23 July 2019
Executive Committee Decisions
The City is acting decisively to address the issue of homelessness. This was supported by a progress report tabled at an Executive Committee meeting held today, 23 July which provided an update on the multi-sectoral task team formed in 2018 to tackle homelessness in the City.
The report, initially tabled at a Security and Emergency Services Committee meeting held on 17 July, stated that the task team was formed to provide a platform for stakeholders within government and non-government sectors to highlight the plight of homeless people and to commit to a solutions-based approach.
The report noted that the Security and Emergency Services Committee received a progress report on the activities of the multi-sectoral task team thus far by the task team chairperson Raymond Perrier.
Six key focus areas have been identified by the task team to adequately deal with the issue of homelessness which include;
• Shelters,
• Targeted services,
• Re-integration,
• Substance Abuse,
• Law enforcement and
• Financing.
The report noted that a comprehensive survey of 4 000 homeless people conducted in the Durban Central Business District by the Human Sciences Research Council in 2016, of which the findings are still very relevant.
Regarding activities undertaken by the task team, the report stated that a stakeholder meeting was held in December 2018 and was attended by over 200 people from a wide range of groups which culminated in various possible initiatives to be prioritised for implementation purposes. Furthermore, a learning exchange in May at which best practices were shared on strategies implemented by the cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town, both of which have delegated units and budgets to address the issue of homelessness, was also held.
The vision of the task team is that Durban belongs to all who live in it, united in diversity. It also recognises that some of the citizens of Durban are homeless, and to be committed to making Durban the most caring and liveable City for homeless people.
The task team comprises of eThekwini officials as well as 13 elected representatives from non-governmental organisations, community-based organisations, faith-based organisations, academia, business and homeless people.
Some of the proposals from the task team include providing a safe open space where people can be guaranteed a safe night’s sleep, providing subsidised shelter for women and children, setting minimum standards for shelters, replacing identity documents often lost during police raids and providing a list of feeding schemes.
Further proposals include targeted services such as providing a venue where possessions can be stored, finding training organisation and employers willing to co-operate, social workers who can build trust with the families of the homeless to effect family reunification, building on the Qalakabusha programme to provide longer periods of personal, psychological and vocational development as well as reviewing law enforcement tactics when dealing with the homeless.
Acting eThekwini Mayor Fawzia Peer said significant progress has been made by the City in dealing with this issue.
She said a drug unit and a crime unit have been established in the Metro Police, as drugs and homelessness are often intrinsically linked.
“The drug unit has had numerous successful drug busts in the City. I am very proud of them and what they have achieved. They need further capacity such as unmarked vehicles to continue their work.”
She said the Safer Cities Unit was the designated unit in the City to deal with homelessness. Acting Mayor Peer said it was the responsibility of the Safer Cities Unit to take some of the proposals from the task team forward to implement.
“This includes the Strollers Building which was recently acquired to accommodate homeless woman and children. A tender will go out soon for a non-governmental organisation to run it. Council has also approved a special purpose vehicle to coordinate funding to deal with this issue of homelessness. We are waiting for another building to accommodate the homeless men in the City. So things are progressing but it takes time to implement as processes have to be followed and all these interventions also require funding,” she added.
The Service Delivery and Budget Implementation Plan (SDBIP) quarterly report for the fourth quarter of the 2018/19 financial year was tabled at an Executive Committee meeting held today, 23 July.
The report indicated the actual results achieved against the targets set in the SDBIP as at 30 June 2019. It noted that a majority of the programmes and projects listed have been achieved or surpassed by the various units. This was done by reviewing the total number of projects due for reporting in the fourth quarter against the number of projects achieved or not achieved.
Plan 1 which is to develop and sustain a spatial, natural and built environment, achieved an unaudited achievement rate of 95.83 percent. Twenty three of the 24 projects were achieved.
Plan 2 which is developing a prosperous, diverse economy and employment creation achieved 98.78 percent with 81 of the 82 projects achieved.
Plan 3 which is creating a quality living environment achieved an unaudited achievement rate of 73.47 percent. Thirty six of the planned 49 projects were achieved.
Plan 4 which is fostering a socially equitable environment achieved an unaudited achievement rate of 82.93 percent which saw 34 of the planned 41 projects achieved.
Plan 5 which is supporting organisational design, human capital development and management achieved an unaudited achievement rate of 100 percent. All 47 projects were achieved.
Plan6A which aims to create a vibrant and creative City which is the foundations of sustainability and social cohesion which achieved an unaudited achievement rate of 93.33 percent. Fourteen of the 15 projects were achieved. Plan 6B which focuses on stadia facilities achieved 100 percent with all seven of the projects achieved.
Plan 7A which focuses on good governance and responsive local government achieved 84 percent (42 of the 50 projects were achieved) while Plan 7B achieved an unaudited achievement rate of 96.64 percent. This saw 53 of the planned 56 projects achieved.
Plan 8 focuses on a financially accountable and sustainable city which achieved 80 percent. This saw 36 of the planned 45 projects achieved.
Acting eThekwini Mayor Fawzia Peer praised the work done by officials. She encouraged them to start implementing plans from the beginning of the new financial year for the 2019/20 SDBIP.
“The work is being done in a good way but energy must be expanded to deal with crime in the City. So I urge officials to work on that as well as tackling irregular expenditure by planning in advance while ensuring service delivery,” she said.
Issued by the eThekwini Municipality’s Acting Head of Communications Mandla Nsele.