery which is essential to the wellbeing of communities. In the engagements we have had with municipalities, we have emphasised the importance of implementing work from home measures where possible,” said Hlomuka.

“The success of the lockdown as announced by the President of the Country his Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa depends on all of us playing our part as the sphere of local government and the institution of traditional leadership,” added Hlomuka.

Access to water: 

The department also continues to support municipalities across the province with the provision of Jojo tanks. Since last April, the department has distributed 2300 Jojo tanks, and R160 millions worth of plant equipment which includes water tankers, waste trucks, honey suckers, TLBs, Graders and other equipment with the aim of speeding up the delivery of services.

While the fiscal space in the sphere of local government is constrained, Hlomuka has assured residents that municipalities will do their best to ensure that services are uninterrupted.

 

Ends.

 

480 total views, 140 views today

STATEMENT BY KZN MEC FOR COGTA SIPHO HLOMUKA IN RESPONSE TO THE PRESIDENTIAL DECLARATIONOF DISASTER IN RESPECT OF THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK

Posted Posted in News

In response to the announcements made by the President of the Republic, Cyril Ramaphosa, on national television last night in connection with the outbreak of the coronavirus and the steps designed to contain it, KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Sipho Hlomuka together with Head of Department of Cogta Thando Tubane today convened an urgent departmental management meeting to give practical effects to the far-reaching and necessary measures announced by the President.

 As one of the major stakeholders in the implementation of declarations of disasters, KZN Cogta will today proceed with the formal establishment of the Joint Operations Centre that will coordinate the province’s response to the declaration of national disaster within our jurisdiction. We will ensure that all key stakeholders, including the provincial Department of Health, are mobilised and all protocols are followed.

As a provincial government department, we will also ensure that all measures announced by the President in response to the coronavirus outbreak are implemented by KZN Cogta itself with regards to our staff as well as by all our stakeholders such municipalities and traditional institutions.

In line with the President’s announcements, we will ensure the following:

–          All upcoming departmental public events, such as the Local Government Indaba (scheduled for 24 March), are postponed until further notice.

–          KZN Cogta welcomes the steps taken by the Independent Electoral Commission to approach the Electoral Court to postpone all scheduled by-elections.

–          All plenary sittings of municipal councils with attendance of over 100 persons are suspended until further notice, with the exception of urgent sittings where the numbers of participants should be reduced below 100 persons.

–          Similarly, KZN Cogta recommends that all Traditional Council meetings and izimbizo involving more than 100 persons be postponed.

–          All departmental, municipal and Traditional Council meetings considered urgent and involving fewer than 100 persons can proceed provided stringent hygiene procedures and measures are implemented in addition to a clear health and safety plan for each meeting. We recommend that alternative solutions, such as teleconferencing, be explored in order to promote social distancing.

–          KZN Cogta is engaging with the Auditor-General to find an acceptable alternative communication solution for the upcoming municipal Integrated Development Plan roadshows, which are a legal requirement.

–          As of today KZN Cogta’s wellness officials are conducting a high-impact health awareness campaign in all departmental buildings and our appeal is that municipalities and traditional institutions follow suit.

–          As of today, KZN Cogta is working to improve hygiene standards in all departmental buildings and traditional institutions in the province.

–          Already in progress is KZN Cogta’s engagement with the provincial health authorities in managing situations where employees may have been exposed to the coronavirus. A special protocol will apply to any employee who has exhibited symptoms of the coronavirus.

–          As of today, KZN Cogta will discourage all non-essential travel for its employees and our appeal is that municipalities and traditional institutions follow suit.

We reiterate the President’s call for social solidarity at this difficult time. We urge everyone to maintain the highest standards of hygiene and minimise public exposure. Let us join hands in combatting the spread of this deadly virus in our communities!

5,286 total views, 112 views today

COGTA MEC Sipho Hlomuka moves with haste to address management vacancies in municipalities.

Posted Posted in News

The Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Sipho Hlomuka today met with the Mayors and Municipal Managers from municipalities that have a high number of vacant Section 56 Manager positions.

The meeting convened by MEC Hlomuka was aimed at fast-tracking the full capacitation of municipalities at management level so that they can respond better to the needs of communities. “The high vacancy rate in these municipalities is concerning as the failure to appoint section 56 managers undermines the ability of our municipalities to deliver services to our communities” said Hlomuka.

In the meeting, Mayors made presentations on the progress being made to fill these critical positions. The Mayors also highlighted challenges they are faced with in their efforts to recruit competent officials for these critical positions.

MuniMec addressed by NICD on Covid-19

Earlier in the day, Cogta MEC Sipho Hlomuka met with the Mayors and senior administrative leadership of municipalities, at the quarterly MuniMec meeting, which took place in Durban. Key among the issues that were discussed in this meeting is the implementation phase of the District Development Model, the improvement of Disaster Management policies within municipalities and the implementation of the Expanded Public Works Programme which provides a safety net for several impoverished communities.

The gathering was also addressed by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases which gave a presentation on the Corona Virus and the role the sphere of local government can play in ensuring that communities are made aware about Cov-19 and what measures one can take to limit the risk of exposure to the virus.

Cogta MEC Sipho Hlomuka welcomed the presentation by the NICD and encouraged municipalities to implement all the necessary hygiene measures more especially in front line service delivery buildings.

The meeting also resolved to fully support community awareness campaigns spearheaded by the Premier of the Province Sihle Zikalala which will see several roadshows being rolled out in the provinces Districts to raise awareness about the virus.

The MuniMec was also attended by the MEC of Agriculture, Bongi Sithole Moloi and Salga Chair Cllr Mkhulisi.

Ends

6,220 total views, 114 views today

COGTA MEC SIPHO HLOMUKA MARKS IMPORTANT MILESTONE AS 300 WOMEN COUNCILLORS GRADUATE

Posted Posted in News

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC, Sipho Hlomuka, this evening marked an important milestone in the provincial government’s efforts to empower women councillors and amakhosi, through tailor-made programmes that speak to their needs. 

 This evening, MEC Hlomuka together with the Deputy Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize and KZN Salga Chair, Cllr Nonhle Mkhulisi witnessed the graduation of 300 women councillors and amakhosi, who participated in the departments Press For Change Certificate Programme. Through this programme, participants studied modules on financial management, leadership, local government legislation and the constitution of the republic. 

 According to MEC Hlomuka, this programme gives councillors a thorough grasp of what is expected of them as they fulfil their oversight role within the respective municipalities. “We are excited to see so many female councillors graduating this evening. As the provincial government we are committed to empowering councillors with the necessary skills and knowledge they need so that they can speed up the delivery of services to our communities” said Hlomuka. 

 Speaking at the Graduation, the Deputy Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize, commended graduates for breaking barriers in their quest for getting an education that empowers them to serve their communities better. “The gowns you are wearing today mark an important turning point in the lives of the communities that you lead. Through the course you have completed you will now be able to deal better with any challenge that might face you as you go about executing your duties which are to bring better services to our communities” said Deputy Minister Mkhize.

 Earlier in the day, Cogta MEC Sipho Hlomuka presided over the Women In Leadership Dialogue, which saw 800 women councillors and amakhosi gather in Durban, to be empowered by various speakers on a variety of topics which include financial well-being, work and life balance. The gathering was also attended by experts from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, who made a presentation on the Corona Virus (Cov-19) and on what role women councillors and amakhosi can play in ensuring that accurate information is disseminated to communities about the virus. 

 

6,168 total views, 6 views today

Cogta scoops top EPWP award at Kamoso Awards Ceremony

Posted Posted in News

 

The Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs department under the leadership of MEC, Sipho Hlomuka last night scooped the MEC’s Recognition for Best Strategic Partner award in the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) at the prestigious Komoso Awards which were hosted by the Provincial Department of Human Settlements under the leadership of MEC Neliswa Peggy Nkonyeni.

Speaking about the award, Hlomuka has thanked Cogta staff under the leadership of HOD Tando Tubane, under whose leadership staff-continue to excel towards excellence in the important task of supporting municipalities in implementing service delivery programmes. “The awards that we continue to receive bear testimony to the commitment of Cogta staff in serving our communities. We are very humbled by this award and vow to continue to pursue excellence in bringing services to our communities” said Hlomuka.

The glittering ceremony also saw local and district municipalities getting recognised for various programmes they have implemented that are under the EPWP programme.

End

1,938 total views, 1 views today

CLEANUP OPERATIONS COMMENCE IN HOWICK FOLLOWING HEAVY RAINS THAT COLLAPSED MPOPHOMENI SERVICE STATION INJURING TWO PEOPLE

Posted Posted in News

The Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC, Sipho Hlomuka has dispatched disaster management teams to the Mpophomeni township following heavy rains coupled with hail that struck a number of houses and severely damaged a petrol station, yesterday afternoon,  which collapsed and damaged four cars and injured two people who were rushed to the nearest hospital.

 

Disaster Management teams have been dispatched by the department to the affected areas to assess the extent of the damage. Hlomuka has continued to urge residents to exercise extreme caution as inclement weather conditions continue to pose a serious danger to human life. Since the beginning of the year, the province has experienced a number of incidents, which have cost human lives and cause millions of rands worth of damage. 

 

Hlomuka has also called upon parents and teachers to ensure that scholars avoid flooded walkways and rivers on their way to school.

1,205 total views, 1 views today

500 GRADUATES DEPLOYED TO KZN MUNICIPALITIES IN GROUNDBREAKING INITIATIVE BY KZN COGTA MEC HLOMUKA

Posted Posted in News

KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka’s efforts to re-engineer and repurpose the sphere of local government in the province received a major boost this morning with the deployment of 500 graduates who will improve the capacity of municipalities to respond to the challenges experienced by communities.

Hlomuka this morning officially launched the two-year Local Government Graduate Internship Programme in Pietermaritzburg, through which his department has hired graduates in various fields, such as engineering, accounting, finance, town planning and others, to strengthen capacity in municipalities.

According to Hlomuka, the launch of this programme is a major turning point in the sphere of local government. “Through this programme, we are turning the tide against youth unemployment while also addressing the shortages of critical skills in our communities. Last year we assessed all our municipalities and the lack of certain skills was one of our main findings. This is why we have come up with this programme,” said Hlomuka.

One of the beneficiaries of this programme, Snethemba Manyoni, has hailed the project as a big breakthrough for her. “Being part of this programme has given me a lot of exposure as a civil engineering graduate. This is an opportunity for me to sharpen my skills and contribute towards government’s efforts aimed at speeding up the delivery of services to our communities,” added Manyoni who is serving her internship at the Msunduzi local municipality.

HLOMUKA WELCOMES THE APPOINTMENT OF SCELO DUMA AS MSUNDUZI MINISTERIAL REPRESENTATIVE 

MEC Hlomuka has also welcomed the appointment of Scelo Duma, a senior official from KZN Cogta, as the ministerial representative at the Msunduzi local municipality.

Duma who is a seasoned local government expert has worked in several roles within the sphere of local government, which include serving as municipal manager and ministerial representative at various municipalities. He is currently the Chief Director for Municipal Governance and Administration in the department.

As Chief Director, Duma is responsible for supporting and monitoring municipalities across the province and as part of that responsibility, manages municipalities under intervention, including Msunduzi.

Duma’s deployment follows the redeployment of former ministerial representative Sibusiso Clement Sithole to the Ugu district. Hlomuka has wished Sithole well in his new role. “Under the tutelage of Sbu Sithole, things began to improve at Msunduzi municipality. Our department is continuing its efforts to stabilise the municipality and the deployment of Scelo Duma is evidence of this,” said Hlomuka.

“We would like to assure Msunduzi residents that matters regarding the municipality are receiving priority attention from the department. Duma has been tasked to complete the work started by Sithole of stabilising waste management, assisting the municipality with the appointment of senior management and assisting the municipality to resolve its billing system challenges and revenue management, including collection.

Hlomuka has also expressed his confidence in Sithole’s ability to strengthen the functioning of the Ugu district. “The wealth of knowledge and experience of Mr Sithole will come in handy as he tackles the challenges that are facing the Ugu district and as a department, we will be continuing with our support to this important district,” concluded Hlomuka.

24 total views, no views today

TOURISM MINISTER KUBAYI-NGUBANE JOINED BY KZN COGTA MEC HLOMUKA IN OFFICIALLY OPENING MULTI-PURPOSE AND EXHIBITION CENTRE AT MANDELA CAPTURE SITE NEAR HOWICK

Posted Posted in News

On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of former President Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, the KZN Provincial Government has declared the development of the Mandela Capture Site outside Howick complete as it officially unveiled a multi-million rand Multi-purpose and Exhibition Centre at one of the province’s premier tourist sites.

“The release of Madiba on 11 February 1990 marked a turning point in the fight against apartheid. Our gathering at the Mandela Capture Site today affirms this site as a significant landmark in our history and one that ties KZN ever closer to the fabric of the Mandela legacy,” said national Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.

The Minister of Tourism was joined by KZN MECs for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka, Public Works and Human Settlements Peggy Nkonyeni, Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube, and Transport and Community Liaison Bheki Ntulu in officially opening the new state of the art structure at the Mandela Capture Site. The site now features this exhibition centre, the iconic Mandela monument and also hosts the annual Mandela Day Marathon.

“A great deal of hard work has gone into this site since the day it was officially unveiled on 5 August 2012 by former President Jacob Zuma on the 50th anniversary of Madiba’s capture. It now consists of a self-guided exhibition commemorating Madiba’s life and his transformation into a freedom fighter, prisoner and, ultimately, our first democratically elected President,” said Minister Kubayi-Ngubane.

The site also includes an impressive work of art constructed by South African artist Marco Cianfanelli. It is made up of 50 steel columns strategically arranged next to each other to reveal Madiba’s profile at a certain angle against the backdrop of the rolling hills of the KZN Midlands. The artwork is now a familiar sight thanks to the annual Mandela Day Marathon which uses it as its finish line.

“As a South African, one cannot help being overcome by emotions in this place. It is here that apartheid police finally captured Madiba on 5 August 1962 after being on the run for several months. This arrest was one of several that eventually led to the infamous Rivonia Treason Trial and Mandela’s imprisonment for 27 years,” said Hlomuka whose department has spent close to R100-million in developing the new Mandela Multi-Purpose and Exhibition Centre.

In her address, Minister Kubayi-Ngubane announced the commencement of a R12-million upgrade of the visitors’ parking, which includes a gatehouse, driveway upgrade, turning circle visitor parking, pedestrian walkways, internal fencing and way-finding signage. KZN Cogta is also to commence with R1.5- million improvements to the Mandela Sculpture lighting, the Long Walk to Freedom lighting, ambient lighting around the Education Centre, and additional electrical infrastructure which will ensure that the site can be utilised by tourists even at night.

The KZN Provincial Government has developed the site as a fitting tribute to these momentous events in the country’s history. In developing the site, the government had a vision of a sombre place for collective memories but also a place that could attract local and international tourists and provide economic opportunities for the local communities.

15,401 total views, no views today

KZN COGTA MEC HLOMUKA WELCOMES SWIFT ACTION AGAINST OFFICIALS IN CONNECTION WITH MISSING FUNDS AT ABAQULUSI MUNICIPALITY

Posted Posted in News

KZN Department for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), under the leadership of its MEC Sipho Hlomuka, is continuing with the fight against malfeasance in the sphere of local government in the province.

Hlomuka has welcomed the opening of a case in the Abaqulusi local municipality where an official is accused of siphoning off close to R4-million from the embattled municipality’s coffers.

It is alleged that in December 2019, when the municipality was making a payment of R3,918,716.89 to Eskom, an official changed the recipient’s banking details and when the bank discovered the discrepancy, the said official went further to instruct the bank to continue with the payment.

Upon discovery of this, the Administrator in the municipality moved with haste to secure an interim order for the preservation of the said funds. Through this exercise, R2,596,547.25 was recovered from the said official’s account.

A case has been opened by the municipality and the said official has been taken in for questioning. Hlomuka has welcomed the bold steps that have been taken by the Administrator to ensure that the municipality clamps down on corruption.

“We are very concerned by instances of corruption and as the department, we have a zero-tolerance policy for corruption within the sphere of local government because it compromises the fiscal standing of our municipalities and their ability to deliver services to our communities,” said Hlomuka.

Hlomuka has also issued a stern warning to officials within the province’s municipalities who are entrusted with the stewardship of municipal funds, saying that his department will not rest until those fingered in investigations are brought to book.

“We will never relent in our fight against corruption. Municipalities are not piggy banks for unscrupulous officials,” warned Hlomuka. The department will be keeping a keen eye on the police investigation into the matter at Abaqulusi.

18,915 total views, 1 views today

KZNCOGTA MEC HLOMUKA WELCOMES THE PAYMENT OF OUTGOING TC MEMBERS

Posted Posted in News

KZN Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), under the leadership of MEC Sipho Hlomuka, has confirmed that all outgoing Traditional Council members have received their stipends, which were paid on Friday, 31 January 2020.

Under the Traditional Leadership and Governance Act of 2005, members of the Traditional Councils, are entitled to a stipend that is based on the number of meetings they attend. The department has paid 1690 members of the outgoing TCs a total amount of R1 245 620.

Explaining the delay in the payments, Hlomuka said that the department has had to review its payments systems following a number of recommendations from the Auditor General. This meant that the department had to overhaul the system it used to pay the members and this has caused the delay in the processing of the payments.

“The payments we completed last week are a clear indication that the department has been able to resolve this issue,” said Hlomuka.

The department is currently facilitating the payment for the few remaining TC members who are either deceased or have not submitted completed forms that are a prerequisite for payment.

19,231 total views, 1 views today