About Us (History of the Municipality)
In the final years of the apartheid Government, and upon the insistence and pressure from the commercial sector, an effort was made to address the inequality of basic service delivery into the rural areas. In order to address this issue, 6 Joint Services Boards were established, and activated within the boundaries of the Province.
Subsequent to such establishment and after the 1994 elections which heralded the commencement of the transition phase of Local Government, these Joint Services Boards, with some boundary adjustments, formed the basis upon which the Transitional Regional Councils were formed and established, who in terms of the Local Government Transition Act and a specific Proclamation (LG54) were tasked with the municipal administration of all areas outside the boundaries of the Transitional Local Councils, being the so called 'Remaining Areas' In respect to this narrative, the Midlands and East Griqualand Joint Services Boards, together with the subsequent Ugu and Ndlovu Transitional Regional Councils, have pertinence.
Immediately prior to the 2000 Local Government Elections, and in line with the Constitutional transformation of Local Government, the boundaries of District Council No.43, as it was then referred to, were defined by the Demarcation Board. This newly defined area inherited portions of the former Ndlovu and Ugu Transitional Regional Councils and comprises 5 Category 'B' or local municipalities, namely; KwaSani, Greater Kokstad, Matatiele, Ingiwe and Ubuhlebezwe, the latter municipalities reestablished from the former Ixopo, Creighton, Kokstad, Cedarville, Underberg, Himeville and Matatiele Transitional Local Councils.
District municipality (DC43) was established, over this area, in terms of Section 12 of the Municipal Structures Act and subsequently the elected and appointed Councillors took up office at that time, 'in principle', and appointed officer bearers, namely the Mayor Cllr J.P. Khoza, The Speaker Cllr M. M. Nyembezi, Deputy Mayor Cllr C. M. Ngcobo and the Executive Committee members who were nominated and elected from the first meeting of Council.
The Hon.Mayor Cllr J.P. Khoza recounts the days when his Council and Executive Committee met at the Off-Saddle Hotel in Ixopo and otherwise operated from their vehicles via cellular telephone. During that period, the Municipal Manager was in an acting capacity and 'on loan' and working from the uMgungundlovu District Municipality and no permanent staff appointments had been had been finalized.
These early years were not easy and the fledgling municipality had to endure many difficulties, not the least of which being that, as a "new" municipality, Council were hampered by an inadequate funding, an absence of an administrative staff establishment and the almost complete absence of equipment and facilities. These difficulties were in turn exacerbated by complications with the apportionment of existent resources from the former Ugu and Ndlovu Transitional Regional Municipalities.
With support and guidance from the other spheres of Government, a consortium of service providers was appointed to establish and implement the necessary administrative and financial systems and to guide Council in the appointment of a permanent Municipal Manager, wherefrom, during October 2001, Mr. N. M. Mabaso was appointed into that position and in turn he was involved in the appointment of the other Section 57 staff, or Heads of Department. As a consequence of these appointments, under the leadership of Mr.Mabaso, the municipality began to function, albeit from rented premises, and Council were able to concentrate their attentions on their political functions.
One of the early functions of this fledgling Council and its administration was to entitle the municipality and so the Sisonke District Municipality was borne and duly christened, the chronicle of this christening will be recounted herein.
In spite of these birthing difficulties and growing pains, the municipality has been able to meet and, to a large extent, begin to address the challenges which face it in relation to the state of development and demographics of the area that it has been tasked to administer.
A number of major service delivery projects have been undertaken and completed, same which will be highlighted in this narrative and in the final pages as an appendix.
Not the least of these projects, although not allowed similar priority, having been the acquisition of a suitable site and the development of an administrative complex thereon, same which, you the reader, has been invited to formalize. The inauguration of this complex heralds the end of the 'childhood era' and ushers in a period of stabilization and developmental growth in line with the vision of Council and its administration, inspirations which have been encapsulated in the Integrated Development Plan.
The Local Government Elections, are once again upon us and perhaps the current members of Council will fade into history, but they must , and will be, remembered and chronicled accordingly by future narrators as the forefathers and founding members of the Sisonke District Municipality