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NC municipality gets ‘comfortable’ with e-meetings


‘By using technology we are able continue with our mandate.’

WITH the outbreak of Covid-19 across the country, many companies, government departments and municipalities have conducted meetings using online technology.

This was the case when the Dawid Kruiper Municipality in Upington held its council meeting on Wednesday.

Councillors logged on from their respective areas to be part of the meeting.

The mayor of the municipality, Michael Segede, said they had adopted the new way of conducting their meetings as mass gatherings were prohibited during the lockdown period.

“The president has announced that mass gatherings are not allowed and we have now taken on a new way of holding our meetings by video conference. This way we still get to discuss matters of service delivery and other important issues,” said Segede.

“The council meeting is important and cannot be cancelled because of the coronavirus. We still have a duty to people and need to discuss and address the challenges our communities are faced with. The work still has to continue. By using technology we are able continue with our mandate.”

He added, however, that the new manner of meeting has had some teething problems.

“We do not see each other in person but over the laptops. This manner of meeting does at times have a comic side as some councillors are very ‘comfortably’ dressed during the video conferences. Some are dressed in shorts and others log on while still lying in bed. We had to call such incidents to order,” said Segede with a smile.

“Others had experiences where they are not able to connect in a separate private room and we can see the movement of their families in the background. Some councillors have inquisitive children who ask their parents what they are watching on their laptops. Others even forget to mute their laptops and one can hear everything that is being discussed in the background,” he chuckled.

Segede said this way of communicating was very convenient and was also budget friendly.

“We have councillors from Rietfontein and other smaller towns around Upington. Those councillors have to travel far to attend council meetings. With this new way of meeting, they now can log in from anywhere. We also do not have to book accommodation for them when they have to be at the council meetings. The municipality is now able to save on those costs.

“What is also positive is that none of the councillors have been absent or not able to attend the meetings. So we can maintain this way of meeting, even in the future.”`