New Karoo mayor scrambles to save R12.5m vanishing from his war chest
Aphiwe Deklerk | 2017-06-01 16:11:36.0
Japie van der Linde will serve his first day in office on Friday. File photo.
Image by: MIKE HUTCHINGS
Japie van der Linde says he will hit the ground running after being elected Beaufort West mayor on Wednesday.
Friday will be his first full day at the office and the new mayor has little time to waste.
One of his biggest worries is the appointment of a new chief financial officer by the end of June to ensure the municipality does not lose R12.5-million for capital projects.
Since February‚ when Van der Linde’s DA colleague‚ Koos Malooi‚ unexpectedly resigned from the hot seat‚ the municipality has been running on autopilot.
It urgently needs to ensures its budget is passed by the end of June‚ the official close of the current financial year. But that’s not his only headache.
The municipal administration is also running without leadership as council still needs to hire a municipal manager and a head for its engineering department.
Van der Linde told TimesLive he was in a race against time to hire a CFO but his administration would be working with the provincial government on the matter.
The municipality tabled its draft budget and the new mayor said he was confident it would be approved by the end of June. “We are going to appoint a municipal manager within the next three months to get things stable‚” he said.
Van der Linde has previously served as council speaker and was mayor of the Central Karoo District Municipality.
He comes into a municipality that has been dogged by scandals under the leadership of ANC strongman Truman Prince‚ but Van der Linde promised tough action.
He said his administration was committed to forensic investigations lanched when the DA took over in August last year. “[We are going to] get rid of all the [negative] legacy of the ANC. In two years that they were in power‚ the town is actually bankrupt‚” he added.