AFTER years of political ructions, power struggle between ANC councillors, court battles and the recurrence of regime changes, the trouble-torn Mogalakwena Municipality in Limpopo is now under new management.
This follows the appointment of new municipal manager Patricia Nake and chief financial officer Sasa Molenda during a special council sitting of May 19.
The duo is from the provincial department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlement and Traditional Affairs.
Nake says she is well aware of the mammoth task she is faced with.
Moments after her instalment, she told council members that “I pledge to respect you… at the same time accepting the so-called welcoming and threatening welcome”.
She added: “I am going to promise you, what I cannot do is because I am only a human being like the rest of you. Let me take this opportunity to request management to meet with me and orientate me on the serious issues bedevilling Mogalakwena.”
Their appointments have brought some reprieve to disgruntled residents who have been yearning for stability in the troubled council.
As political mud-slinging raged on, residents were deprived of service delivery as they experienced water shortages and uncollected waste.
Nonetheless, they are hoping the new proverbial brooms will sweep better and cleanse the municipality.
But just a few hours after the appointment of Nake and Molenda was announced, ecstasy turned into gloom when two trucks were stolen from the municipal premises.
According to the police, two armed men pointed security guards with firearms before taking the trucks.
Provincial police spokesperson Ronel Otto confirmed the incident, adding that one of the trucks was found in the Siyabuswa area in Mpumalanga.
Otto said no arrest has been made and investigations are continuing.
But the municipality’s myriad of problems aren’t expected to disappear overnight.
It has been three weeks since some of the workers have downed tools, demanding that their salaries be benchmarked in line with those of other municipalities in the country.
Some of the workers who did not join the protest action said they were intimidated.
One of the workers, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of further victimisation, said his house was attacked and windows were smashed.
He said he managed to identify two people among those who broke into his house in an attempt to set it alight. The thugs were armed with petrol, he added.
The complainant said he was going to open a case of intimidation against the two suspects with the police.
However, workers representatives Percy Nketsi dismissed claims of intimidation, saying employees have nothing to do with the attack on the complainant’s house.
“There is no such a thing as intimidating those who are going to work” said Nketsi.