AbaQulusi has a municipal manager… At last!

AbaQulusi's mayor, Cllr Jerry Sibiya, welcomes newly appointed municipal manager, Bonga Ntanzi.

AT long last, AbaQulusi has appointed a municipal manager.

On Monday last week, Bonga Ntanzi officially took the helm as municipal manager of AbaQulusi for the second time in his career.

Working side-by-side with no-nonsense mayor, Cllr Jerry Sibiya, will be no mean feat, but Mr Ntanzi is already working on an action plan to turn Cllr Sibiya’s vision for AbaQulusi into a reality. In fact, he is so confident that he will turn AbaQulusi into the top performing municipality in the District within the next 15months, that he encouraged the mayor to write it in as a deal-breaker in his performance contract.

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He declared that his appointment followed the most gruelling interview of his life. “I have been interviewed in the past by a panel of MEC’s for a position in the provincial government, but my interview for municipal manager of AbaQulusi was the most difficult interview. It was emotionally and intellectually draining and I was sweating, even in my toes, by the time it was over.”

Mr Ntanzi previously served as municipal manager of AbaQulsi from 2007 till 2012 under the IFP administration. After his contract at AbaQulusi came to an end, he was appointed as municipal manager at Nongoma municipality and AbaQulusi has not had a functional municipal manager since then.

Administrative instability is the first challenge to service delivery that Mr Ntanzi hopes to overcome. Currently, the positions for Director of Corporate Services, Director of Community Services, Director of Technical Services, Director of Planning and the Chief Financial Officer are all vacant.

“We still have Hollywood in the administration. I am the only one officially appointed in a senior management position. Everyone else is acting. Stabilising the municipality starts with ensuring there is a solid management component in place. In doing so, we can begin to promote a culture of discipline, accountability and compliance. By the end of September, we will have every senior manager in place,” said Mr Ntanzi.

The second challenge that Mr Ntanzi will tackle head on is the financial stability of the municipality.

“When I left this municipality in 2012, it had more than R100million in its reserves, now it is on the brink of bankruptcy, surviving from month to month. If anyone can turn this around, it is this mayor (Cllr Sibiya) assisted by me. I am leaving Nongoma with my head held high. I took Nongoma, a poor municipality, to fully functional and financially sound. I will take AbaQulusi to the top and I will not stop until AbaQulusi is the economic hub of the District,” promised Mr Ntanzi.

Cllr Sibiya said he is confident in Mr Ntanzi’s abilities.

“He understands the priorities of the council and I think he is equal to the task. With his skills in financial management, I hope to see more money in our reserves. What is important to me is that Ntanzi is a local guy. He is a resident of AbaQulusi,” said Cllr Sibiya.

“I don’t just read about the challenges of AbaQulusi in the newspaper, I experience them,” added Mr Ntanzi. “The problems that you suffer, I suffer them too. If I fail at my duties, I jeopardise the comfort of my family as well.”

Mr Ntanzi is looking forward to being introduced to the staff, saying he was humbled to hear whistles of approval in the municipality’s corridors as he went about his business on his first day.

Estella Naicker

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