Siyamtanda Capa
3 minute read
20 Apr 2021
15:26

Lifetime Achievement Award for long-serving DA councillor Bill Lambert

Siyamtanda Capa

Seasoned DA councillor Bill Lambert (83) has been given a Lifetime Achievement Award  by the party he has served for so many years.

Seasoned DA councillor Bill Lambert (83) has been given a Lifetime Achievement Award  by the party he has served for so many years.

“William of Wembley”, as he’s fondly known, started his journey as a councillor when he represented the then Democratic Party in 1995. The nomination at the time was made by the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Commerce. 

When the party changed its name to the Democratic Alliance, Lambert  was the ward 11 councillor candidate. He served two terms as ward councillor before moving on to become a proportional representative (PR) councillor.  Twenty-six years and eight mayors later, his service to residents has earned him a lifetime achievement award from the DA.

The award caught him by surprise, he said, adding it was “heart warming” and he was “thrilled”. He said: “In the beginning I served because my passion is this city and I wanted to give something back to the community because it has been very good to our family,” said Lambert. 

He said the work of a councillor does not end, “but it is service that brings value and one wishes to be of some value and to give back”.

Speaking on Msunduzi, Lambert said: “We know what is wrong, we know it can be fixed and we know how to fix it, but daily we hear that challenges of electricity are even threatening our industrial operations, leading to more job losses and threatening the livelihoods of citizens.

“The situation in the council is absolutely toxic and it is not pleasant at all.”
DA councillor Bill Lambert

“Billing challenges are a daily occurrence. Waste removal and a shambolic city centre has labelled us a city of filth, not the city of flowers as it used to be. The whole thing is a nightmare. Are we being purposefully de-stabilised? There is no consequence management, so there is a culture of impunity. We also have a total inability to collect revenue and our debtors now stand at some R4 billion.”

Lambert said theft of electricity and water is rampant as are illegal connections and infrastructure vandalism.

He said besides this, the city has “not had any significant development during the current term”.

Asked about some of the highlights in the council chamber, Lambert said it was when the municipality was in line to finally receive metro status. “We popped champagne and celebrated, but that was very short-lived,” he said.

READ | Parties question credibility of forensic report into corruption at Msunduzi Municipality

Lambert said this had saddened him as metro status meant Msunduzi would have had access to more government grants and a bigger slice of the National Treasury’s equitable share.

“In the beginning all the parties got along well and it showed because the City did well, until that collapse came and we were put under administration the first time and they brought in an excellent administrator, Johann Mettler,” Lambert said.

He said the council currently lacks the overarching desire to see the City succeed. “The situation in the council is absolutely toxic and it is not pleasant at all,” he said.

The DA also gave Lambert an award for being a prolific fundraiser, a task he did with “enthusiasm and passion”. He said the awards meant a lot to him.