Newly appointed Polokwane Municipal Manager Dikgape Makobe intends to deal with the bad condition of the roads in and around the city by spending R110 million on upgrading and maintenance of this municipal asset over the next three years.
Makobe is determined to do things in a smarter way, thereby reducing costs and providing residents with a first class service within the constraints of the city’s finances. He assumed duties on 1 May and immediately embarked on a programme to engage with staff and stakeholders and to familiarise himself with the municipality’s Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and Budget for the coming financial years as well as current and planned projects.
In an interview on Monday, the Municipal Manager expressed his excitement about the opportunity to serve residents of the city and the business community. “We have an excellent workforce and can augment it with external expertise to ensure that by working smarter, we can offer a first class service within the constraints of our budget,” Makobe said.
Makobe said that the provision of an adequate and sustainable water supply to the city is a major challenge and that the municipality should find alternative short term solutions to the problem. “The replacement of the ageing water infrastructure in the city is currently in process and, once completed, will partially deal with water shortages. We will however engage a team of highly qualified specialists to identify challenges and to develop a master plan to advise on alternative means of augmenting the water supply on the short term,” Makobe said.
Makobe identified inadequate project management as a further challenge that impacts on service delivery and residents not receiving value for money. “Projects must be monitored and supervision be stepped up to ensure that work is completed in time and within budgets. The public should see that they get value for their money,” Makobe reckoned.
Roads upgrading and maintenance
Makobe is in favour of employing experienced and well-resourced contractors to attend to the roads in and around the city. “The municipality will spend R110 million over the next three financial years to bring our roads up to standard. It is in addition to the funds already budgeted for and we are going to do the work in one year and pay the contractors, as our partners in the project, over three years,” Makobe explained.
“Effective revenue collection is only possible with a reliable financial system. We are going to secure a new financial system in the near future and will also introduce the smart metering system that will enhance accurate billing and minimise consumers’ complaints and querries. As a service to the public, we are also going to appoint interns that will have trade certificates that will equip them to deal with maintenance of meters and equipment,” Makobe announced.
Enhanced service delivery
Makobe regards the public as the municipality’s most important customers and is adamant to improve the operational management of all the municipality’s activities. “We will enhance communication with residents and develop mechanisms to ensure that complaints received via the help desk be attended to and that the progress be communicated,” Makobe said.
“We should change the way in which services are rendered to the public. We should think outside the box and re-engineer how we do things in an efficient way considering value for money and to reduce costs in a smart way ,” Makobe concluded and requested that professionals that can assist the municipality in any respect, should register on the municipal database.
Story & photo: BARRY VILJOEN