The City of uMhlathuze welcomes the visit by the DA to inspect a good progress in the construction of the Municipal House in Meerensee, Richards Bay. The city believes in transparency and also gives space for the opposition parties to do their work freely and inspect Council approved infrastructure projects implemented by the City of uMhlathuze.
However, the City is disappointed at the illusion of the DA to continue to slander the persona of the City Mayor Cllr Mduduzi Mhlongo by attaching this municipal project to his private use, which is a complete misconception and utter lies. The Democratic Alliance has crafted lies and convinced themselves that they are true and continue to perpetuate such misconceptions about the City Mayor.
The city dispels the notion that this is a mayoral mansion as they have termed it. Truth of the matter is that this is a municipal house with its own clear objectives to play a critical role in the developmental prospects of the city even beyond the current Mayor's term of office.
Mayor Mhlongo has his own private residence and will utilise the Municipal House for municipal business only, not for private use and the property can be utilised by other office bearers to host any delegation.
People who are short-sighted may perceive the municipal house as a private residence for the incumbent Mayor whereas the reality is that Mayors serve their terms and they vacate the office. The municipal house will remain a municipal house regardless who the incumbent is and or whichever political party he or she may come from.
FACTS ABOUT THE MUNICIPAL HOUSE
The Municipal House project dates back to 2014/15 financial year.
The municipal housing project was approved as per the Government Gazette number 37281 of 29 January 2014 regulating Councilors tools of trade.
It was approved by the Council in 2014/2015 financial year.
It was included in the 2014/2015 budget which was approved by Council.
FUNCTIONS OF THE MUNICIPAL HOUSE
The City of uMhlathuze is strategically positioned for economic growth and this term of office is defined as such. This incorporates major projects aimed at escalating foreign direct investments and tourist attraction. It only makes long term business sense to host delegations in a municipal building than to hire hotels, hence the strategic location of the municipal house in the City’s prime precinct.
COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE MUNICIPAL HOUSE
The estimated costs of R5.5 million was set aside (as opposed to the exaggerated thumb-sucked R20 million), the land on which the property is located belongs to the municipality and there is no cost associated with utilising it, this should not derail people from looking at the importance of this strategic investment and creating lasting impressions to potential investors. We as a municipality, have not compromised on service delivery, in fact we are one of the fastest growing cities contrary to what DA wants people to believe.
The City of uMhlathuze is currently in the fifth Clean Audit status granted by the Auditor General which is a living proof that the city is running clean governance affairs with transparency. This translates to the fact that all public funds are directed to development projects on the stipulated period. Structures aimed ensuring clean governance are actively and effectively working such as the Audit Committee, Internal Audit Unit, Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC), Executive Committee (EXCO) and Council which plays oversight on council projects and programmes.
The City continues to be the premier destination of investment and tourism in the province of KwaZulu-Natal being the third biggest contributor to KZN GDP, we are in the process of implementing catalytic projects to deal with socio-economic challenges that relate to development, as we speak we are implementing eMpangeni mega housing project which has a yield of 10 000 houses which is mixed use, Aquadene Housing project yielding 2400 units, the Ridge Estate Development and Greenhills Parks both aimed at generating income and job creation have been approved; Alkantstrand Beach precinct redevelopment; SMME One Stop Shop in eMpangeni and SMME Park in Richards Bay are fully operational. These are but some of the projects aimed at changing people’s lives for the better.