THABAZIMBI – In what might be described as a breakthrough, a meeting between the Thabazimbi Municipality and the Chairperson’s Forum on 23 September resulted in a joint decision to resolve the disputes brought against the Thabazimbi Municipality.
On Monday 28 September a subsequent meeting was held to start preparing an action plan, on how to implement the agreement reached between the two parties. Mechanisms will be put in place to ensure that all valid issues, with respect to the budget and valuation role of the Municipality, are addressed and applied.
Individuals were selected from both parties to set the ball rolling.
In a press release issued by the Municipality this week it acknowledges the fact that there has been gaps in the communication between the local authority and stakeholders such as the Chairperson’s Forum. In the “Spirit of Good Governance” it has been agreed at the 23 September meeting that no stakeholder will be discriminated against.
“It is our view as a Municipality that the Chairperson’s Forum is one of the key stakeholders in the Municipality and should be accorded that status.
“We also believe that it is important for the Municipality to acknowledge the valuable contribution played by the Forum in ensuring that the role they play is that of an organization representing its members.”
The Municipality believes that “through interaction and engagement of key stakeholders and all community members (it) will be in a position to inform and be informed” of all programmes and projects relevant to service delivery and development, the press release states.
During the past year two disputes have been declared by the Chairperson’s Forum (which is an umbrella organisation for ratepayers, home owners and businesses throughout the district). The disputes address issues such as the Municipality’s failure in following stipulated processes in matters relating to the budget and property tax policy.
In June an interdict was obtained on behalf of the Thabazimbi Ratepayers’ Association (TRA) to stop the cutting of services of all RTA members as well as those residents who have stopped payment of property tax, but not services. Despite the court interdict the issuing of final notices and cutting of services proceeded.
It remains unexplained why the court interdict was not heeded by the Municipality or the companies and contractors appointed to do debt collecting, issuing of final notices and cutting of services.
It seems, however, that the Municipality will try to better communication and transparency. The press release also states that “as a Municipality it is committed to working together” and will welcome contributions from stakeholders.
The Municipality also announced that the public hearings and public participation meetings on policy documents for the current financial year will kick off shortly starting with the IDP review.