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News in brief - Date: 23 May 2020
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“With the cancellation of community meetings, the public should understand and adapt to new ways of doing things. Although we are prohibited from meeting community members physically, we should understand that government programmes should not be halted.”
These are the words of Musina’s municipal manager, Mr Nathi Tshiwanammbi, after the municipality had invited only written comments for their Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and budget for the new financial year, which starts on 1 July.
Tshiwanammbi said that, during this time every year, the municipality would go out to the communities in all 12 wards to present the IDP and budget, so that people could make inputs. “In line with the Disaster Management Act during the Covid-19 pandemic, we will not be able to meet our communities out there. This does not mean that our communities and stakeholders should not be given an opportunity to submit their inputs. Covid-19 has forced us to change our normal way of doing things but at the same time taught us that we should always be prepared for any eventuality that could disrupt our planning.”
He said the municipality had used various platforms to publish the IDP and budget documents, so that people could access them. “We have issued bulk SMSs to our approximately 5 000 subscribers to advise them on how we are going to move with the IDP and budget this time. We have also made sure that the documents are loaded on our website and Facebook page. We went the extra mile by circulating the notices on various community WhatsApp groups. We are mindful that there are people who could not access social media and we have made sure that we place hard copies in all municipal offices. We have no other alternative but to do things differently until the coronavirus crisis comes to an end. We have given the public opportunity to submit their inputs until the end of this month (May).”
He urged community members to do everything possible to make sure that their written inputs are submitted to the municipality. “Things have changed within a short space of time and we have to adapt. We want to avoid a situation where people will complain that they have not been consulted in the planning activities of the municipality. However, we are now doing it in a different way because of the global Covid-19 pandemic.”
Musina Municipal Manager Nathi Tshiwanammbi says because of Covid-19, the public should adapt to new ways of doing things.