Limpopo’s new MEC for cooperative governance, human settlements and traditional affairs Rodgers Basikopo Makamu has vowed to rebuild municipalities that collapsed due to the VBS Mutual Bank saga.
About seven municipalities in the province collapsed last year after investing in the now liquidated VBS Mutual Bank. The councils lost over R1.2 billion in total. The contentious investments split the provincial ANC and government into two factions.
The party’s provincial executive committee fired several municipal managers and chief finance officers over it. Makamu is one of the 10 new MECs appointed last week by Premier Stan Mathabatha.
“I am prepared to fight with everything I have to ensure all affected municipalities are able to deliver services with precision and distinction,” he said soon after his appointment.
He added that the battle to get the affected municipalities back on track was half won as a forensic investigation which clarified the extent of the damage and reduction of service delivery in the councils had been done.
Makamu said he would ensure municipal councils and their oversight committees have the capacity to impose checks and balances on expenditure of ratepayers’ monies. Makamu, who is known in the political arena as “The Future”, also indicated he was prepared to work with the South African Local Government Association to build fiduciary responsibility in affected councils.
“In the interim, municipalities will make do with their Integrated Development Plans and budgets which will set them back on the road to recovery. Provincial and national government will also keep an eye on them and make necessary interventions,” he added.
Makamu is from Nkuri village in the Greater Giyani local municipality. He rose from being a cattle herder to a Giyani municipality official to an MEC. He was previously ANC regional secretary in Mopani.