Civic plan gathers speed

Grahamstown civil society organisations are moving forward with their plans to establish a coalition in the wake of the financial and administrative crisis in Makana Municipality The public is invited to a meeting at Nombulelo Hall on Tuesday 7 October to discuss the issue further.

Representatives from the Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM), Black Sash, Masifunde Education Trust and Unemployed Peoples Movement met this week with Gadra Education, Rhodes University, Famsa, Makana Unity League, Makana Ratepayers Association and the South African NGO Coalition (Sangoco). "We met to discuss the crisis and internal governance problems that caused our municipality being placed under administration," Reggie Waldick of Masifunde said. He mentioned maladministration, corruption and expensive lawsuits against the municipality as some of the things that led to the downfall of the municipality.

Waldick said the group would focus on inadequate, unreliable and interrupted service delivery. "Given the current state of affairs in our municipality which impact directly and indirectly on all citizens. "This is regardless of social status, civil society organisations or civic organisations in Makana are challenged to rise and to play a significant role," Waldick said.

Waldick also gave a summary on the state of Makana municipality starting by pointing at the Kabuso forensic report, which implicates officials in alleged mismanagement of funds and resources.

Monga Peter, regional secretary of Nelson Mandela Bay Sangogo, explained to the group how a similar coalition exists in Port Elizabeth and outlined how they could work together. Peter is a member of secretariat of The Nelson Mandela Metro Civil Society Coalition. "The coalition was established as a result and as a response to the political and administrative instability that was engulfing our Metro. "This as a consequence negatively affected delivery of services to our community and sectors constituting the Nelson Mandela Metro," he said. There was no immediate response to his proposal, and the meeting was dissolved with the agreement that another session was needed soon.

Waldick told Grocott's Mail that they have invited more stake holders, including churches and schools, to next week's meeting. "We want to make it inclusive to all the role players of the society so we are aiming broader," he said. He said they didn't have a plan for addressing the crisis at this point, but they welcome suggestions and ideas at the next meeting, from 2.30 to 4 pm.

Grocott's Mail 3 October 2014