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The management of town halls and district councils is once again being called into question. In recent Audit reports submitted to the National Assembly, several were singled out for financial anomalies. This was the subject discussed in the program “Au Cœur de l'Info”, on Monday, July 8, on Radio Plus with Mélanie Duval, Patrick Hilbert and their guests.

Referring to the Audit reports, Khemraz Ortoo, the chairman of the Gros-Cailloux village council and deputy secretary general for organization at the MMM, denounces the interference of politics in municipalities and district councils. “These reports are right to highlight the waste because there is a lack of planning when it comes to development projects. They are done without analysis, and especially without the advice of experts,” he says, while indicating that it is politics that decides everything.

“Especially when you know that it is a question of big money. There are hundreds of millions of rupees that are injected into these district councils. Just recently, five villages benefited from Rs76 million.”

Steeve Magdeleine, former Chairman of the Black River District Council, believes that there are also shortcomings at the district council level. “The reports ask that the district councils' land be assessed, but how do you assess a cemetery? And the worst part is that there isn't even an assessor.”

“You need competent people to get the job done,” he says.

For the latter, it is necessary to give district councils the means to make money and not to be satisfied only with government resources, in order to be able to better carry out certain projects. “There is a 'rethinking' that must be done from top to bottom.”

For Olivier Barbe, PMSD elected official at the Beau-Bassin-Rose-Hill town hall, it is especially important to know what lessons can be learned from these reports and the shortcomings raised. “It is the next government that will propose amendments to the Local Government Act and this will be an opportunity to see what can be done to improve the situation,” he says, while also indicating that more accountability and transparency will be needed.

Reached by phone during the show, Ananda Rajoo, former mayor of Curepipe, talks about the need to involve citizens more in order to create a regional democracy. “We need to have an informed citizen who will then be involved in his neighborhood to move things forward. Projects will be done in a more thoughtful way,” he thinks.

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