New Sol Plaatje municipal manager Thapelo Matlala believes he is ready to take the municipality to greater heights through a ’paradigm shift’ in management.
AFTER five days in office as Sol Plaatje municipal manager, a confident Thapelo Matlala believes he is ready to take the municipality to greater heights through a “paradigm shift” in management.
Right off the bat, Matlala admits that the municipality’s finances are not looking good.
“We are technically bankrupt and I am coming into the municipality with many challenges, but I am fully confident and fully dedicated to seeing that the institution comes out of this negative financial situation,” he said.
“There is a process in place to collect revenue through an enhancement strategy.
“We are working together with the Development Bank of South Africa to assist us financially.”
Matlala says he aims to ensure that critical measures are implemented to raise revenue so that the municipality is able to be financially viable and sustainable.
“We will be looking at cost drivers to see how we can minimise the cost without comprising service delivery.”
With debt at a high level, Matlala says they will be very strict with debt collection and will be approaching companies that owe the municipality millions of rand.
“There are private and public hospitals who are owing millions and we have approached them as we require immediate action no later than next week.”
Matlala added that there are other businesses in the city that also owe the municipality a lot of money.
“We understand that Covid has caused many companies to battle with their finances but we need to act now for everyone to pay.”
Matlala says he has instructed the electrical department to look at a mixed energy model, where solar and gas energy could be used in households in an attempt to reduce the purchase of electricity.
He explains that the mixed model will use solar for heating water and the gas component for cooking.
“The electricity we will supply will be limited to lights and plugs in households. We have to move fast as the residents are already doing it for themselves. People who do not get efficient service will look at other means of services.”
Matlala is giving himself four months in order to know exactly where the municipality should be heading as the programme he intends to implement will be huge and will require a number of areas to be focused on.
With major sewage spillages in Galeshewe and other townships, Matlala intends to address this issue as a matter of urgency.
“I come from Galeshewe and my parents still reside there, so do many other people, something has to be done.”
“I am expecting a report from my team to give me a plan on how we are going to turn around the spillage issues, as well as the interruption of water services and potholes.
“The city is not looking good,” he admits.
Matlala says they will have to reconfigure and rework the budget, which is “tight”, in order to address basic service needs.
“This is going to take a lot of hard work and I am not taking the challenges lightly … It is not going to be easy as it is going to require a lot of hard work to get Sol Plaatje to where it needs to be.
“I have been given a mandate by my political heads that they want to see consequence management. People who don’t work should be dealt with.
“That will not be my starting point but it will be implemented as we are all public servants and we work for the public, so bad service delivery will have to come to an end.”
Another matter that Matlala will be looking into is the weekend water shutdowns, as he believes the entire city should not be subjected to dry taps over such a long period of time.
He also intends to meet with banks and insurance companies to create partnerships to assist with the repair of potholes, while construction companies will be roped in to assist with water management.
Matlala said that the old system of management and supervision at Sol Plaatje is not producing results, which is why they will need to change and implement systems that will work in the 21st century.
“Management systems that worked in the past can no longer work, there needs to be a paradigm shift in the way we do things.
“I come here as a humble boy from Galeshewe, to see how I can contribute to my people in Kimberley. My parents are here and they experience the same issues that everyone else experiences.
“I plan to go full throttle,” Matlala concluded.