As unpalatable as it is to acknowledge, the biggest problem for municipalities is that they are afflicted with too many overpaid, underworked councillors. They fight tooth and nail for what is quite a lucrative career, with no qualifications required other than being able to talk the talk.

Many people have forgotten that, in years gone by, city councillors were established, respected members of the public who gave up their time to oversee council activity and received a small stipend, plus a few expenses.

By virtue of their professions, they were able to contribute to management policies. We didn’t have the situation where councillors were being murdered because someone else wanted their position.

Most council tasks were done in-house so there were no lucrative tenders, and bankrupt councils were unheard of. Durban (eThekwini) was financially healthy and run by competent civil servants.

Today it’s a free-for-all. And unless you have strong connections, you will not get any council work.

Tony Ball

The FM welcomes concise letters from readers. They can be sent to fmmail@fm.co.za

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