Portfolio Committees: The engine for development

In a municipality, committees cultivate a crucial role in ensuring that municipalities obliges by the constitution as well as municipal legislations. As part of citizen education, Msunduzi communities will be informed about the work of municipal committees. We are going to have a series of columns on how committees work and what their roles entail. These will see us interview the chairpersons of these committees and their members and more importantly closely monitoring service delivery and other types of decisions taken.

Municipal legislation dictates that there are 6 committees, which are: Sustainable Development and City Entities, Cooperate Services, Financial Services, Municipal Public Accounts Committee and Infrastructure Services. In this feature, we talk to Councillor Eunice Majola, the Chairperson of the Sustainable Development and City Entities Committee.

According to Majola, the 13-member committee she leads, is in charge of the following Business Units: City Entities, Business Development, Human Settlement, Development Planning and Environment, Economic Development and, Town Planning and Environment Management. She explained that the committee she leads is the heart and soul of the city as it delivers on tangibles; services and products that can be seen and touched. She made an example of delivering housing to communities as a critical need, as an example of one of their mandate. She was quick to point out that contrary to popular belief, councilors are very keen to solve housing issues. If there are delays in the delivery, it is because of compulsory processes and procedures that need to be followed to the letter. 

Majola said according to the council’s housing service delivery plan, a total of 20 million housing units need to be built and they are in the pipeline while some 25 000 have been completed in Vulindlela, 762 units in Thembelihle and 416 in Thamboville. Majola went on to explain the work of the Local Economic Development Business Unit, which works collaboratively with other role-players in this sector. The business unit also runs programmes that aim to emancipate small and medium enterprises within Msunduzi. Externally, they also collaborate with other government entities and agencies like Ithala Development Bank and the Small Enterprise Development Agency.

Economic Hubs

During his Medium Term Budget Review Statement, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni commented about the importance of local economic development in parts of Msunduzi. “Msunduzi Municipality set aside a total of R77 million for the development of Edendale and this has returned a capital investment boost of over R1 billion rand,” said Mboweni.

Underscoring Mboweni’s comments, Majola reiterated the importance of local economic development as it will not only contribute to infrastructure development but also create much-needed jobs. She also revealed that national government has made an allocation of R42 million for the current financial year. “There are a lot of other enterprise development initiatives taking shape in our area of jurisdiction like the Youth Enterprise Park and the Light Industrial Park in Ward 19. The Youth Enterprise Park is a small business incubator programme and is in collaboration with the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs. The Light Industrial Park is an initiative that renovates and repairs old and dilapidated buildings that were ruined in the dark days of political violence. This is in order to afford communities descent working space.

Not too far away from Industrial Light is the famous Manaye Hall, which is also currently undergoing refurbishments, thanks to funding from the Department of Co-operative Governance & Traditional Affairs. As things stand, there are illegal occupants that need to be relocated in order to make way for service delivery and infrastructural development,” said Majola.

She went on to explain about a tanning programme that in turn produces shoes and belts, amongst others. This initiative took a brief hiatus because of a few challenges, which it has overcome. “This programme did grind to a halt but after I consulted with the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs Sihle Zikalala, who dispensed advice and insights, issues were resolved and as I speak to you now, meetings are being held to finalize how work that had started before the break can resume,” said the Committee Chairperson.

Councillor Majola emphasised the significance of the completion of all programmes that had been budgeted for and included in the city’s Integrated Development Plan in the current financial year as well as during the current administration’s term of office. “As the chairperson, there is nothing that can make me happier than completing all programmes budgeted for as we had pledged we would to the people of Msunduzi. By working together with members of the committee, we have committed ourselves to and have pledged to be the custodians of the programmes which have integrity and I have no doubt that if we work in unison, we will be successful in our objectives of growing and emancipating the area of Msunduzi,” she concluded. The 13 members of the committee include:

The 13 members of the committee include:

Cllr Eunice Nomagugu Majola – ANC

Cllr Nkosinathi Maxwell Mbanjwa – ANC

Cllr Snothi Raphael Mhlongo – ANC

Cllr Dorcas Sibongile Mkhize – ANC

Cllr Nelisiwe Zanele Ndlovu – ANC

Cllr Ambrosia Sibongile Dlamini – ANC

Cllr William Francis Lambert – DA

Cllr Roosana Ahmed – DA

Cllr Claudell Milany Chetty – DA

Cllr Sfiso Derrick Nene – IFP

Cllr Mohamed Salim Goga – AL JAMA-AH