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Welcome to eThekwini Mayors Blog. Read all about what is on your Mayor's mind.
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eThekwini Municipality > City Government > Council > City Mayor > Blog
December 13
Happy holidays to our residents and visitors

CHRISTMAS is the most important day in our calendar. It makes available to many of us a rare opportunity of being at home with our families. During this period, after a busy year, we retreat and reflect on numerous events that happened in our lives during the course of the year. It is the time where we accumulate strength and recommit ourselves to face new challenges the following year may have in store for us.

At the same time while enjoying being with our loved ones, we must always remember that in certain parts of our City, some have no reason to celebrate these holidays because of being permanently condemned to grinding poverty. It is therefore important that in the spirit of Christmas we share with fellow brothers and show compassion, more especially to the most vulnerable in our society. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to his majesty the King of the Zulu Nation and the entire institution of traditional leadership for being our light throughout the year.

To all eThekwini Municipality councillors, thank you for your continued dedication to your work. I thank our employees for their hard work and sacrifices they have made for the benefit of our City at the expense of their families. Special thanks to our men and women working in essential services, who have to work day and night to protect and care for us while missing the opportunity to be with their loved ones.

Above all, give yourselves a loving hug for being such good South Africans. To all our residents rest assured our Municipality has doubled its efforts to ensure that you enjoy your holidays without any interruptions to basic services. I would also like to assure throngs of our visitors that we are ready to welcome them and we appeal to all of you to respect our bylaws. We vow to make your stay in Durban memorable. Those who will be on the road, please obey the rules of the road.

November 29
Speak out against women and children abuse

EVERY year from the 25th of November which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women to the 10th of December that marks the International Human Rights Day, is a period dubbed 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children, an awareness solely aimed at curbing this inhumane behaviour in society.

The big question is, for how long are women going to be treated as second class citizens in their communities? As we celebrate 100 years of Mama Albertina Sisulu, I am certain she is turning in her grave to see the ordeal women she fought so hard for are going through. I have lost count of the number of reported incidents in the City and country that have elements of violence against women and children.

It makes my blood to run cold to imagine a well-built man beating a woman until she is unconscious? How a grown up man even think of forcefully sleeping with a five year old child leaving her in a pool of blood? The unfortunate part is that some of us in the society happen to be fully aware of these incidents and decide to keep quiet. Let us ask ourselves what kind of a society are we trying to build and what are we going to leave behind for future generations?

I would like to send my condolences to family, friends and children of a woman that was recently killed violently allegedly by a man we are told she was in the process of divorcing. This happened in the belly of the Durban Magistrates Court and the perpetrator is alleged to have been the officer of the law that all of us should feel safe when they are around. This is a clear demonstration that we are living in an abnormal society and there is something seriously wrong with it.

As women we need to lobby our lawmakers to help us ensure that our laws are unmerciful to perpetrators to an extent that they fear to commit similar crimes in future. We also need to talk about the issue of bail as there are incidences where suspects are released and go back to the society to continue where they left off. We know of women who are no more after being killed by suspects on bail. What also breaks my heart the most is the fact that there are scores of women that have been infected with HIV because they fear to say no. Some of these women were faithful but paid the price of living in abusive relationships.

As we commemorate World Aids Day let us remember all of them and pray unceasingly for those who are living with the virus. We thank our government for it has made treatment available to millions who are now living a normal life. Let us support them. I would like to appeal to all of us to be die hard agents of no violence against the vulnerable in our society.

November 20
Together we can nip fraud and corruption in the bud

AS the world continue to celebrate 100 years of Nelson Mandela, what comes to my mind is describing him as a principled man who understood the significance of accountability and the rule of law. This is the real revolutionary who sacrificed both his and family welfare solely to free a black man.

After spending years in prison he never gave up the fight against injustice until we all got our political freedom. Madiba was a global icon that taught all of us that we are equal before the law irrespective of the positions we may hold in society. He walked the talk and we all remember him demonstrating the courage of his convictions by submitting himself before the courts when summoned to defend his decision to set up a commission to investigate alleged racism, corruption and nepotism in South African rugby.

So who are we not to emulate the father of our nation who not even once was implicated in corruption that has become so synonymous with our society? It is unrelenting and it is perpetrated against the existence of laws that governs how we should conduct ourselves as government officials and politicians. Between 11 and 17 November, we kick started activities to commemorate International Fraud Awareness Week. The latter is commemorated globally to among others draw the attention of the world to fraud and corruption that has condemned the poor to permanent state of grinding poverty.

Our Municipality has taken position to the effect that it will fight tooth and nail to remove any hurdles on its journey to develop scores of poor people that were neglected by the apartheid order. Fraud and Corruption is among such hurdles and our City is making tremendous progress, thanks to our City’s Integrity and Investigations Unit (CIIU). The CIIU’s mandate is to tackle fraud, corruption and maladministration.

I am very impressed with its outreach programmes that are aimed to creating awareness in our communities about dangers of this scourge. I am pleased to announce that we are the first Municipality to establish a Disciplinary Board which attends to cases of financial misconduct. By having these structures in place we are demonstrating to the world that we are determined to run a clean Municipality. Our City will forever detest fraud and corruption because it steals and deprives poor people of basic serves they desperately need.

In conclusion, I would like to draw the attention of our residents that our Municipality accounts for a substantial number of voters that have not yet visited the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to register their addresses. We must all remember that the IEC is not going to allow anyone to vote if their addresses are not available. Let us register our addresses and check our details at IEC offices.

November 01
Let’s celebrate our great transport strides

WITHOUT any fear of contradiction, I am of the conviction that eThekwini Municipality closed Transport Month with a bang. This follows the launch of the first direct flight from London to Durban and the official opening of the award winning Mt Edgecombe Interchange. We should pat ourselves on the back because our hard work has paid handsome dividends. With these milestones, our City will continue to be a force to be reckoned with, not only in the country, but in the world.

It has been a difficult five years driving on the N2 whether going to the airport or up north because of traffic congestion that was caused largely by construction of the interchange. Some of us use to reserve an hour for a 30 minutes trip to the airport when coming from the inner city during peak hours. It was not good news at all for among others the freight industry that unceasingly endured delays because of traffic congestion. Well, the truth is, it was worthwhile because from now onwards, there is going to be an incredible smooth flow of traffic.

There are many reasons that resulted to this massive construction. Two of them being the unprecedented expansion of Umhlanga and LA Lucia Ridge and the anticipated increase in the volume of traffic as a result of the Cornubia development. There are huge economic spin offs underway taking into cognisance that the N2 links among others the Durban Port and the Richards
Bay Industrial Development Zone. This is a clear indication that it is of cardinal importance for any country to develop infrastructure in order to stimulate economic growth.

Big business is definitely going to save a lot of money, which should be invested into the economy to create job opportunities our people so desperately need. I would like to thank SANRAL, national and provincial Departments of Transport, officials of our municipality and unsung heroes, the ordinary workers that have been working there. The interchange is one of the biggest ever built in the country, and has definitely changed the landscape of eThekwini.

Before the opening of the interchange, we welcomed the first direct aircraft from Heathrow Airport in London to King Shaka. British Airways will begin flying directly into Durban three times weekly. This is going to boost business and leisure.

Despite these good news, it would be amiss of me not to express my gratitude to two councillors that are no longer with us whom we laid to rest recently. They are Councillor Sibusiso Maphumulo Councillor Nkosiphendule Dlamini. May God be with their families in this time of grief and we wish their souls to rest in peace.

October 18
We are hard at work

IF THERE is one thing that our city is famous for worldwide, is unrivalled hospitality. We have vowed that on the latter we are not going to compromise. EThekwini is pulling all the stops to ensure that at all times it is head and shoulders above the rest.

We are extremely happy because it is paying handsome dividends every year. We are elated following the awards that we have been honoured with recently. On the 6th of October 2018, we snatched four awards at the World Travel Awards held at our iconic Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC). Officially opened by former President Nelson Mandela in 1997 this facility is no stranger to hosting these awards. Principal among them was the “Africa’s Leading Meetings and Conference Centre’’.

This year we have won it for the 17th time and it is a pinnacle of travel and tourism. The process for a conference centre to be a winner is very transparent. Travel professionals vote for a leading meeting and conference centre in the world. They have been here and they felt how warm we are, hence they voted overwhelmingly for us. As if that was enough, our city also went home with the Africa’s Leading City Destination 2018; Africa’s Leading Cruise Port 2018 and Africa’s Leading Meetings and Conference Destination 2018.

Again we have towered above Johannesburg and Cape Town. Durban ICC’s CEO Lindiwe Rakharebe whom I am proud of, vowed that under her leadership the ICC throughout the year will be constantly teeming with delegates attending different conferences. We will do so by religiously meeting their needs. It would be amiss of me if I do not say kudos to our unsung heroes, the staff who are indispensable for the ICC to be showered with such recognition. On the 12th of October 2018 we walked away with two EPWP awards at the Kamoso Awards held at the ICC. We are proud that our EPWP programme is home to 15000 of our people who had no source of income. It is not for the first time that we made our presence felt at these awards through EPWP as we did not walk empty handed last year.

With this programme, I am grateful that indeed we have changed lives by aggressively breaking the cycle of poverty in many families. Let me conclude by calling up on all our workers benefitting currently from this programme to value the rare opportunity they have been given to make a living. I must stress that EPWP job opportunities are temporal and the policy is clear on that they are not a ticket to permanent employment. I am therefore appealing to them to refrain from embarking on illegal industrial action that usually impact to service delivery more especially when it comes to refuse removal.

October 04
Let us work together to reduce crime

OUR City is still faced with high crime statistics, especially violence directed to women and children. The number of recent cases reported at Umkomaas South African Police Services in Ward 99 are unsettling and call for urgent action.

As eThekwini’s first citizen, I encourage fellow residents to report crime within 48 hours without fear or favour. This will increase chances of police to apprehend with speed perpetrators of violence. I was left highly devastated when a Thornwood family was allegedly massacred recently by a relative who is suspected to be a drug addict. While we acknowledge the drug addiction problem, no amount of excuse will ever justify murder, violence and crime.

No one has a right to make excuses for criminals. Criminals must be reported even if they’re members of our families. We also condemn the Dros Restaurant incident in Silverton, where a 20-year-old male allegedly raped a six-year-old girl in the toilet. Such brutal and heartless behavior doesn’t belong in our societies. That is why I urge everyone to report any form of violence and crime immediately. We, as eThekwini Municipality urge Thuthuzela Centres, which are one stop facilities introduced as part of an anti-rape strategy led by the Nation Prosecuting Authority to speedily address cases of rape against children.

As part of our plans to further prevent crime in the City, we will increase police visibility through active community forums and neighborhood watch. It is critical for everyone to know their neighbours in cases of emergency hence the City supports the “Molo Makhelwane” initiative by African National Congress Women’s League. Let’s all actively educate our children about violence so that they are always alert and careful. Lastly, I would like to discourage any form of violence, including violent service delivery protests and union strikes that end-up destroying critical infrastructure.

Let us all remember that violence destroys the fiber of society. We even discourage vigilantism which results in deaths. Taking law into your own hands is crime on its own. Let us therefore abide by the law, and report criminals to police. I must convey my gratitude to all public and private stakeholders who work tirelessly towards decreasing crime statistics. These includes councillors, ward leadership, SAPS, traditional leaders and communities. Let’s all continue to work hard until we live in a crime and violence-free City. Anything is possible if we work together. 

September 21
Working together to keep Durban green

AS THE Vice-President of C40 Africa I recently delivered an address at the Global Climate Change Action Summit in San Francisco in the United States of America. It was a wonderful opportunity to highlight the wonderful work we are doing in eThekwini.

It was pleasing to inform those in attendance that 2018 has been declared as the year of former President Nelson Mandela who would have turned 100 this year. He is a world icon who fought for our freedom from apartheid colonialism. And while we are now free from oppression we are still faced with the lasting effects from the apartheid regime. The oppressive apartheid regime excluded majority of citizens from having meaningful participation on the economic and political direction of our country.

To counter the remnants of this exclusion, which is still evident today, we have adopted the Radical Economic Transformation Policy. I was able to tell those present at the Summit that South Africa, and indeed eThekwini Municipality, are swiftly moving towards the phase of economic freedom. This simply means the sharing of economic opportunities, creating job opportunities and fighting poverty.

A key area of my address that I shared at the Global Climate Change Action Summit was the greening of a number of historically marginalised communities in the City. Durban has been nationally recognised by government for being the greenest city. We have also received another award for urban greening. Most recently the City emerged victorious at the Arbor City Awards 2018 in the Metropolitan Municipality Category. The awards are hosted in partnership by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Total South Africa and the Institute for Environment and Recreation Management.

The Awards aim to encourage municipalities to green their areas of jurisdiction and promote environmental conservation and development while also creating awareness of the importance of green landscapes. The language of climate change is not only limited to boardrooms and science labs. We as a City are focusing on educating the youth, the royal house leadership and civil society at large about the impact of climate change. Our radical approach will in no way leave the poor communities behind. They are very much a part of our greening journey as we endeavour to ensure that climate change programmes improve the environment for the poor.

There is great potential for green jobs in our green economy space. Our radical approach in this regard is guided by policies and principles of Madiba. I urge eThekwini residents to play their role and do their part to mitigate the effects of climate change. Adopt the Thuma Mina ethos regarding keeping Durban green because together we can truly do more.

September 07
Finding solutions to climate change challenges

​THE C40 Vice President for Africawhich is a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change -it was an honour for the City to welcome the different representatives from the C40 cities.

These representatives included officials from New York City, Boston, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Mexico City and Paris who converged in Durban for the Deadline 2020 Climate Action Planning Pilot Programme with the aim of finding solutions to climate change challenges. Robust and thought provoking discussions were held during the three day long programme, an indication that as prominent cities of the world, we walk this journey together; to find the most realistic solutions for our cities.

I’ve repeatedly said that climate change, sustainable urban development and addressing issues affecting less privileged and vulnerable people are at the top of my priority list. To further reaffirm our commitment towards devising best solutions for climate change challenges, the City will be participating in the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit which will be hosted in San Francisco later this month.

In my capacity as the Vice President of C40, I will be attending this summit with a team of environmental delegates. This summit will bring people from around the world who will showcase climate action plans and inspire deeper commitments in support of the Paris Agreement. We have previously stated during the 2016 Local Government Elections Manifesto that we will continue to strengthen our plans that are aimed at reducing the negative impacts of changing environmental conditions and taking advantage of new opportunities that may be presented. We were last year October hard-hit by storms, which left a trail of destruction. These storms once again reminded us that issues of climate change are pivotal and more pressing to us as a coastal city.

Climate change has a greater impact on residents that are most reliant on natural resources for their livelihoods and/or who have the least capacity to respond to natural hazards, such as droughts, landslides, floods and hurricanes. We are also delighted that we will be hosting the ITU Telecom World 2018 between 10 and 13 October. This conference will be coming to our African shores for the very first time and will be hosted by the Department of Telecommunications and Post.

I would like to urge all of us as eThekwini resident to welcome the delegates and visitors who will in Durban. We must treat them well and give them the warmest welcome. We are looking forward to a successful gathering.

August 23
Women are capable and strong

AS THE month of August draws to an end and the curtain is closed on Women’s Month, I urge you to continue to have discussions around challenges facing women and young girls. The issues that have been highlighted this month have not and will not be resolved overnight. We need continued awareness and dialogue around issues of femicide, rape, domestic abuse and inequality among others to ensure that we as a nation actively work towards improving the lives of women.

As the first female mayor in eThekwini I believe it is pertinent to continue to raise awareness around these issues. An example we can all learn from both as women and men is that of a young liberation solider, Phila Ndwandwe who was also known as Zandile or Zandi. She was part of the Natal Machinery of Umkhonto we Sizwe operating from Swaziland. “Brave. Very, very brave,” are the words used to describe Ndwandwe by one of the men who murdered her.

She was a dental therapy student when she was recruited by the ANC in 1985 and was living in exile Swaziland when apartheid police abducted her in 1988. They hoped that she would be an informer.

This young woman had just given birth to her first son and was breastfeeding him when she was kidnapped. She was stripped naked and beaten repeatedly. She made a pair of panties for herself out of a plastic bag. But despite the intense brutality she endured, as one of her killers later told the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), she simply refused to talk. Unable to turn her, it was decided that she would be killed. And blindfolded and naked she was hit over the head and then shot while unconscious. She was buried naked and her body covered with lime and a plastic sheet.

Her body was discovered after her killers disclosed what they had done to the TRC and received amnesty. Her parents were left broken by the realisation that they had been living 10 kilometers from where their child was buried. Ndwandwe’s son, at the age of nine, attended the funeral of a mother he had never known. She was an extraordinary human being. Today, an artwork hangs on the walls of the Constitutional Court depicting a beautiful blue dress, made of plastic, floating. It is a bitterly painful tribute to Phila Ndwandwe, who spent her last days naked and battered yet unbroken.

She was 23 years old when she was murdered and remains an inspiration to many young women. She is a true testament that women are capable and strong. Let us all be inspired by her strength.

August 13
Speak out against gender-based violence

​I WAS devastated to learn that a young university student recently committed suicide after being raped earlier this year. This has yet again cast the spotlight on gender-based violence which is plaguing our nation.

As the nation mourns the loss of a young life with so much potential, it has firmly thrust the somewhat “taboo” topic of gender-based violence into focal point. August is a special month as we commemorate and celebrate women during Women’s Month. I am fully aware that much work needs to be done for equality to be achieved in society.

Women have a voice and they are using it, which was aptly demonstrated by the Women’s March held on 1 August in the City. I was among the women who took a stand saying “Enough is enough”. This is a significant time for all women to reflect on and celebrate the great gains brought about bydemocracy. I urge you to use this month to mobilise society and build partnerships to decisively address key issues facing women and girls, particularly gender-based violence, women’s economic empowerment, access to land, harmful practices and other sectorial issues in the context of the National Development Plan. It is befitting to mention an award that I received earlier this month as it is important as women to celebrate each other’s successes.

I am grateful for the award bestowed on me at the Rising Sun Women’s Award Breakfast as the Mayor of eThekwini Municipality as well as the patron of the Mama Zandile Gumede Foundation. It is indeed a great honour and I am humbled by the recognition. It was an unexpected yet welcome surprise to be honoured by local community media. It is heartening to see that people are cognisant of the wonderful work we are doing in the City.

Also, to the Rising Sun publishers, I salute you for honouring women in the various other categories at the awards. Too often, despite the wonderful work women are doing, society continues to write about men. In cases where women have broken the glass ceiling, they are found to be working twice as hard to consistently “exceed performance expectations” in male dominated industries. This must change. We have seem so many women influence society and play a hand in achieving the democracy we all enjoy today. We have the likes of Mama Winnie Mandela, Albertina Sisulu, Lilian Ngoyi, Fatima Meer, Dorothy Nyembe, Phyllis Naidoo and many others to thank for this. So I urge you, let us continue to honour and support all women this month and every month going forward.

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