By Emily Setona
QWAQWA – Takatso Lebenya has been appointed municipal manager of Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipality (TMDM), and she has described following the law and team work as her strength.
Lebenya said this while addressing the media a day after her appointment, on Tuesday this week.
According to the recent Auditor General’s report for TMDM, the district has achieved unqualified audit for the year 2021/2022 when Lebenya was the lady in charge.
“We are the only municipality in the Free State that took a decision to do its annual report registry and to achieve that we started by capacitating our finance department. After training our financial interns we ensure that they know what AG requires for us to comply.
“Secondly, I have a strong team. Usually, when the municipality succeeds people look at the mayor or municipal manager whereas there are so many people who have contributed to those results. This is our biggest strength, even other municipalities use us as their benchmark. When it comes to ensuring that our district has a clean audit, I can say that our winning formula has been the decision to retain the company that does our audits.
As a municipality we have chosen to work with the same group of people with the knowledge and expertise to guide this municipality to achieve and maintain a clean audit. We do not chop and change the people we work with, especially when they prove to know what they are doing.
“The mayor plays an oversight role at all times in the mayoral committee, the speaker also does the same and in this way we are able to see if we are progressing of regressing.”
The Integrated Development Plan (IDP) provides mechanisms to ensure that projects and programmes are efficiently implemented. This type of working environment has made it possible for Lebenya to be part of a supportive team that allows her to thrive as a female leader because the vision and mission of the TMDM is guided and informed by strict government policy.
“I can proudly say that the team that I work with has been very supportive because the vision that we all share in the district is governed and drafted by the law,” Lebenya said.
She described the people that she works with as a strong team that makes it possible for her to do her job effectively.
“Challenges will always be there but working with the team that I have makes my job easy. Once we have received the auditor generals’ report we immediately draft an action plan and work towards reaching our goals and targets.
Persistence is what helps me to stay on course, not to mention performance management systems that are the benchmark for most municipalities in the Free State province. Other municipalities look to TMDM to learn how they can improve their performances,” Lebenya said.
In conclusion, she reminisced on her highlights as MM in her previous terms.
“My highlights during my previous terms have been many but what I can really single out is having made our security guards part of the TMDM team. We used to hire a security company but in my first term as MM in 2014 I decided to make the security guards TMDM employees who get paid from our budget and get benefits.”
Another achievement that she prides herself with is offering EPWP workers the opportunity to get their drivers licenses while working as an EPWP worker.