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.


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.