On why the DA leader elected to be economical with truth
In my inaugural speech as a newly elected Mayor of KwaNongoma I made a pledge to residents. The pledge was to priorities social accountability and municipal financial prudence. There was a context to this pledge.
The dominant narrative about Nongoma Municipality was that of a corrupt institution and the new administration was blamed for either indecision and/or lack of political will to deal with reported allegations. What has been evident is that this narrative suited those who were benefiting from alleged corruption and maladministration. One of the person who gained from this situation it seems is the leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) in KwaZulu-Natal and Councillor of eThekwini Municipality, Mr Zwakele Mncwango.
In my first 100 days in office I questioned a proposed R3 000 000.00 deal between Cllr Mncwango’s entity Nqondo Identity Solutions CC and Nongoma Municipality. This was in accordance with my pledge of financial prudence. I now have all the facts and the plan which was shared with all concerned was that the matter was going to be presented to stakeholders inside and outside the Municipality as there were implications since the proposal that the Municipality will not only fund the project but also sub-let from Cllr Mngwango’s company for 99 years.
One understand that Cllr Mncwango was not pleased with that hence his vitriol attack on the Municipality using social media and Ilanga Newspaper. Clearly this was a well-calculated pre-emptive strike from Cllr Mncwango’s aim at discrediting the Municipality before we expose his deal.
We understand he wrote a letter to MEC Nomusa-Ncube Dube with allegations of corruption. While we welcome any investigation, we lament the fact that on a serious matter like corruption, Cllr Mncwango elected to put his interest above of that of the residents of Nongoma.
On the Goat Project
On account of Cllr Mncwango's question about our local economic development Goat Project, it is interesting to note that, first, instead of raising a political debate on matters of Nongoma municipality, he chooses to conveniently highlight certain issues tabled in the report without facts. His 'monologue' approach and posturing on social networks and use of Ilanga Newspaper seems to suggest perhaps his covertly passing a no confidence vote to his DA members in this Municipality, as being either incapable or dereliction of their duties of oversight as the opposition.
His unwarranted confusion of the coaching and mentoring of goats is either deliberately misleading or naively postured. Any reasonably person with a basic academic background will understand the summation "Implementation of a business plan..." with an emphasis on the adjective "Implementation" to mean there is a process behind this adjective. The fundamentals of business dictate that a person of Cllr Mncwango's calibre could have done himself a favour to not mislead his followers on social networks by first seeking to understand the terms of reference to this project, and further look into what is inherently contained in the business plan he seems to question without reading. If this is a genuine question of real concern, he should have followed these processes unless of course he is politically grandstanding and indirectly implying that his DA members of the council aren't clear with their mandate in Nongoma Local Municipality.
Facts are thus, the idea of a pilot project on goat farming was conceived already in 2016 before I was even deployed by my Party, the IFP. It went through all the stages, including being budgeted for, and it was ultimately adopted by Council. A firm of consultants, Adamopix Economic Development and Consulting, was appointed to develop this project in all its phases. A ten-phased plan was developed. The contract cost of implementing all the phases is R985 000.
The project is ongoing and has proved to be viable. It has undergone four phases that include the project execution plan, feasibility study and developing a business plan. The next step is locating suitable land for implementation of remaining phases of the project. Therefore, any insinuation that this youth driven initiative is a ‘waste of money’ is grossly insensitive to the plight of the young people of Nongoma who are daily facing grinding poverty and a myriad of socio-economic challenges caused by unemployment.
The accusation that we have paid R985 000 towards the project is not correct. As a matter of record, the Municipality has not paid that amount but only the smaller percentage of the costs. READ MORE: Goat Project Financials
We are also punished by Cllr Mncwango for questioning his R3 000 000.00 proposed deal. Cllr Mncwango accuses us of “spending R196 354 monthly on an Avis back up car used by the Mayor. The facts hereunder prove contrary:
The said amount (R196 354) paid to Avis on 8 September 2017 is NOT for one month;
- The said amount (R196 354) paid to Avis on 8 September 2017 is NOT for one month;
- It is NOT only for the Mayor’s back up car;
- The total amount is the payment for SIX (6) months which was overdue, including OCTOBER 2016;
- The vehicles hired also include a truck for WASTE MANAGEMENT SECTION which was used when our conventional truck had a breakdown; and
- A VW Polo Vivo which was hired for the traffic staff that was on training.
This amount was served before Council as an item for condonation and it was granted. Moreover, the Council has taken a resolution to stop hiring but purchase a new car. That resolution is being implemented and if Cllr Mncwango is honest, he will mention that as it is contained in the document he claims to have.
An open invitation to share our common cultural heritage
Tourism is one of the leading and fastest growing economic developing sectors in South Africa. Situated in the northern part of KwaZulu-Natal, Nongoma Municipality offers tourists the opportunity to step back in time and experience royal cultural ceremonies. As the royal city (IHlalankosi) Nongoma has six Royal Palaces which gives tourists a unique visit to yesteryears.
Using our unique position when it comes to Zulu cultural heritage, we acknowledge that cultural heritage activities not only preserve and enhance our unique, irreplaceable resource, but that such activities have the potential of providing a stimulus to many other areas as well.
Among tourist attractions Nongoma boasts Royal Palace Routes and the Battlefields of Msebe, Otshaneni, Esokosoko, eMajubaneni and KwaNdunu. To complete the Zulu histriography tourists can also visit surrounding areas which include Ulundi’s Emakhosini Heritage Park, the Ithala Game Reserve and associated private sector game farms at uPhongolo and the tourism initiatives around the Pongolapoort Dam.
I invite you to come and share our common cultural heritage.