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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
May 16
City working tirelessly to restore basic services

FROM the onset, let me take this opportunity and apologise profusely to all our residents and the business community, for the unprecedented inconvenience caused by the illegal strike. I am grateful that we have finally reached an amicable solution that defused the impasse which was a bone of contention, between the employer and employees.

We are fully aware that in certain parts of the City garbage is still uncollected but we are working very hard to clear the backlog, prioritising life threatening solid waste in the inner-city and residential areas. I regret that the illegal industrial action was characterised by numerous acts of sabotage, leaving some residents without water or lights. Through private contractors we tried our level best to have these indispensable basic services restored expeditiously. I vow that as a political head, I will pull all the stops to ensure that any industrial action of this nature is prevented.

Our employees do have a democratic right to strike, but within the parameters of the law, and devoid of any form of violence and should not infringe the rights of other citizens. The behaviour of our employees was unbecoming. We did not expect that they would stoop so low and use Municipal resources to block roads. It was disturbing to see Municipal trucks laden with sand and rubbish, driven to the CBD and off loaded.

No amount of grievances can justify this barbaric behaviour. No right thinking citizen who love their country would dare to blockade the N3, a motorway that is the backbone of the country’s economy. I condemn this behaviour because it happened while negotiations were underway. The damage that was caused is estimated to be over R5 million, an amount of money that would have gone to service delivery. We have since taken a position to the effect that the union concerned will have to foot the bill. Employees found to have broken the law will have to account for their actions.

A big thank you to all delegates that attended the recent Africa Tourism Indaba at the ICC. We are very grateful that as the City our preparations for this spectacular event enabled us to meet the needs of all who attended. Let me extend my gratitude to all our residents who heeded our call to vote in the recent general elections. In as much as our Municipality has recorded a decreased voter turnout, we commend all those who saw it so imperative to exercise their democratic right.

It would be amiss of me not to thank all political parties for the maturity they have exhibited, and congratulations to those who have representatives at both provincial and national legislatures. To those due to be sworn in, be mindful that in as much as we have made tremendous strides to usher in a better life for all, we still have a long way to go to rid our country of the vestiges of apartheid.

May 06
Lend a helping hand to flood victims

THE recent torrential rains that have left a trail of damage in our Municipality, indicate quite clearly that our planet is warming at an alarming rate. The death toll is now above 70 and I would like to send my heartfelt condolences to all families whose loved ones perished in these rains.

It would be amiss of me not to extend my gratitude to our disaster management teams who had their hands full offering much needed help to our helpless residents. The search and rescue teams worked very hard combing through the rumble in their desperate quest to retrieve bodies buried underneath.

How can we forget NGO’s and other good Samaritans who went all out to lend a hand to scores of our people who were in need? From this human gesture, all of us should draw lessons and if we could continue doing so, our country would be way much better than yesterday. We have already met with our province’s executive and we have reported to them that our Municipality should be declared a disaster area. This meeting came hot on the heels of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s visit. The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu also came down with two trucks laden with relief aid.

The president made an undertaking that treasury will make funds available for us to deal with the aftermath of the disaster. The damage is estimated to be close to R700 million. We would like to sincerely apologise to all our residents for the disruption of the provision of basic services as result of this state of affairs. We are appealing to everyone to partner with us in helping the victims of this calamity.

This may be largely in the form of nonperishable food, sanitary towels, bottled water, clothes, blankets etc. Those willing to help are requested to deposit relief aid at the SABC offices at 100 KE Masinga road. While we were still licking wounds from this disaster, I was very disturbed by our workers who decided embark on an illegal industrial action at our various Water and Water Waste Depots. This happened while our City opened its doors for negotiations. This has resulted in many residents being without water for days. This is unacceptable because our employees are fully aware of internal processes that they should exhaust in the event of grievances than violent means.

On 8 May, I appeal to all our residents to go and vote. This is one of the most important general elections in the history of our country coinciding with the celebrations of 25 years of democracy. Let us be mindful of the fact that the right to vote did not come on a silver platter. Thousands lost their lives or us to be where we are today. To honour such sacrifice it is of paramount importance that we all vote in every election.

April 23
Let these Easter holidays be road carnage free

THE Easter Weekend is upon us and as a result, South Africans in their large numbers will undertake various journeys to religious pilgrimages, holidays with others conducting their routine business activities.

These holidays are very sacred to the Christian faith. As the City we are grateful to have multitudes of South Africans making Durban their home this time of the year. It is why without fail; we pull all the stops to ensure that we are in a position to meet the needs of our visitors unwaveringly. As a leader, I am extremely concerned about accidents that happen on our roads during holidays. This state of affairs on our roads is unacceptable and it must be dealt with aggressively.

It is so rampant that as the public we have become so used to it. It is worrying because government spends millions on road safety campaigns but our province by virtue of being a holiday destination, continues to account for a substantial number of road deaths. We have just emerged from Human Rights month and I think it is high time that we elevate road safety high on the agenda as a human rights issue. What we together did to apartheid must be repeated to road carnages on the country’s roads.

April is one of the important months in the history of the republic as it was on 27 April 1994 when black South Africans voted for the first time. The day was deservedly declared Freedom Day. We are very grateful that our City is hosting the provincial leg of Freedom Day celebrations. This will take place at King Zwelithini Stadium in uMlazi and the key note address is expected to be delivered by Premier Willies Mchunu. Let us spread the word and mobilise as many people as possible to fill up the stadium. It is a must that every South African must celebrate this day for it saved our country that was pushed closer to the precipice by the old order. Had it not been for that day, this country would today be a pinnacle of instability.

To say thank you to all freedom fighters living and departed, all of us who are registered to vote, must do so on 8 May. As the City we are noting the concerns raised by our residents with regard to proposed increase on our tariffs. Indeed, our residents have a reason to be aggrieved but the city is left with no option but to make these proposals. We should all be mindful of the fact that for instance, we buy water from uMngeni Water while we are supplied electricity by Eskom. Both these companies have increased their prices. As result the City’s failure to hike tariffs, could sound its death knell.

The 2019/20 budget hearings, where these issues are going to be dissected, have already commenced. We urge residents to make their voices heard by participating in the consultative meetings. I would like to wish you all pleasant Easter holidays.

April 08
Displacement of foreign nationals not xenophobic

​WHEN news broke of “xenophobic” attacks in the City, I personally visited the area to gauge what transpired. I was distressed to see women and children homeless and temporarily accommodated in a shelter.

The briefing I received from officials and police was emphatic that it was not xenophobia. The violence was triggered by a criminal act by a Malawian national which incensed South Africans resulting in a confrontation. Fearful, the Malawians fled and sought refuge at a nearby police station. There was another incident where foreign shop owners were allegedly robbed at gunpoint at their shops, resulting in two South Africans sustaining gunshot injuries.

I am grateful that our efforts to reintegrate those displaced back into the communities from which they fled, have been successful. I would like to extend my gratitude to community leaders who came on board to assist. Working with the Malawian High Commissioner, we are closely monitoring the situation.

Sadly, while we were celebrating this reintegration, news broke that a young man was allegedly stabbed to death by foreign nationals in uMlazi. It is alleged that the enraged community started to attack foreign shop owners in the area in retaliation. The motive for the murder is unclear.

However, we must not forget that Africans paid a hefty price for our freedom and we are indebted to many African states who opened their countries to us during apartheid. There are numerous incidents where the South African Defence Force (SADF), Special Forces and the Security Branch raided neighboring countries in pursuit of freedom fighters. How can we forget the raid in Gabarone in Botswana on 14 June 1985 where the SADF illegally crossed into the country and attacked the offices of Umkhonto we Sizwe mowing down 12 people including women and children. Only five of the victims were members of the ANC.

On 9 December 1982, the SADF illegally entered Lesotho where they sprayed a cluster of houses on the outskirts of Maseru with bullets. By morning, 42 people were dead with only 30 of them believed to be members of the ANC. The remainder were Basotho nationals including women and children. These are just two of the horrific incidents that occurred in neighbouring countries. And despite the violence ravaged against them, they did not order us to leave their countries. Instead their support grew stronger.

There has to be continued dialogue until we reach an amicable solution that will enable us to maintain stability in our communities and coexist peacefully. I urge you all to join our crusade for peace.

March 25
Coming together during natural disasters

LET me take this opportunity to send my heartfelt condolences to the families that lost loved ones during the heavy rains experienced recently which triggered flooding in the northern parts of the City. Our hearts also go out to the families of the three school children who lost their lives while crossing the street in Newlands.

The City is looking into ways to ensure motorists reduce their speed on that stretch of road. We are a caring City and as such we have taken the decision to assist the bereaved families, who lost family members during the flooding, with the burial of their loved ones. We will also be providing them with food hampers. We believe in Ubuntu and have extended a helping hand to these families in need.

Severe flooding was experienced in many areas north of the City especially in KwaMashu where a number of houses were flooded. This resulted in furniture, food and many other household items being damaged. I would like to commend all our employees for the sterling work they have done to offer much needed relief aid to victims. We are certain that our relief efforts have provided much needed welfare to those affected.

We would also like to thank the MEC of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube for the distinguished leadership she has provided in this regard during this trying time. It is important to note that the widespread flooding was a result of irresponsible behaviour by some who dispose of waste into the drainage system. This behaviour needs to stop as we are spending resources trying to rid our stormwater system of this waste.

I urge everyone to join the crusade against dumping solid waste into our drainage system. We must teach our children this from a young age so that they grow with this knowledge into responsible and civic-minded adults. In conclusion, I would like to reiterate the call made by national government to use electricity sparingly. The country is currently experiencing widespread load shedding and we all need to work together to confront this challenge.

I need to add that compounding our woes, is that amidst this challenge electricity is being stolen. We have many in our communities who can afford to pay for electricity but choose not to, instead opting to steal it and then abuse it as they know someone else will be footing the bill.

If we do not work together to nip this illicit behaviour in the bud, our country will continue to be plagued by blackouts. Let us be good residents by saving electricity and paying for that which we use.

March 08
Durban featured prominently in SOPA

​THE recent State of the Province Address (SOPA) by Premier Willies Mchunu was empowering for the entire province as he gave an account of how KwaZulu-Natal has fared over the past five years while highlighting achievements made since 1994. We are proud that our City was positively mentioned on numerous occasions during the address.

Our City by virtue of being the economic hub of the province, continues to attract a large number of people from rural areas resulting in rapid urbanisation. We are elated that Premier Mchunu has commended eThekwini Municipality for the Cornubia Housing Project which comprises of 25 000 housing units. Through this project, we have restored the dignity of thousands of people who did not qualify for low cost housing but also were unable to secure home loans. We have committed to move with speed to build 4 000 houses and have already spent millions purchasing land in this regard.

It was thrilling to hear Macingwane touching on the international tourism arrival figures that have sky rocketed. This is largely thanks to our efforts of expanding direct air access to Durban’s King Shaka International Airport. In the past, direct access to our City was only through Emirates and Air Mauritius.

Today we have more than five international airlines flying directly to us including Air Namibia, Turkish Airlines, Qatar and British Airways. According to the Premier, the London to Durban route saw arrivals at King Shaka growing by an incredible 42 percent in just two months.

SOPA also brought to our attention that the latest Transnet freight projections indicate that despite its expansion projects of docking and handling facilities in the harbour, there is a likelihood that it could reach its saturation point in 2035. The Cato Ridge Intermodal Freight and Logistics Hub appears to be the only solution available. The private sector, government and other stakeholders have already commenced engagements in this regard. This will definitely improve the movement of goods and promote industrial development along the Durban – Free State – Gauteng corridor.

Once this project has taken off, it will result in thousands of job opportunities. We are also thrilled at the significant milestone in health infrastructure in the form of Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme Memorial Hospital. The construction of this world-class facility is at an advanced stage. Situated near the Bridge City
Mall, it is the first Regional Hospital to be built in the province post 1994.

In conclusion, I would like to wish Macingwane good health and a happy retirement. He has been a fountain of wisdom that has nurtured many leaders in the province. It is therefore incumbent on all leadership to emulate him as we continue to grow South Africa.

February 22
Family planning key to prevent abandoned babies

THIS past week has been quite unpleasant for the City as numerous incidents have left us reeling. We are still shocked by the death of six people on board a fishing vessel docked at our port. Throughout the night, rescuers braved the raging inferno that engulfed the fishing boat and made the gruesome discovery of the bodies at around 2am on 15 February.

Three young men also lost their lives recently when a boundary wall collapsed on them at Isiphingo Beach. They were doing construction work when the tragedy occurred. The City is still awaiting a full report of the incident. I would like to take this opportunity to send my heartfelt condolences to their families. An incident that left the City reeling was the dramatic three hour rescue of a baby girl trapped in a stormwater drain. I thank the man who heard the baby’s cry and took it upon himself to investigate and later sound the alarm that resulted in the baby being saved.

Thankfully she is doing well. We are amazed at her resilience and fighting spirit. Our emergency services deserve a pat on the back for their efforts to painstakingly retrieve the baby from the pipe unhurt. A few days after that incident, nurses at King Edward VIII Hospital made the discovery of a six-day old premature baby inside a potentially hazardous medical waste bin. Nurses said used needles, blood and human tissue are disposed of in the bin which was due to be collected the following day. As a leader, mother and grandmother, I make a passionate plea to everyone to talk to their children on how to prevent unplanned pregnancies. Clearly as parents and government, we have not done enough to educate and inform the public about family planning. These incidents should be a wake-up call to all of us to continue to spread the word that contraceptives are available free-of-charge at our healthcare facilities.

Poor family planning does not only result in unwanted pregnancies, it also breeds grinding poverty, bearing in mind that the country’s economy continues to stagnate. Research has shown that a number of young people living on the streets have been driven away from their homes by structural reasons such as poverty. The latter could be minimised by subscribing to the concept of family planning. Following these incidents, I have instructed City Health officials to ensure that nurses are not judgemental when young people come to them seeking help.

They must unwaveringly educate and inform the public, including the youth, about family planning and options available for unwanted pregnancies. Education and information, I believe will help us mitigate incidents of babies being dumped in bins or left in parks.

February 12
​Great strides made in refuse collection backlog
LET me take this opportunity to sincerely apologise to all residents who have been affected by the disruption of refuse collection. The welfare and health of all residents is a priority and we endeavour to meet this need constantly. It is important for me to inform the public that we are currently in discussions with the main contractor responsible for refuse removal in areas that have been affected.

We hope to resolve issues that have impeded this service. We have mobilised internal resources to collect refuse in all affected areas. We are extremely happy with the progress made to date and we thank residents for bearing with us during this process. We are however, disappointed with the intimidation of our employees who were collecting refuse in uMlazi. The lives of employees working at Sizakala Centres in the same area were also threatened resulting in these facilities being closed. This left the City with no choice but to deploy the Metro Police to escort refuse removal trucks as no amount of intimidation will be a deterrent in our endeavour to serve our people.

I am very concerned about the bad habit of destroying Municipal property during protests. A water tanker worth over R1 million was petrol bombed recently with the driver narrowly escaping. As if that was not enough, a Durban Transport bus was also set a light in Sydenham allegedly by members of the community who were demanding to be employed at King Dinuzulu Hospital.

This type of behaviour must come to an end as it impacts severely on service delivery and is tantamount to treason. We are working hard to attract much needed investment to our City and it is very disheartening to have our communities working against us. Following this undesirable situation, we have resolved that there has to be a paradigm shift with our law enforcement agencies to maintain law and order.

The stance that we have taken has resulted to close to 60 people being arrested recently for public violence and damage to property. We are sending a clear message to all would-be violent protesters that dire consequences are awaiting them in the event of any irresponsible behaviour. I need to stress that we are not infringing the inalienable constitutional right of the public to protest when they are unhappy. We are simply advocating for peaceful protests devoid of damage to property. It is our responsibility as government to guard against lawlessness and protect law abiding citizens.

Furthermore, we urge leaders of different political formations to refrain from inciting desperate people to embark on land grabs. It is unlawful and it damages the image of our City.
January 24
Tourists inject R4.5 billion in eThekwini

LET me express my heartfelt gratitude to eThekwini residents for their unwavering hospitality exhibited during the recent summer holidays. This past festive season, we indeed exceeded all expectations and I am grateful scores of our people benefi ted directly and indirectly.

The City has raked in almost 5 billion which is a considerable amount in contrast with last year. It would be amiss of me not to thank the leadership of the African National Congress (ANC) for choosing our City to celebrate its 107th birthday. Had it not been for the warmth of our people, this would not have happened.

At the beginning of the year, we worked very hard to market the Durban. We also ensured that our infrastructure in December was in a position to meet the needs of holiday makers unceasingly. Like in every year, team eThekwini Municipality did not disappoint. Indeed, they have done an astronomical job. Plans are now afoot to ensure that we permanently cement our place as Mzansi’s mecca of tourism.

Our approach moving forward is going to be aggressive. Working together, we will definitely clear any hurdle that could impede tourists to visit our City. We deserve a pat in the back in that we took what most people consider to be one of our country’s failings, and turned it into something that has become a money spinner for our economy and that is township tourism. Our visitors are no longer confined to hotels, malls, beaches and game parks. They now have a choice to visit our townships and our ordinary people are making huge financial gains. It has become a norm that most visitors do not to go back without visiting hangout spots like Max’s Lifestyle and Eyadini Lounge. Families neighbouring these establishments also make a living by charging visitors for parking in their yard. It is therefore of paramount importance that we continue to be hospitable and protect our tourists because tourism is indeed our gold.

In May this year, our country will be having general elections. I would like to urge all of you to take advantage of this weekend as the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) will open all voting stations for registration. It will also be an opportunity to check if your details are still correct. Those who have relocated elsewhere in the City should visit a voting station near them to furnish the IEC with their addresses. If you are not registered and have no address, you will not be eligible to vote. On Election Day, I call upon everyone to go to the polls and exercise your inalienable democratic right of choosing a political formation of your choice to lead this country. We must not forget that the fruits of democracy that we are enjoying today did not come for free.

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.

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