Government must act swiftly against scrap metal businesses that have gone rogue as they are hampering service delivery.

Setting the tone at a councillors’ workshop on Wednesday, 25 May,  Executive Mayor Councillor Xola Pakati said the Metro was spending funds meant for service delivery on repairing vandalised infrastructure.

The councillors and traditional leaders’ workshop is held to finalise the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and Budget before it is presented to Council.

The workshop, chaired by Council Speaker Cllr Humphrey Maxegwana, is also looking into the City’s revenue collections strategy.

“Our gathering here is therefore occasioned by the need to ensure that service delivery and socio-economic transformation happen in a coordinated and rapid manner in our metro,” said Pakati.

“The root of these economic problems has been due to the fact that our economy has not diversified enough and remains locked into a capital intensive, energy-intensive historic growth path that is too dependent on commodity booms.

“Compounding these challenges, COVID-19’s impact on the economy has been catastrophic.”

“This hits hard on our development mandate as a municipality because when people are not working, our indigent population increases. This in turn reduces our revenue base and causes destitution and disillusion in our communities.”

“Due to COVID-19, the finances of our City are under a lot of strain and they require us to find smarter ways of using what we have for the benefit of all residents. More than ever, this environment requires credible and ethical leadership. There is no doubt that the effective implementation of all development projects that are in the IDP vests on us as the leadership having the amount of credibility sufficient to garner public confidence.”

“We must all work to lead by example and provide guidance to officials of the municipality. In an environment where finances are negatively affected by several factors, the need for their protection from corruption and looting is more. Sound financial and administrative management is not an option but a prerequisite for the successful running of our municipality in order to achieve the best results with what we have,” Pakati said.

Delivering the purpose of the workshop, Mayoral Committee Member Councillor Africa Maxongo said: “Our duty though as Council is to shoulder a greater responsibility out of this process – which is to firstly examine closely if indeed the Metro’s Budget is coordinated and based on the IDP – and secondly to ensure that we monitor the progress being made in the implementation of the IDP.”

“We are currently working as this sphere of local government to tackle our triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality – and we are using our municipal institution as a transformative tool to unlock the potential of our city to be a destination of investments, opportunities, community development, and a good quality of life for all who reside in it and for those who choose to visit.”

Maxongo called on councillors to discuss the IDP robustly saying: “One thing I cannot overemphasise is the importance of a healthy yet a robust engagement of these presentations that will be tabled

today. I invite our Councillors and everyone else on this platform to engage. It is through dialogue where we will be able to have productive consultations with each other and drive the development of our city with sharp ideas that are a product of a collective.”