New brooms for Msunduzi

A smooth transition as Msunduzi Municipality executive leadership changes.

sunduzi Muncipality has benefitted from the recent sweeping leadership changes. While this represents the end of an era in which the municipality was led by former Mayor, Councillor Themba Njilo, the new era begins with Councillor Mzimkhulu Thebolla at the helm of the municipality.

Mayor Thebolla’s new team of Chief Whip, Councillor Vusi Ntshangase, Speaker, Councillor Eunice Majola, and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Manilall Inderjit, is expected to improve the enabling environment for the efforts to turn the municipality around. Mayor Mzimkhulu Thebolla is a former youth leader who has served at local regional and provincial levels.

The new Mayor cut his political teeth in Moiketsi High School in Matatiele. Thebolla tells the story of a community that one morning found a “Release Mandela” message that had been written using white stones on school grounds. He says by noon the school was teeming with police and soldiers, and that was the beginning of a period of harassment and persecution by security forces. At the time, Thebolla was in Standard 9 (Grade 11). The police imposed a 6 pm to 6pm 7-days a week curfew targeted at the youth. The timeframe of the curfew meant that on weekends, they were sure to be arrests since various sporting and cultural activities ended late. It was in this period that some youth introduced the Congress of South African Students(COSAS). Thebolla bemoans the role played by some teachers who were instrumental in helping the apartheid security police to identify COSAS members.

Thebolla’s political journey would continue when he moved to the Ashdown family home. He served in various positions in the ANC Youth League and the ANC mother body, from branch treasurer to member of Regional Executive Committee.

Mayor Thebolla is not new to local government. He previously served Msunduzi Municipality as a councillor for 10 years. During this period, Thebolla was a member of and chaired such committees as Human Resources, Community Services, Local Economic Development and Public Transportation Planning Committee and also served in the UMgungundlovu District Council.

Besides serving in political and local government positions, Mayor Thebolla has been part of important structures such SANRAL’s Public Liaison Committee for the Eastern Region. Thebolla who has chaired this region, is proud of the lives they saved by probagating for the construction of various foot bridges on the N2 and N3.

Any concern that an unqualifying or underserving cadre has been deployed are put to rest considering that the new Mayor has studied local government.

Thebolla, who had a stint in the Thabo Mbeki Leadership Institute, holds a Certificate in Local Government(LGSETA), and  a Certificate in Local Economic Development(LGSETA). He has also done the University of Pretoria’s Executive Leadership Development Programme. To top it all, the new mayor holds an Honours Degree in Public Administration (majored in local government and local government finance)

Thebolla lists honesty and integrity as his main values. He also admits that he has made “enemies” of managers because of his hand-on approach. He explains that he does not and will not interfere in the administration but unsettles managers because of constant pressure that he applies to ensure service delivery.

When he was appointed Mayor, Thebolla was serving in the KZN Legislature doing Constituency Outreach in the Chief whip’s Office.

In accepting his election as Mayor, Mzimkhulu Thebolla thanked former Mayor Themba Njilo and his team for laying the foundation. He also promised to use the next few months to find solutions to solve the problems besetting the municipality. He asked various stakeholders like business people and the opposition to help make the municipality a city of choice. The Mayor will be ably assisted by a team of experienced leaders.

Deputy Mayor Manilall Inderjit has extensive leadership experience including local government, having served as a councillor in Msunduzi Municipality for a considerable period of time. While accepting his new responsibility, Inderjit emphasised the need to work as a collective to realise service delivery and fight corruption. He also urged the eradication of wasteful expenditure and the filling of vacant critical posts.

Speaker Eunice Majola has held various positions including that of chairperson of the portfolio of sustainable development and city enterprise. On being elected speaker, she committed herself to working with all the structures for the good of the municipality and its residents.

The new Chief Whip, Vusi Ntshangase emphasises that it is important to love one another to achieve equality. He also said discipline was important as the municipality was the property of the residents.

Residents react to New Mayor
Msunduzi News asked residents express their opinions on the appointment of the new mayor and leadership collective. Some expressed hope that the new mayor will resolve the many problems in the municipality. Others adopted a wait-and-see attitude since they do not know the new mayor.

Ms Sunitha Drophradha who lives at Northdale said; “It is difficult to say what can we expect from the newly elected Mayor because we don’t know what kind of person he is. The major problems in this city are crime and joblessness. If the Mayor can help with skills programs like teaching the youth businesses so that they can open theirs and sustain themselves, by so doing two birds could be killed by a single stone because the rate of crime will sibside.”

Mr. Zakhale Mthiyane hailing from Ashburton said; “Things are really bad, my brother, cities are dirty in the whole country. As of now foreigners are swarming, people complain of them everywhere. In Pretoria people were complaining and picketing against their ill behaviour. We therefore plead with the Mayor to help us in this regard and keeping our city tidy and clean. We realise that it is neglected.”

Ms Jabu Mnikathi who resides at Imbali said; “We still complain about one and the same thing as hawkers in the city, we request that shelters be built for us. We go sheltering ourselves infront of the shops which is not permissible but we have trading permits. We hope Mr. Thebolla will really help us.”

Mr. Themba Khumalo of Sobantu said; “I don’t see much changing, they are simply playing political games as in the past when Mr. Njilo was elected. I would be lying if I say I expect different things. Let us hope that the city will be a new performing, clean place.”

Mr Sihle Gcwensa who steads at Oribi said, “Our city is damn filthy, on top of that there a lot of hooligans. If you look around the taxi rank at the market school kids hang around there and do drugs and nothing is done about it. We would appreciate if the Mayor comes in in this regard.”

Ms Celeste Johns a resident of Woodlands said, after the inauguration of the Mayor; “I didn’t even know this new Mayor that is why I am here to take a glimpse of him. Let us say we wish him well, and hope that he is going to change the city’s state which at present is really bad.”

Ms Zamile Makhathini of Unit 3 at Imbali said; “Young man, I don’t know where to start but all I can say is that the state of affairs of this city is bad  because what happened is not for the first time it did happen before therefore we have lost hope as  the community. Also, after time, we are going to see what Mr. Thobella has in store for us.

Mr. Khiphambu Nxele from Edendale said; “I am not a politician, I will speak about what I think we all see, this is a political game, even before we knew Mr njilo as a business person, we were greatly surprised seeing him in politics. Even now we are given a person whom we don’t know to head the city. Let us give him achance my young man.”

Mr. Jack Naidoo a Northdale resident said; “There is nothing much I can say but I wish the new team good luck. We would be grateful if he can solve the crime and joblessness problems.”

A matriculant at Ikusaselihle High School of Unit BB at Imbali, Simphiwe Maphumulo, said; “We as youth would appreciate if there could be programs put in place for us as youth so that we could be hired and have bursaries to further our studies.”