DURBAN - Newly elected Ugu District Municipality Phumlile Mthiyane has vowed to focus on improving water and sanitation services.
She was speaking after she was sworn-in as mayor at the inaugural council meeting that was held in Port Shepstone on Thursday. Mthiyane, who was deputy mayor in the previous term, was competing with her comrades within the ANC for the position.
She was favoured by the party ahead of Sizwe Ngcobo who was mayor, Mandla Chiya and former Harding mayor Dixie Nciki. Ngcobo took the speaker’s position while Chiya was elected deputy mayor. Nciki would serve in the municipality’s executive committee as a consolation.
Delivering her maiden speech, she said she was humbled to have been elected as mayor of the district. She said her main focus would be on improving water and sanitation services to the community of the district, adding these services were the core function of the district municipality.
“Fellow councillors let me say from the onset that our main focus should be water and sanitation delivery to our people as this is a core function of the district municipality,” said the new mayor.
She urged councillors to put their political differences aside and work for the people, adding that she was prepared to work with all the councillors for the benefit of the Ugu community.
In the 36-seat council ANC received 19 against 17 of the opposition parties combined. The municipality has been battling water challenges for years which had led to protests last year where residents blockaded the N2 linking the province with Eastern Cape.
The violent protests forced Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Sipho Hlomuka to intervene and he visited the district where he calmed protesters and ended the action. Although additional water tankers were sent, residents said there were still areas where they were still relying on streams at which they shared water with animals.
Despite suffering big losses in the recent local government Ugu and Harry Gwala in Ixopo were the only districts which proved to be still loyal to the ANC by keeping local municipalities under the party.
Ugu is made up of uMziwabantu in Harding, Ray Nkonyeni in Port Shepstone, uMdoni in Scottburgh and Umzumbe in Hibberdene. The district was heavily dependent on tourism as it is situated along the coast stretching to the famous Wild coast casino resort which was established by hospitality industry mogul Sol Kerzner in 1989.