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Northern Cape MEC for Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (COGHSTA) Bentley Vass has committed his department towards the transferring of 9192 title deeds to approved beneficiaries during this financial year of 2018/2019.

Speaking during the tabling of the COGHSTA Budget Vote, Vass indicated that as part of the Title Deeds Restoration Project,  the 9192 tittle deeds to be delivered will match just over 10 000 title deeds that the department has transferred over the past three years – 2015 to 2018. Vass also urged local municipalities to hasten the transfer of tittle deeds within their grip.

Vass’ fostering of property ownership shone through a Budget Speech that was expected to be beset by the worrisome local government state of affairs.

He flagged interventions undertaken in placing certain municipalities under administration, building the administrative capacity and financial wellbeing of those that required the expertise of skilled personnel to change their fortunes around.

Vass pointed out the Auditor General’s Local Government Audit Outcomes which placed irregular expenditure at two hundred and sixty one million (R262million) with the main culprits being Gamagara and Gasegonyane municipalities.

The glimmer of hope for the two municipalities could also be in assistance from national government.

“In terms of the National Programme to Revitalise Mining Towns, the following municipalities were declared for intervention in the 2017/2018 financial year: Gamagara, -Gasengonyane, Tsantsabane, Kgatelopele,” said MEC Vass, also indicating the inclusion of Khai Ma and Joe Morolong.

Responding the Budget Vote, Democratic Alliance’s provincial leader Andrew Louw lashed out; “I don’t think that anyone here would dare to dispute the fact that local government in the Northern Cape is in tatters.” Louw lamented the “stagnation” of municipalities as pointed out by the Auditor General Kimi Makwetu.

“This is very worrying, considering that municipalities in the Northern Cape spent a whopping R70 million on consultants for financial reporting. This is double the amount spent on such consultants in 2015/2016, and it excluded consultants paid for by other institutions,” said Louw.

The billing systems and a lack of proper asset registers at some municipalities were also highlighted.

Community consultations into the expected incorporation of 14 North West villages that are bordering the Northern Cape and collectively known as Ba Ga-Mothibi are also expected to unfold amid the Constitutional amendments having been effected into the re-determination of provincial boundaries. Vass estimated the population at 26 881 with 8123 household in relation to 2011 Census.

On at least another good news front, Vass revealed that the Community Works Programme which caters for job opportunities for the poor and drawn from national coffers, has been allocated with two hundred and ninety one million rand (R291million) for this financial year, a massive increase from the hundred and eighty four million rand (R184 million) in previous financial year.

The Department also committed itself towards building 1993 quality houses for this financial year. Its total budget stands at just over eight hundred and thirty one million rand (R831 million) which is an exponential increase from last year but somehow boosted by its human settlements allocation.

By Thabo Mothibi

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Thabo Mothibi is a former broadcast journalist (TV and Radio) – with specialist reporting experience; SABC Political/Parliamentary and TRC Teams over a period of five years (1995 to 2000).

One key foreign assignment - is the 11-nation African Connection Rally – overland journey from Africa’s northern-most pole in the coastal Tunisian city of Bizerte to the southern-most pole in South Africa’s Cape Agulhas. From the journalistic years, Thabo then delved into Government media liaison and serving two former Ministers and three MECs. He became the Northern Cape Provincial Government’s first department based Communications Director at Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development - 2008-2010 – where he also served as Head of Ministry from 2003 – 2008.

As a former anti-apartheid activist, his political background and professional training aided him in spearheading the Northern Cape ANC’s 2004 National Elections media and publicity campaign and that of the 2006 Local Government Elections.

Whilst based in Waterkloof in Pretoria -2010 to end 2011, he consulted for Manstrat Agricultural Intelligence, then returned to the Northern Cape in 2012 to date, to consult independently and pursue other entrepreneurial interests in media and communications through KwaVuko Communications and Marketing.

Thabo Mothibi obtained his NQF7 through Wits University’s Graduate School of Public and Development Management (P&DM) in Johannesburg, a Unilever Mandela Rhodes Academy for Marketing and Communications Academy (UMRA). The goal of the NQF7 programme was to educate and train public and private sector professional communicators and marketers in government communications..