“Seasons come to pass and every wave is bound to diminish”

Umzimvubu Local Municipality hosts its second annual Ratepayer’s Awards Ceremony on Thursday, 26 June 2014. At an elegant and classy event, the red carpet phenomenon took centre stage with Ratepayers from Mount Frere and Mount Ayliff towns dressed to kill; an atmosphere of tranquillity and a pronunciation of good relations was declared. This incentive program is primarily designed to recognise, encourage and reward ratepayers who continuously ensure that their bills for rates and services are paid in full and in good time. The proceedings started at 18H00 where the likes of Thobile Melani and Mr. Daka, Chairpersons in Mount Frere and Mount Ayliff respectively were seen making way into the stylish feel of Mount Frere Town Hall where the ceremony was held.

Umzimvubu’s Budget and Treasury office introduced this innovative concept last year as the first of its kind in the municipality and most probable in the entire Province. We have seen the Municipality run programmes of a similar nature and introducing new approaches in building and maintaining relations but this time around, the idea definitely deserves an applaud.

Just over a year and a half ago, the Municipality had very hostile relations with its ratepayers where a situation of holding each other by the scruff of the neck and being at loggerheads was experienced. Petitions and Legal filings were the order of the day between the municipality and ratepayers. It is now a thing of the past, yesterday is gone and tomorrow forever.

Different Categories such as Consistent Ratepayer Award, Debt Cleaner Award, Progressive Business Award, Debt Fighter, Sustainably Run Business Award, Cleanest Household Award and Environmental Stewardship Award were the categories which were competed on. Environmental Stewardship (Adopt a Spot) was awarded to Ms. Maqashalala from Sophia Park, Cleanest Household to Ms. Dubhayi and The Ntshobane Family in Mt Ayliff. Prizes such as GPS Navigators, Tablets, Gas Heaters, Trophies and Certificates were amongst other gifts given to the winners.

This initiative was greatly commended by the guest speaker, Ms. Nombasa Nkomana, Senior Manager for Special Programmes Unit at the Provincial Local Government and Traditional Affairs Department. She was cited in her speech congratulating Umzimvubu Ratepayers for their accomplishment and finding was to renew their spirits in for sustainable efforts, managed relations between them and their elected leaders.

A spirit of harmony was then declared by a representative of the Ratepayer’s Executive Committee Mrs. Nothemba Mpiti in her reply speech where she reminded the audience at the ceremony of the strides taken in resolving tensions between the municipality and their structure. She further applauded the ULM Chief Finance Officer Mrs. Xoliswa Venn for her humbleness, professionalism and her dedication to her work. Her zeal and strategy of resolving cases and queries individually is one of the strategies that brought the understanding. Ratepayers form part of the key stakeholders of a Municipality as their contributions through rates paying result to the municipality’s growth.

Councillor Lisa Nkula, Acting Mayor of the day in a jovial mood during her welcome speech.