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eThekwini Municipality > City Government > Council > City Mayor > Blog
May 23
Social relief for deserving residents

THE unrelenting Covid-19 pandemic is laying bare the truth that income inequality continues to be a tightening noose around our country’s neck. We are still regarded as the most unequal society in the world.

Compounding our woes is a sad reality that the coronavirus has thrown a spanner in the works on the government endeavours to aggressively bridge the gap between the rich and poor. Had it not been for our government’s speed in rolling out basic services to former disadvantaged communities and our social security safety net, we would not have had a pedestal to launch our initiatives to flatten the curve of this virus. The announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa of social relief interventions for those on social security programmes, was a quantum leap forward in cushioning the poor.

These developments are nothing but a testimony to the fact that ours is a caring government. To compliment these interventions from the national government, our City has set aside R66 million solely to meet the needs for the poor. I have visited our food banks and I am happy with the quality of food we are distributing to needy residents. We have profiled households in 110 wards where 1000 households are going to benefit from this social relief.

We have also ensured that we follow supply chain processes to guard against unscrupulous service providers, who may see this as an opportunity to maximise profit, at the expense of the poor. Incidents that have been reported in certain parts of the country where some leaders have been accused of stealing food parcels destined for the poor, must be condemned.

If these incidents are true, those responsible must face the full might of the law. Their unlawful conduct is tantamount to spitting on the faces of those who cannot help themselves and depend on the state to make ends meet.

In eThekwini, we have read the riot act to all those tasked with distributing food including our councillors to treat all our people with dignity and fairness. We are not expecting anyone to do favours for their relatives and those from their political formations. We have audited households that are eligible for this relief and they sign next to their identity and contact details each time they receive this aid.

The City will also take it upon itself that it calls beneficiaries randomly to ascertain that indeed they do receive what is due to them. We vow to pull all the stops to ensure that our food distribution programme, is corruption free. With our City being declared the epicentre of the virus in the province, I urge everyone to stay at home and adhere to the regulations of lockdown. Let us be mindful that regulations are solely aimed at flattening the curve to the benefit of all of us.

I would like to thank all NGOs and individuals that have heeded our call to lend a helping hand. When we continue to pull together, we will triumph over this disease.

March 20
City joins crusade against the spread of coronavirus

THE Head of State, President Cyril Ramaphosa, declared a national state of emergency, in his bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. He gave South Africa the marching orders and as the City we are pulling out all stops to prevent this scourge from spreading.

It was shocking to learn that within a short space of time, it has infected 116 people countrywide. This is a clear indication that if we do not change our behaviour, it could be worse. We are a City that accounts for a substantial number of people living in KwaZulu-Natal, as a result there must be a serious paradigm shift in the manner with which we deal with issues of hygiene.

This is why, at all entrances of Municipal buildings, we have sanitising agents. We urge all our employees and those visiting us to ensure that their hands are sanitised. Not all of us will always be able to have sanitisers, but washing our hands thoroughly with soap, would make a huge difference.

We were due to have our State of the City Address this month. We have postponed it until further notice. The President made it clear when he was addressing the nation that gatherings of more than 100 people should be aborted, for if they are not, they could be hotbeds for the spread of this disease.

This is not aimed at causing panic, but is a proactive measure because the welfare of all our stakeholders remains a priority. Under no circumstances shall we do what is antithetical to the position of our government, hence we have taken this position as the City.

The City will embark on an aggressive communication campaign to educate and inform residents of the do’s and don’ts about this scourge. Led by our provincial government, we will ensure that information in this regard is easily accessible. We call upon members of the media, who are our valuable stakeholders, to lend a hand in our endeavour to disseminate information to the public.

I want to thank all our healthcare workers for the good work that they are doing. They must be always be mindful that our lives are in their hands.

March 05
City continues to accelerate service delivery

THE past couple of weeks have been quite eventful in the Municipality as we continue to effect meaningful change to the lives of our people. We recently demonstrated that the provision of safe, affordable and reliable transport is no longer a pipe dream when we officially handed over 50 of the 150 new bus fleet to eThekwini residents.

It is a matter of public record that our current bus fleet is ageing and experiences technical challenges on the road. This creates a huge inconvenience to commuters, particularly workers and learners as they are unable to reach their destinations on time. We are therefore optimistic that this new fleet will change the face of our public transport and contribute to the economic growth of our City.

Transport is the lifeblood of every economy and for us to be able to compete with other cities of the world, we must continue to invest in public transport. On 1 March, we fulfilled the commitment we made to the people who reside in the Isiphingo Transit Camp last year in October when we launched the Kanku housing project. Since 1994, the ANC government has been seized with the task of building houses for our people to restore their dignity. This project, which will see the construction of 360 residential units, will change the lives of the beneficiaries who have lived in the transit camp for more than 10 years.

As a caring government, we will ensure that these housing units have waterborne sewage, water and electricity as well as roads and stormwater infrastructure. We are committed to ensure that all beneficiaries move into their houses by December. These beneficiaries will be joining over 14 million people who have received houses from the ANC government since 1994. The residents of eThekwini will recall that when we were elected into office in September last year, we committed ourselves to accelerate service delivery.

We are pleased that our Operation Sukuma Sakhe Mayoral Outreach Programme is gaining traction in our communities and it is proving to be the right vehicle to fast track service delivery. Since October last year, we have been able to visit six zones and by the end of July this year, we will have reached all 17 zones and 110 wards making up eThekwini Municipality. With this programme, we are assessing the level of service delivery in our communities and making necessary interventions on the spot where there are challenges. We want to give the assurance that this leadership will not rest on its laurels until there is meaningful change in the lives of the people of eThekwini.

February 21
Farewell Dr. Joseph Shabalala

LEARNED with sadness the news of the untimely death of music icon and founder of internationally acclaimed group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Dr Joseph Shabalala. I echo the sentiments of milllions of people in saying that the province, country and world has indeed lost a giant.

Dr Shabalala and his isicathamiya group serenaded our souls with music for over six decades and his voice will forever live on. Upon hearing of his passing, I, together with members of the City’s Executive Committee visited Dr Shabalala’s family in Ladysmith to convey our condolences. We also extend our condolences to the ardent fans of the multiple Grammy Award winning group and the entire music fraternity.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, particularly his wife, children and grandchildren during this time of bereavement. Rest well legend. You truly have left an indelible mark. The recent scourge of violent protests which have been wreaking havoc on tertiary institutions across the province has become worrisome. Violence is never the answer. Dialogue is a more viable option to reach an amicable solution. As a leader and a parent myself, I appeal for a violent and protest free 2020.

The past five years have been immensely challenging for our country’s institutions of higher learning. We have seen students and police sustaining serious injuries while some students have been arrested. By virtue of being the only metro in the province, eThekwini Municipality is home to a sizeable number of tertiary institutions. Therefore, any unrest that occurs at tertiary institutions has a negative effect on the stability of the Municipality and the economy. While protesting is a right enshrined in the Constitution, it should not be taken for granted.

We should always be mindful that many sacrificed their lives for us to enjoy these inalienable rights. We have seen violent scenes that have became synonymous with our universities unfolding. This harms our image as a country and City as an investment destination. It is therefore important that when we demonstrate, we do so peacefully. According to the Department of Higher Education, since the wave of the “Fees Must Fall” protests, a trail of damage left from the often violent protests is close to R1 billion with the University of KwaZulu-Natal alone having to fork out over R100 million for
repairs for damaged infrastructure.

It has also become clear that violent protests have become the norm for young people. Even genuine grievances are often obscured by the wave of violence. I appeal to all student formations, irrespective of their political persuasion, to embrace dialogue as an effective tool to reach an amicable solution.
February 10
City excels in service delivery and financial management

ETHEKWINI Municipality has performed well over the past financial year according to the 2018/19 Annual Report. The City has delivered houses, electrified homes and provided water to residents despite numerous challenges including the poor growth of revenue and rapid urbanisation.

The City leadership is committed to accelerating service delivery and ensuring an improved standard of life for all. The City’s service delivery performance is contained in the 2018/19 Annual Report which reflects the City’s performance over the past financial year. It provides a detailed account of service delivery achievements, challenges and consolidated annual financial statements. The report is open for comment until 29 February 2020.

The Municipality received an unqualified audit report for the 2018/19 financial year and continues to be in a strong and stable financial position underpinned mainly by a good cash collection and cost coverage rate, growth in revenue, moderate gearing and strong liquidity. The Municipality continued its impressive track record in terms of service delivery with a capital spend of R4.951 billion, which is 75 percent of the approved capital budget.

The electricity loss in distribution decreased to 6.48 percent in 2018/2019 from 7.1 percent previously. Strategies are in place to reduce water and electricity losses in distribution further. The City supplies electricity to more than 740 000 customers covering 2 000 kms and a weekly refuse removal service is provided to 1 063 624 households.

Highlights of the Annual Report indicate that the Municipality has delivered to the poorest of the poor. The City has successfully provided free basic electricity to 109 749 indigent households. Notwithstanding the shortage of land to build on, the City has ensured that the 200 000 houses built since 1994 are not remote from centres of economic activity.

The Annual Report is now open for public comment. The comments
received from this process also inform the Integrated Development
Plan and the budgets for upcoming fi nancial years.The Annual
Report is available on the Municipality’s website at www.durban.gov.
za. It is also available at Sizakala Centres and libraries. Members of
the public are invited to read the report and provide feedback to Noky
Nyasulu by emailing noky.nyasulu@durban.gov.za

January 23
100 days in office for new leadership

DECEMBER 16, 2019 marked 100 days since the new leadership of eThekwini Municipality took office. It was in September 5, 2019 that the African National Congress and the people of eThekwini gave us a mandate to lead this Municipality until the next local government elections in 2021.

We have vowed that in the next two years we will usher in a new era of change and renewal. We came into office understanding the mammoth task ahead, acutely aware that it will take bold and decisive leadership to turn this Municipality around. Since we took office, we have hit the ground running, ensuring that the people of eThekwini received improved and quality services. We committed ourselves to building on the Operation Sukuma Sakhe (OSS) programme to bring government services closer to the people.

EThekwini residents should not always come to City Hall to look for services, but the elected leadership as well as officials, should be found in communities. Already, we have been to three zones interacting with communities and intervening where there are service delivery challenges. This OSS Mayoral Outreach Programme sees the City leadership visiting at least 12 Municipal wards monthly. By the end of July this year, we would have visited all 110 wards and 17 zones in eThekwini.

Plans have been put in place to address challenges raised by the auditor-general of irregular expenditure. We have made it clear to the administration that non adherence to the principles of Accountability and clean governance will not be tolerated. In an effort to build an economy that serves all eThekwini residents, we have put measures in place to create a positive investor climate.

The Municipality is currently implementing plans to ensure that there is no interruption of water and electricity supply. Working with other law enforcement agencies, we have identified crime hot spots in the City and developed an integrated safety plan. A great deal has been done to address the challenge of homelessness and working with non-government organisations, we have identified two sites that are going to be utilised to accommodate homeless people.

The programme of rejuvenating the inner-city is also gaining momentum. We have had fruitful engagements with the owners of 80 bad buildings in the City and have outlined our plans to renovate them. EThekwini remains a preferred tourism destination and during the 100 days we have developed a plan to create new tourism corridors in the township and rural areas. We are pleased that during this short time, the new leadership, working with all stakeholders, has been able to stabilize the City and people are beginning to regain confidence in the Municipality.

December 17
All systems go for the festive season

IT is that time of the year, when our City readies itself to welcome over a million visitors. Some have made eThekwini their home during the summer holidays while for others, it will be their first time experiencing the warmth of Durban. To our tourists, turned ambassadors, we thank you for marketing the City as this brings increased revenue. The tourism sector generates in excess of R1 billion each year during the festive period from the spend at our hotels, restaurants and eateries in our townships. We are grateful that much needed job opportunities are created and the City’s youth benefit greatly.

We also launched the City’s new promenade which is expected to open floodgates for multi-billion rands of investment into the Point Water Front development precinct. It is thrilling that this festive season, our residents and visitors will, for the first-time, cycle or walk for more than eight kilometres from the harbour mouth to Blue Lagoon with ease. We are indeed very proud that in Africa, we are the only City to have one of the world’s longest tourist gem.

Notwithstanding this achievement, crime remains a noose around our neck as a City and country. As with previous festive seasons, the safety of our residents and visitors will remain our priority. Bearing testimony to this is the fact that we will be deploying more Metro Police throughout the City and this will also be strengthened with the presence of SAPS in large numbers. We have added advanced CCTV cameras on the beachfront precinct and other crime hotspots that will help us identify the faces of everyone as well as number plates Drones will be operated within the ambit of aviation protocols which will assist us to have a bird’s eye view of all activities at the beach-front.

It would be amiss of me not to urge parents to ensure that their children get their wrist bands immediately when they arrive at the beachfront from clearly identifiable child-minders. These bands would contain contact details of parents or guardians. This has proven to be significantly helpful to us in previous years to reunite kids with their loved ones. About 26 child-minders will be on duty at our beaches from 6am to 6:30pm. We urge everyone to always respect our law enforcement agencies and life guards. We appeal to every-one to swim between these times and where there are lifeguards.

The consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited on our beaches and any-one found to be consuming alcohol would face the full might of the law. Metro Police will also enforce our traffic management plan. The City will once again implement the park ‘n ride system that will be based at the Old Drive-in Site. Our visitors will then be ferried to the beach via shuttles and no mini buses will be allowed on the beachfront.

I would like to welcome all our visitors to our beautiful City. Rest assured that we will pull out all the stops to meet your needs. Remember, safety is a two-way street. Our visitors and residents must effectively guard their belongings. To our residents, let us continue to be hospitable and always be mindful that tourism is our gold and by virtue of being residents of this City, we are its ambassadors.
November 29
Strengthening the link between culture and transportation
NE of the highlights of the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) World Summit was the launch of the Creative Mobilities Initiative. The initiative is an international alliance pledge to strengthen the link and synergies between people, culture and mobility with sustainable development at the core, as leaders plan cities of the future.

Attended by about 3 000 delegates from around the world, the UCLG summit is considered the world’s largest gathering of local and regional leaders and stakeholders involved in local affairs. Preceding the launch, participants shared ideas and were introduced to tools and methods by experts which local and regional government can use to create people-centred transportation solutions.

Local and international panellists addressed some of the challenges and solutions around mobility, culture, urban and territorial strategic planning through innovative and multi-disciplinary perspectives. Robust discussions also centred on how digital technology can bridge urban and rural realities and promoting green energies in the fight against climate change.

Therefore, the summit was a resounding success as it stimulated though-provoking dialogues and offered impactful solutions to challenges faced by world leaders. On the closing night of the summit, the Mayor of Al Hoceima, in Morocco, Mohamed Boudra was elected as the new president of the UCLG.

The summit also saw the signing of UCLG’s Durban Political Declaration whereby the City recognised that the goals of Agenda 2030 are paving the way towards a new social contract, and that local ownership will be at the forefront of humanity’s future.

The declaration states that transformational change will be done at a local level and that communities in relation with their territories, need to be at the centre of decision-making to localise meaningful achievement in the global agendas and ensure a decent life and a sustainable future for the next generations.

It has indeed been an honour to host this large gathering of mayors, presidents of associations, councillors and local and regional practitioners, deliberating on the sustainability and future of our cities.We would also like to extend our appreciation to all the delegates for the valuable contributions made throughout the congress. We have no doubt that their inputs will contribute immensely in the new international agenda for inclusive and sustainable development.
November 18
New public transport era draws closer

A NEW dawn for the City’s integrated public transport network is fast approaching and excitement is mounting as GO! Durban draws closer to the operational stage. As part of an educational drive ahead of the live date, eThekwini Transport Authority (ETA) hosted a “I am Go Show” exhibition at the Durban Exhibition Centre for internal Municipal units to build capacity and expose officials to the operation. Commuters were also in attendance.

GO! Durban is set to provide a flexible, safe, cost-effective and seamless transport experience for eThekwini residents. During the exhibition, attendees were educated about the system’s features, including ticket stations and access control. They were also trained on how to access the feeder facility which will act as shuttle service, picking up and dropping off nearby passengers to and from the station to ensure their safety. Other features include a surveillance system and the incident management desk that will alert Metro Police about emergencies.

Furthermore, the ground-breaking integrated public transport system boasts top-notch technology that will allow easy access for people with disabilities. This advanced technology includes tactile crossing traffic lights and tactile paving which are able to sense when a wheelchair bound, deaf and
blind person approaches, and automatically gives them right of way.

Exciting times truly lie ahead for Durbanites as this public transport system will make life easier for many residents. An impressive 10 stations are ready to start operating with 22 standard buses and 38 drivers. The service will be available from 4am until 9pm, every six minutes during peak times and every 15 minutes during off-peak times. GO! Durban will unleash numerous opportunities for local businesses and stimulate the City’s economy. There will be less congestion on the road, extended service and dedicated security teams.

In a concerted effort to clean up Durban, I together with members of the Executive Committee and senior Municipal officials recently conducted a walk about in the inner city to assess the level of cleanliness. The walkabout focused on public transport facilities, public toilets and refuse collection.
As the new administration, we have prioritised the revamp of the inner city, as part of our bid to ensure that Durban is clean, safe and visitor friendly. This will not only change the face of the inner city, but will also assist eThekwini retain the current businesses and attract more investors.

We have put a plan in place with clear deadlines to fix all the areas that require immediate invention, including the public ablution facilities and damaged storm water drainage systems. Let us work together to change the face of the inner city.

November 05
City ready to host global officials

ETHEKWINI Municipality is playing host to three international conferences that will see more that 3500 international, regional and local government leaders converge on the City. The conferences; the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) Congress, the Global Parliament of Mayors (GPM) and the African Forum for Urban Safety (AFUS) will run concurrently between 9 and 15 November.

By far the largest of the three is the UCLG Congress, which will be jointly hosted by the South African Local Government Association and eThekwini Municipality between 11 and 15 November where 3000 delegates are expected to attend. Launched in May 2004, the UCLG is the global advocate and representative of democratic local government. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to officially open the summit. Hosting these events will give Durban the opportunity to promote itself, build its reputation as a global City and attract investment to boost business confidence and the economy.

The City is networking with global institutions to improve service delivery and promote learning and sharing. The conferences are expected to have enormous economic benefit to the City, especially in the hospitality industry. The direct visitor spend is projected to be approximately R35 million with the contribution to eThekwini’s GDP expected to be in the region of R64 million, with approximately 182 jobs to be created.

The GPM will take place between 9 and 11 November, with 300 mayors from cities around the world are expected to attend. GPM champions the role that mayors play in addressing key global challenges at a local level. Key topics for discussion will include urban migration, urban security and shaping multilevel governance on a global scale. The AFUS will be held between 10 and 12 November. This gathering brings together 300 leaders from the African continent to discuss issues of urban safety with a focus on gender-based violence and safety of women in cities.

I therefore urge all Durbanites to warmly welcome delegates arriving in our beautiful City for these conferences.

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