Captured during the Musina Municipality strategic planning session are from left to right: Cllr Fistos Mafela (Chief Whip), Cllr Gilbert Netshisaulu (Speaker) and Nathi Tshiwanammbi (Municipal Manager). Seated are Thovhele Vho-Hanyani Tshikundamalema (left) and Musina Mayor, Cllr Mihloti Muhlope.

“The municipality, as local government which is closest to the people, will remain the implementing agent of government’s transformation and service delivery programs.  However, we can only be able to implement our set goals if we plan accordingly – like what we are doing here this week.  We should therefore create the capacity to be able to deliver the much required services to our people. Unity in action must drive us to be a winning team.” These are the words of the Mayor of Musina, Cllr Mihloti Muhlope. She was addressing councillors, the management team of Musina Municipality, traditional leaders and invited guests during the municipality’s three day strategic planning session that was held at Tshipise Forever Resort, Musina.

She continued: “We are here to prepare and plan so that we can see a municipality that is performing and ultimately successful in all its required functional areas.  To realize this vision, we should build local democracy by developing strategies and mechanisms to continuously engage with our electorate. We need to introduce change that is founded on good principles. The outcome of this strategic plan must highlight new imperatives and challenges that confront our communities.”

Muhlope said councillors are defined as architects because they have to set and develop the vision for the municipality.  “Managers, as builders, have to ensure that the vision is realised.  In that respect, when our term ends, we must not feel ashamed. We must ensure that the strategic choices we make now would yield positive results to our communities. We have to excel in whatever we do. In order to achieve positive results, we should collectively contribute towards our strategic development path.”

She also hinted on some of the challenges the municipality is presently facing.   “We all know that we have plenty of challenges within our municipality.  This include our qualified audit opinion, compromised services provision due to lack of resources and manpower, low revenue generation and the influx of undocumented foreign nationals. These challenges should be confronted with the velocity of a bull.  Failure to do so would create pitfalls that would be too great to overcome where in some instances we would be rejected by the same community who voted for us to serve them.”

Muhlope said despite some of the above challenges, the municipality has managed to achieve a lot of good things over the past years. “As councillors, it should always become a habit and hobby to constantly communicate with the people and highlight all challenges that we may have encountered in the execution of our mandate, and further stress on our achievements as servants of the people. No vacuum should be allowed in our course of duty, be it the political representatives or public servants.”