Sarah Baartman District Municipality Executive Mayor, Khunjuzwa Eunice Kekana, was elected unopposed to lead the District for a second term following the inauguration of council at a special sitting held at the Africons Country Estate near Addo, in the Sunday’s River Valley Local Municipality, on Wednesday 24 August.
Comprising of 30 members, made up of 17 male and 13 female councillors, former Portfolio Councillor for Finance and Corporate Services, Nonkqubela Pieters, was elected unopposed as Speaker of the District Municipality, replacing Cllr Deon de Vos, who was recently voted in as the Mayor of the newly formed Dr Beyers Naude Local Municipality.
As well as the new look council, changes have also made to the five member Mayoral Committee with Cllr Vernon Stuurman replacing Pieters as Portfolio Councillor for Finance and Corporate Services, while former District council member, Solethu Lucas, replaces Noel O’Connell as Portfolio Councillor for Economic Development.
With the latter moving to the position of Portfolio Councillor of Special Programmes, former Ndlambe Local Municipality council member, CeliaNcamiso, replaces Vukile Balurain theInfrastructure Service and Planning Department, while Zamuxolo Peter is retained as Portfolio Councillor of Tourism and Creative Industries.
In her opening statement, Mayor Kekana said the municipality would pay particular attention to improved service delivery over the next five years, and that it would continue its aim of putting the interests of residents first.
“It is our responsibility as local government to get back to basics and deliver services like water, sanitation, electricity housing, roads, refuse removal and other basic community services. Irrespective of the political party voted for [in the recent local government elections], we need to ensure that all residents are served with the same dedication, commitment and fervour they have come to expect from us,” she said.
Mayor Kekana stated that the ensuring of bulk infrastructure, economic development, capacity building and promoting equal resource distribution between local municipalities remains a top priority for the District, and that it would also be embarking on a process to review resolutions reached during the previous term.
“Among the issues for discussion are the role of district renewable energy, lobbying of funding, establish of partnerships with the private sector, and growing of tourism on our area,” Mayor Kekana said.
“As an institution, we have also worked hard to establish a stable administrative environment with a high level of oversight, and having achieved two consecutive clean audits, our focus is on keeping this train on its current tracks and retaining our status of clean administrations”.
Renewing the Districts commitment to achieving the goals of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals tabled in New York last; which aims to reduce poverty and zero hunger, as well as the provision of good health, promotion of gender education and gender equality by 2030, Executive Mayor Kekana also warned it would come down hard on those accused of corruption, “as this is not part of our vocabulary”.
“It must be clear to everyone that we are here to serve the people and use the public purse effectively. Under no circumstances can we be called corrupt. We have seen major improvements in the audit outcomes of all our municipalities, and we want to keep this up,” she said.
Concluding her speech, Mayor Kekana stated that while many challenges still exist, it is more ready than ever to “serve the people in achieving our vision”.
“It is a challenging task that lies ahead of us, but we are committed to lead this institution through the next five years with the objectives of upholding the mandate we have been given as a responsive, accountable, and effective government focused on good governance and service delivery”.
CAPTION: READY TO LEAD AND SERVE…. The new council of the Sarah Baartman District Municipality being inaugurated. They are (L-R) front row: S. Sodladla; T. Pillay (Municipal Manager); K.C. Ncamiso; V. Stuurman; N. Pieters (Speaker); K.E. Kekana (Executive Mayor); N.J. O’Connell; Z Peter; S Lucas. Middle row: ML van Niekerk; G.G. Cannon; T. Seyisi; M. Mlateti; N.E. Xhasa; P.R Blou; D.J. Bezuidenhout; V.A. Camealio-Benjamin; M. Dayimani; T.A. Grootboom; T.W Katoo. Back row: B. Dhludhlu; K. Smith; H.M Hendricks; L Nase; F.J. Yake; A.Mboneni; B.W. Seekooi; J.H.P Britz; L. Reynolds; R.M.J Gailey; X. Mablyo