The United Democratic Movement (UDM) in KwaZulu-Natal is shocked at the announcement made by Umzinyathi District Municipality Mayor PMS Ngubane, that the municipality is undergoing a name change to “Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi District Municipality”. The Umzinyathi community was taken by total surprise when we heard the announcement via uKhoziFM.
What is at issue here is the constitutional mandate the directs municipalities as per Sections 152(1)(e) and 153(a) of the Constitution, which reads:
“ The objects of local government are:
(e)To encourage the involvement of the communities and community organizations in the matters of local government “.
“A municipality must structure and manage its administration and budgeting and planning process to give priority to the basic needs of the community, and to promote the social and economic development of the community”.
As far as the UDM in KwaZulu-Natal is aware, there was no consultation with the community, regarding the name-change, as is dictated by Section 152(1)(e) and for all intents and purposes, a name is being forced down their throats.
If the community had been consulted, there would have been several, well-known local names that would have been thrown into the hat, such as Inkosi Simakade Mchunu, Mr FS Sikhakhane (former mayor of Msinga) and Bambatha kaMancinza.
At the heart of the matter is a lack of prioritisation when a random name change is now more important than this municipality discharging its core functions. Section 153(e) explicitly directs municipalities to give priority to basic needs provision in its budgeting and planning.
The Umzinyathi District Municipality is failing to provide water to its communities. One of the excuses is that it awaits financial assistance from the provincial Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs department, to fix 706 dysfunctional water hand pumps to the tune of R1.5m. Yet it has the audacity to splash scarce funds on a name change.
The UDM in KwaZulu-Natal calls on the Umzinyathi District Municipality to correct its skewed priorities, halt the name change and re-channel those funds into fixing the 706 water hand pumps. This is the morally and constitutionally correct thing to do.
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Mr Boysey Gumede
UDM KwaZulu-Natal Interim Provincial Secretary