Punish councillors, not residents

Rural residents in nearly 30 villages in three municipal wards in the Winnie Madikizela-Mandela municipality (formerly Mbizana) still do not have access to clean piped water.
Rural residents in nearly 30 villages in three municipal wards in the Winnie Madikizela-Mandela municipality (formerly Mbizana) still do not have access to clean piped water.
Image: 123RF/ WEERAPAT KAITDUMRONG

The golden rule in health and safety management is to keep everything it its place or position at all times. If objects are lying higgledy-piggledy all over the floor, you’re likely to trip and fall. And if you put pesticide powder in an unmarked container in the kitchen, someone else might mistake it for food or drink flavouring.

Similarly, for any organisation to achieve its particular aim, it needs all of its pertinent systems to function at an optimal level. A municipality has a financial system, facility management system, supply chain management system, debt collection system and indigent system, among others.

All these systems are amplified by rules and regulations. Today, many municipalities are dysfunctional due to laxity and failure to adhere to systems. So there’s no need for recycled systems analysts but for diligent government functionaries.

The recent protests over property rates and tariffs by residents of Steve Tshwete local municipality in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, could have been avoided if systems were applied promptly. I say consequence management must be applied. Dock the salaries of the mayor, members of the mayoral committee, councillors and top officials to recoup money lost for failure to oversee or keep an up-to-date indigent register as per the AG's audit.

Let them feel the pinch while the register is being fixed. In other municipalities, residents are allowed to run up service delivery debts of thousands of rand. Then their local authorities cut power or water supplies and residents react by protesting.

Do we learn? No, until we are hit where it hurts most, in the pocket!

Thami Zwane, Edenvale, Ekurhuleni

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