Update on Makana Administration

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Following various conflicting accounts some of you will be wondering what on earth is going on with the  administration of Makana.

The first thing to note is that there has not been any reversal of commitment and intention. The second thing is to clear up a semantic ambiguity. And the third is to bring you tentative additional good news.

We are assured that, following a nationwide search for a suitable highly skilled municipal manager with turnaround skills, that that person has been identified. His deployment (it is a he) to Makana has to be authorised and approved by MEC at CoGTA before Makana Council can accept the offer. Once that notification has been received then Makana as a Full Council have to agree to appoint the manager who will be deployed in accordance with s. 154 (1) of the Constitution.

154. (1) The national government and provincial governments, by legislative and other measures, must support and strengthen the capacity of municipalities to manage their own affairs, to exercise their powers and to perform their functions.

Makana Council is asking for this deployment too, so it is most unlikely that they would vote to block such a move. It will require a further Special Council meeting, hopefully on Wednesday 11th October, so that the Municipal manager could be in post on 16th October.

The above explains why this item was not tabled at the 27 September Special Council meeting. Not because of any change of decision, just that the process is taking longer than CCCSM had been led to believe.

There was however commentary about the CCCSM press release at that meeting from Councillors wanting to clarify that the deployee is not an Administrator, rather a s.154 Municipal Manager. This person will be coming to make changes and to turn Grahamstown around, but not as an imposed Administrator as defined under s.139. For Councillors this distinction is understandably important, though, in common parlance the manager will be coming to administrate and implement better administration.

As you would expect we have worked to maintain a dialogue at various governmental levels to ensure that matters are progressed as agreeably and smoothly as possible. It is hoped that there will be a meeting between the Executive Mayor (and her committee/ officials) and CCCSM members within the next week to discuss the way forward. It is not desirable to pre-empt that meeting, but suffice to say that the intention on both sides is to reach meaningful understanding as we will achieve more through a concensual and negotiated approach.

Through sustained dialogue Grahamstown Residents’ Association aim to reach some clearly defined time-bound objectives, to support our goal of reaching a state of local government that we can trust to deliver good value for money. With clear commitment and movement in this direction we sincerely hope to help rally Grahamstown citizens to support this process, because without the support of us, the customers, the whole turnaround project is unlikely to succeed.

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