First 100 days in uMngeni: DA’s KZN flagship has made good progress

Yesterday marked the first 100 days of DA government in uMngeni, the first municipality in KZN to be run by the DA. UMngeni is the DA’s golden opportunity to showcase the DA difference to all KZN voters ahead of the general election in 2024, when we hope to win enough support to form a governing coalition in the province.

Critically, the DA won an outright majority in uMngeni, so mayor Chris Pappas and deputy mayor Sandile Mnikathi and their team have been spared the distraction and delays that come with managing a coalition.

Their progress in just these first 100 days shows the DA difference that comes from appointing capable leadership committed to serving residents.

They inherited a largely dysfunctional municipality:

  • Severe shortage of plant and equipment, an aging fleet, insufficient tools to deliver services.
  • A massive vacancy rate with some core service delivery departments having more than 50% vacancies. A skills audit revealed that 29% of staff are unskilled or unqualified for the work that they are employed to do.
  • Electricity losses of R85 million annually; 60c of every Rand collected goes to cover these losses.
  • A dumpsite that was hardly operational
  • Money owed to the municipality of R235 million
  • Lack of oversight, performance management and institutional direction
  • Skewed budgetary priorities

In the past 100 days, they have laid the foundation for a capable, accountable, financially sustainable, service-focused institution.

  • Reducing debt owed to municipality – R20 million recovered so far
  • The rollout of a revenue recovery strategy and an electricity loss reduction strategy
  • Municipal Income Grant expenditure recovery from 0% of projects in November to 85% completion across the municipality.
  • Building community partnerships, including the successful partnership for the Light the Falls festival
  • Launch of uMngeni Tourism
  • An agreement with Eskom to service street lights in their supply areas
  • Establishing policies and internal standard operating procedures
  • Steps to improve accountability and consequence management
  • Embarking on a progressive and inclusive stakeholder involvement programme called the KHULUMANATHI programme
  • Preparing and approving the adjustment budget

But they were also able to make visible difference for citizens.

  • Resurfacing of several roads
  • The stabilization of the functionality of the dumpsite
  • Improvements in grass cutting and waste collection
  • Resumption of street line painting
  • The employment of 40 contract workers to speed up various service delivery issues

There is still a long way to go, but the DA’s flagship municipality in KZN has the wind in its sails and is on course for success. By 2024, not only will it have improved the lives of all the residents of uMngeni, it will also stand as a shining example of what is possible throughout KZN when voters embrace DA principles of good governance.