How the R10m Grahamstown CBD roads upgrade project happened: a summary of Item S6.9 of the agenda for the Special Council Meeting at Makana Municipality on 30 May 2018. To be read alongside ‘COUNCIL TENSIONS THREATEN MAKANA TURNAROUND’.
The subject of SC6.9 is ‘Visit by the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs’. ZWELI MKHIZE VISITED MAKANA with senior officials from Cogta’s National Office on 4 May 2018. He met with three sets of stakeholders: Rhodes University, local business and citizen groups, and the municipality. In his report to the 30 May 2018 Special Council meeting, Pillay detailed the background to the visit:
Financial problems, summarised as:
* Makana now having to settle historic debt previously unpaid;
* Debtors reluctant to settle accounts;
* Doubt over accuracy of some billing;
* A huge payroll bill.
Service delivery problems:
* Inadequate cash flow = inadequate delivery of basic services
* Lack of maintenance and investment in infrastructure, plus ageing infrastructure = burst pipes, sewage spillages, potholes, blocked drains, electricity disruptions and illegal dumping.
Pillay said immediately following the various stakeholder meetings, he’d met with the acting CEO of the Cogta unit that supports and oversees infrastructure, MISA. Officials from the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency said they had been tasked with helping Makana rehabilitate the roads in the Grahamstown CBD to the value of R10m.
“MISA indicated that it is the Minister’s wish that the work be finalised prior to the National Arts festival,” Pillay notes in his report.
Memorandum of agreement
A memorandum of agreement was drawn up, then a visit by MISA officials based in the Eastern Cape, followed. After that, things moved very quickly:
- MISA said the MOA should be signed quickly to secure the funding – which would otherwise be diverted to other municipalities;
- Pillay as Acting MM signed the MOA;
- MISA said they would appoint a contractor and that to fast-track the process, Makana should appoint a consultant;.
- A consultant was appointed at a cost of R1m including professional fees and disbursements. The funding for it would be from the interest income held by SBDM. Waiting for MISA to appoint the consultant would cost time and money, Pillay explained.
Pillay’s report recommends that Council condone the use of the R1m towards the appointment of the consultant for the roads project in the CBD.
The mission of the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) is to provide support and develop technical capacity towards sustained accelerated municipal infrastructure and service delivery.
The Agent’s purpose is to: provide leadership, strategic direction, management and administration services to the organisation; and provide technical support to targeted municipalities, which will improve infrastructure planning, implementation, as well as operations and maintenance.
MISA also manages deployment of professional service providers to municipalities, ensuring that sufficient technical capacity is built within municipalities, which will result in effective and efficient service delivery in the long term. This includes all training administration activities, and provides comprehensive generic strategic support to the Technical Support and Capacity Development Programmes, which will allow them to focus exclusively on the core functions.