MULTI-MILLION RAND OPERATIONKHAWULEZA PROGRAMME LAUNCHED IN NEWCASTLE

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The KZN Provincial Government under the leadership of Premier Sihle Zikalala today launched the R160-million Operation Khawuleza programme in Newcastle in the Amajuba District.

This programme, implemented through the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) under the leadership of MEC Sipho Hlomuka, will see millions of rand worth of plant machinery which includes graders, TLBs, waste trucks, honey suckers, rollers and the like handed over to municipalities so that they can deliver speedy services to communities.

Speaking at the launch, Premier Zikalala emphasised government’s commitment to capacitating municipalities so that they can take care of the needs of communities. “What we have launched today is an unprecedented and ground-breaking intervention aimed at capacitating municipalities to respond to service delivery challenges that have sparked dissatisfaction in communities. As the provincial government, we are determined to see our communities receive adequate services from our municipalities,” said Zikalala.

In his address, Cogta MEC Hlomuka called upon community members to protect the machinery that is being given to their municipalities since it will be used to service their needs. “With this plant equipment, municipalities will be better able to respond to your needs as communities. If there is a pothole or a broken water pipe, municipalities will now have the equipment to attend to it. This equipment comes at no cost to municipalities and we expect them to utilise it because every month we will be monitoring the usage of this equipment,” said Hlomuka.

Mayor of Newcastle, Cllr Ntuthuko Mahlaba, who was the first mayor to receive this equipment, has committed to ensuring that this critical tool is utilised efficiently and effectively in service to the people of Newcastle. “We are honoured to have received this equipment since now this municipality will not have to hire plant equipment and this will allow us to divert our scarce resources towards other pressing service delivery needs of our communities,” said Mahlaba.

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MEC HLOMUKA READS RIOT ACT TO ABAQULUSI COUNCIL

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Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC, Sipho Hlomuka has read the riot act on the Abaqulusi Council this afternoon, warning them to shape up or risk facing extraordinary measures by the province.

This follows the allegations that the leadership of the municipality have violated their responsibilities in respect of the implementation of the Constitutional intervention at the municipality by interfering with the work of the Administrator.

This municipality was placed under administration by the Provincial Government in February this year in terms of section 139 (1) (b) of the Constitution. A Ministerial Representative was appointed to work with councillors in getting this municipality back on its feet.

The allegations are that the leadership of the municipality caused the suspended Municipal Manager to return to work thus violating his suspension conditions. It is alleged that upon his return he approved millions worth of irregular payments.

 

The unlawful return of the Municipal Manager to office led to the Administrator taking the Municipal Leadership to court thus resulting in unnecessary wastage of municipal funds. MEC Hlomuka made it clear that such action must be followed by consequence management measures for both councillors and managers alike. 

 

“The Ministerial Representative is here on behalf of Cogta, he provides regular reporting and analysis is done on the progress the municipality is making.  In the assessment, we made recently, we have observed concerning trends, which negates our drive to ensure that this municipality gets all the basics right and serve the community of Abaqulusi better. We have received reports that there seem to have been numerous instances of confrontation where our Ministerial Representative is not receiving adequate support.  In some instances, he was pitted against the Speaker and the Deputy Mayor, with serious allegations of undue interference. 

 

Hlomuka also emphasized the fact that the municipality has an unfunded budget and thus the leadership has the responsibility to ensure that the finances of the municipality are used prudently.

 

The MEC emphasized and clarified the powers of the Administrator as a representative of the Cabinet of KwaZulu-Natal.

 

Hlomuka warned Councillors of the serious repercussions should they fail to continue to follow good governance practices.

MEC Hlomuka also introduced Mr Sibusiso Mkhize as the new administrator and asked the council to use the intervention to restore stability in the municipality.

Hlomuka ordered that all transactions authorized by the suspended Municipal Manager be investigated in order to hold accountable those behind the wrong decisions which have led to frivolous litigation at a huge cost to the ratepayers and the community of Abaqulusi

Hlomuka’s visit follows a number of incorrect decisions within this council and that are compromising good governance.

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KZN CoGTA SCOOPS TOP AWARDS AT NATIONAL SERVICE DELIVERY AWARDS CEREMONY

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KZN Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) under the leadership of MEC Sipho Hlomuka, has scooped top awards at the national Thusong Centre Service Excellence Awards held in Cape Town last night.

The awards recognised top-performing Community Service Centres across the country.   MEC Sipho Hlomuka congratulated his Department for this impressive showing, which saw it scoop a number of coveted awards, which include:

  • Most improved province in the Thusong Roll Out.
  • Outstanding Provincial Coordinator, which was won by Cogta employee Ms Bev Khanyile.
  • The Biyela Thusong Centre which was built by the department won in the category of Outstanding Satellite.

The province also won in the following categories:

  • The Mayor of uMshwathi Local Municipality was recognised for Special Contributions to the Thusong Programme
  • Outstanding Semi-Rural Hub was won by Maphumulo Thusong Centre
  • Outstanding Semi-Rural Hub – uMshwathi Thusong Centre (first runner-up)
  • Outstanding Semi-Rural – Urban Hub; Archie Gumede Thusong Centre (winner)

“This impressive achievement is a reflection of the ethos KZN Cogta pursues when it comes to fulfilling its constitutional obligation to the citizens of the province. As a department, we took a decision to aggressively roll out these community service centres which bring government services closer to communities. Currently, we have over 30 of these centres in our rural communities,” said Hlomuka.

“As a department, we will continue to strive for excellence in our efforts to bring government services closer to our communities. Awards such as these motivate us to do more in the service of our communities,” said Hlomuka.

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KZN COGTA MEC HLOMUKA TO ANNOUNCE GROUNDBREAKING INTERVENTION PROGRAMME AIMED AT IMPROVING CAPACITY IN MUNICIPALITIES

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The KZN provincial government through the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs under the leadership of MEC Sipho Hlomuka, is embarking on an unprecedented and ground-breaking intervention aimed at capacitating municipalities to respond to service delivery challenges that have sparked high level of dissatisfaction in communities.

Heavy plant equipment worth over R125 million is to be given to communities by the provincial government to respond to immediate infrastructure needs that in many instances have sparked service delivery protests.

The launch of Operation Khawuleza will be attended by the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, honourable Sihle Zikalala. Operation Khawuleza is the Provincial Government’s quick response to maintaining roads, fixing and maintaining infrastructure and many other service delivery issues. The Provincial Government led by Premier Zikalala, will handover graders, TLB’s, rollers, water tankers, refuse trucks and fire engines to municipalities across the province.

This programme a first of its kind intervention dubbed “Operation Khawuleza” is part of the directive by President Cyril Ramaphosa to attend to immediate infrastructure needs affecting communities.

The equipment that will be rolled out to municipalities comes at no cost and will ensure that municipalities are better able to handle key service delivery issues like the maintenance of roads, which includes the fixing of potholes, and the provision of sanitation and water. “We are committed to working with municipalities as the Constitution compels us to do. We have noted over the past couple of years that this critical sphere of local government is struggling to keep up with the demands of communities. As a response, we have decided to implement this revolutionary programme, which will ensure that municipalities have adequate machinery to be supplied by us so that we can collectively speed up service delivery,” said Hlomuka.

“Through this ambitious programme municipalities within our province are to fix at least 500 potholes a month. This equipment will be closely monitored to ensure that it is utilised effectively and efficiently,” said Hlomuka.

The Programme will be officially launched in Newcastle on Thursday, 19 September 2019 at the Gama Sports Ground, Ward 12, Johnstone, Newcastle at 11 AM.

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HOD Tubane Visits Two Hospitals During Public Service Week

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KZNCOGTA Head of Department Mr. Thando Tubane, on Monday, 09 September 2019, visited Umpumulo Hospital and Montebello Hospital, in the Ilembe District, as part of Public Service Week. HOD Tubane is the HOD Champion for ILembe District.

The HOD’s visit to the  health facilities in the iLembe District, was part of his initiatives of gearing towards the improvement of community services in the district where he is the HOD Champion.

After his visit to the two health facilities in iLembe District, HOD Thando Tubane, along with officials from his Department and officials  from the Department of Health, convened a strategic meeting with the aim of coming up with strategies which will fast-track the provision of health services in health facilities within iLembe District.

Amongst the key issues discussed at the strategic meeting between HOD Tubane and officials from the provincial Health Department, on Monday, 09 September 2019, were risk management, fraud and detection, effective use of technology and value for money on rendered services.

 

 

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KZN Department of Cogta Stands Up Against the Illegal Practice Of Ukuthwala (Abduction Of Girls)

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On Thursday, 28 August, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, under the leadership of MEC Sipho Hlomuka hosted an inter-generational dialogue on the practice of ukuthwalwa (the abduction of young girls under the pretext of cultural practice)  at the Qondokuhle Hall, Ward 6, in the uMzimkhulu Local Municipality. 

 

Officials from various provincial government departments presented the challenges they face due to this illegal practice, as well as how they plan to work together with the community to stop this abusive practice. 

 

Harry Gwala Deputy Mayor Cllr N Maphasa-Duma; Deputy Chairperson of the Harry Gwala Local House of Traditional Leaders Inkosi Mchunu; and local Mayor Cllr M Mpabanga, were among the dignitaries present at the dialogue.

 

In his opening remarks, Inkosi NP Msingaphansi expressed his concerns regarding the unlawful practice of abduction of young girls and the crime rate in the area, which include; livestock theft, and the rape of widows and old women. He expressed that no girl child should be robbed of her childhood and future, and pleaded with the police and Amakhosi for assistance.

 

UMzimkhulu Local Mayor Cllr M. Mpabanga said the Provincial Government’s Sukuma Sakhe intervention gives them great hope. He urged the community to be the eyes and ears of Government and to also report all criminal activities that take place in areas they reside in.

 

Representing the South African Police Service, Officer Kenneth Thabethe explained to the community that if they do not report issues to them, the police have no grounds to intervene. Officer Thabethe, appealed to the community to assist them even after they have apprehended the perpetrators, by providing testimony in court. “We have many instances where we apprehend suspect and when we are in court community members refuse to testify. This compromises our ability to deal with crime in this area effectively” said Officer Thabethe

 

Most arrests end up being ineffective, as the magistrate dismisses cases, due to lack of evidence. He pleaded with people to stand together and not be afraid of offenders.

 

Ms N Kheswa from Mhlanga Hospital revealed at the dialogue that the abduction of girls spreads sexually transmitted diseases. She reported that the victims often isolate themselves from other pupils, and end up dropping out of school. She also raised her concern that a greater percentage of these young wives suffer from postnatal depression, as they are not even psychologically ready to be mothers. According to statistics for the District, there are 122 girls every quarter from the age of 19 and below, who give birth making 21% of the maternity chart. Every quarter there are 50 girls between the ages of 10 and 19 years, who terminate pregnancies. 885 pupils between the ages of 10 – 15 are living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in UMzimkhulu. She pleaded with parents to educate their daughters about family planning and the practice of safe sex. 

 

Harry Gwala District Acting Mayor Cllr N Maphasa-Duma urged parents to prioritise the education of their children as this was an effective tool against poverty. 

 

A local social worker said that in the Ludzi rural community, surveys have shown that due to poverty, some families sell out their daughters, for a ransom of livestock.

 

A community member requested the Provincial Government to put up network lines so that it will be easier for them to report crime and alert neighbours on the phone.

 

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KZN COGTA MEC Hlomuka Mourns Passing Of Inkosi Biyela

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KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka has learned with shock and sadness of the passing of Inkosi Velemandleni Biyela (81) of the kwaYanguye Traditional Council in the King Cetshwayo District.

Inkosi passed away yesterday following a short illness. MEC Hlomuka has expressed condolences to the family and Isizwe saKwaBiyela: “Inkosi Biyela’s passing leaves a gaping void within the institution of traditional leadership. He was a fountain of wisdom and his worth of knowledge contributed immensely in the cementing of synergistic relationships between democratically elected leaders and traditional leaders”

As one of the elders within the institution, his passing resembled that of a library that just burnt.  Inkosi Biyela’s contribution towards the development of communities in the Mthonjaneni local municipality will be the lasting legacy that he will always be remembered for. The institution of traditional leadership has lost a great, humble leader who was a peacemaker and a unifier,” said Hlomuka.

MEC Hlomuka has dispatched a team of senior officials to support the family during this difficult time as they prepare for Inkosi’s burial, the details of which will be communicated in due course.

MEC HLOMUKA CONDEMNS BURNING OF TRADITIONAL COUNCIL IN ENDWENDWE

MEC Sipho Hlomuka has also condemned the heinous act of sabotage where unknown perpetrators torched the Ngcobo Traditional Council in the area of Mavela in the Ndwendwe local municipality.

This act of arson has compromised service delivery for the Ngcobo community who rely on the Traditional Council to facilitate the provision of government services to this community. Hlomuka has called for members of the public to come forward with information that will assist the law enforcement agencies in apprehending those responsible for this sabotage.

He has appealed to the law enforcement agencies to do all they can to bring those behind this dastardly act are brought to book. Such callous acts are a direct attack on the community because this is the infrastructure that brought closer services to the community and served as a springboard for their development.

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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KZNCOGTA MEC SIPHO HLOMUKA OPTIMISTIC ABOUT A BREAKTHROUGH ON ESKOM AND NEWCASTLE MUNICIPALITY IMPASSE

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KZN Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), under the directive of MEC Sipho Hlomuka, today, 2 September, met with Eskom in an attempt to avert an electricity interruption at the Newcastle local municipality.

The meeting follows Eskom’s publishing of a notice of intent to interrupt electricity supply to Newcastle daily beginning from Monday 30 September 2019 at 6 am. This is due to the municipality’s overdue debt of about R200 Million to the power utility.

Cogta’s delegation is seized with solving this impasse, which could have a catastrophic impact on the economy of Newcastle, which supports thousands of families. A number of options were explored in today’s meeting which includes a revised payment plan, which would be drawn up by the municipality with the help of the Cogta and the Provincial Treasury. Engagements are still ongoing between the department and Eskom and it is hoped that a solution will be found soon.

The MEC for Cogta, Sipho Hlomuka has urged residents who might have billing disputes with the municipality to come forward so that they can be quickly resolved by the municipality. “We are appealing to all residents across the province, to stay up to date with their utilities as failure to do so compromises the finances of our municipalities and their ability to continue to render service. Those that have billing disputes with municipalities, we urge them to come forward so that their issues can be resolved” said Hlomuka.

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KZN COGTA MEC HLOMUKA MOVES TO AVERT ELECTRICITY CRISIS IN NEWCASTLE

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KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka has with great urgency embarked on efforts to avert electricity interruptions at Newcastle local municipality.

This follows the publishing of a notice of intent to interrupt electricity supply to Newcastle daily from 30 September at 6 am. This is due to the municipality’s overdue debt of about R200-million to the power utility Eskom.

Hlomuka has urged residents of Newcastle to pay for municipal services, including electricity, as their failure to do so puts a huge strain on the dwindling finances of municipalities. Business and consumer electricity debt is the main reason for the escalating costs.

“What we are dealing with here in Newcastle is a challenge that is facing many municipalities across the country. It is the failure by residents, including businesses, to keep up to date with their utility bills. Our department is committed to working with municipalities to find a solution to this and we urge all residents to prioritise paying for municipal services. We have seen many cases where households prioritise entertainment, DSTV and airtime instead of paying for utilities first and this behaviour has to change,” said Hlomuka.

MEC Hlomuka has also urged municipalities to implement stringent measures in order to recover the lost revenue, which includes fining or prosecuting those who are found to have illegal electricity connections. “The law has to take its course; it is absolutely untenable that the financial stability of our municipalities is at risk due to those who refuse to pay for services such as electricity” said Hlomuka.

“We are urging the residents and the business community of Newcastle to play their part. Those defaulting must urgently settle their bills as the implications of power interruptions would be a major setback for the economic prospects of Newcastle.  Power cuts would impact on jobs and investments. They would dissuade potential investors from settling where there is uncertainty over electricity. It is time for everyone to pull together and avert a power crisis in Newcastle,” said Hlomuka.

MEC Hlomuka has directed senior Cogta officials to urgently facilitate engagements with Eskom to find a lasting solution. The meeting will take place tomorrow, Monday 2 September 2019.

 

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Hlomuka congratulates newly elected office bearers in Msunduzi 

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 The KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Mr Sihle Zikalala alongside MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Sipho Hlomuka, welcomed the appointment of the new Msunduzi local municipality office bearers. The swearing-in took place on Thursday 29 August 2019, the ceremony was led by KwaZulu Natal Judge President A. Jappie at the Pietermaritzburg Town Hall, where a special council seating was held. 

Premier Zikalala during his address said the communities have placed their trust in the hands of the council. The Municipality needs to make sure they deliver quality services to the communities. “Councilors must be exemplary and ensure that they do not get involved in activities that will bring the Msunduzi Municipal Council into disrepute,” said Premier Zikalala.  

The newly elected office bearers are Cllr Mzimkhulu Thebolla who is the new Mayor of uMsunduzi Local Municipality; Cllr Manilal Inderjit as Deputy Mayor; Cllr Eunice Majola-Zondi Speaker. 

The newly appointed Mayor Thebolla in his address said this marks a new beginning and a whole new chapter for the Msunduzi Local Municipality. “We invite the opposition in the municipality to work with us as we work in earnest to put the Municipality on the right track,” said Mayor Thobolla.

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