ETHEKWINI NEWS FLASH

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

24 November 2015

EThekwini Municipality Executive Committee Decisions

Moses Mabhida Stadium To Intergrate With Durban ICC

The Executive Committee today, 24 November 2015, approved the proposal to integrate Moses Mabhida Stadium under Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC).

Incorporating the stadium under the ICC was considered the most appropriate governance and management model as it would give the opportunity to maximise on all various potential income streams, there would not be a need to establish a new board as the stadium management would answer to the existing ICC board and the integration process could be achieved within existing timelines.

The Executive Committee was mandated by Council to finalise the matter.

The integration was previously brought before the Executive Committee after being referred for consideration by Support Committees. However, two committees namely the Finance and Procurement Committee and the Community and Emergency Services Committee, still had to deliberate on the matter and convened special meetings to urgently address it.

While the Finance and Procurement Committee approved the recommendation, the Community and Emergency Services Committee deferred the matter for discussion at political party caucuses. The next Community and Emergency Services Committee meeting would be held in February 2016 for a decision to be taken.

However, Deputy Mayor Nomvuzo Shabalala said the matter had been delayed unnecessarily which was having a direct effect on employees.

She said if a decision was not taken immediately, staff contracts would have to be extended.

“The delays are unfair to employees and the administration process. Three Committees have supported the proposal, only one did not,” she said.

Nigel Gumede, chairman of the Human Settlement and Infrastructure Committee said the Executive Committee should make a decision as Council mandated them to do so.

NO FOUL PLAY SUSPECTED AT CITY POUND, INVESTIGATION FINDS

A report investigating the cause of a fire at a police pound in Blundell Road, Queensburgh was presented to the Executive Committee today, 24 November 2015.

Over 100 vehicles, which were to be auctioned, were burned in the fire at the Blundell Road vehicle pound earlier this year. The incident was widely reported in the media.

The investigation concluded that no foul play was suspected. The fire originated from an undetermined source of ignition on private property which is situated approximately 150 metres from where the vehicles were held. The fire spread along a path of combustible vegetation on the pound site. 

“This in turn led to the ignition of combustible components on vehicle components ultimately leading to the damage of 100 vehicles”, the report stated.

There were factors that contributed to the spread of fire and damage including the strong winds experienced on the day, a delay in reporting the fire, site topography (vehicles situated closely together) and vehicles which had fuel which was flammable.

The report recommended that the Fire Brigade should be the first to be notified in the case of a fire, that a non-combustible barrier wall be built to prevent fires from outside the site spreading onto the property as well as providing fire hose reels and hydrants on site.

Other suggestions include controlling combustible vegetation in and around the site to prevent or minimise the spread of fire, limit the amount of fuel in vehicles and ensure that their batteries are disconnected and addressing the spatial arrangement of vehicles in the pound to minimise the spread of fire between vehicles.

City Manager Sibusiso Sithole said unlike speculation that the fire was caused by a deliberate act of arson at the time, the investigation found otherwise.

“Because of heavy winds experienced on the day the fire spread quickly. Over 100 vehicles were damaged that were due to be auctioned. There are therefore no claims emanating from owners on the vehicles. Recommendations for the future is to look at where impounded vehicles are kept,” Sithole said.

EThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo said the conditions at pounds were not all safe. 

He said management had to ensure proper maintenance to prevent further occurrences.

“These vehicles are assets, we cannot lose so many vehicles in one accident. This is a real eye opener,” he said.

PROPOSAL TO APPOINT IN-HOUSE SECURITY GUARDS

Further discussion would be undertaken regarding the proposal to replace outsourced security guards with in-house security guards. This would include the appointment of military veterans in these positions who met the necessary requirements.

Two reports were presented to the Executive Committee today, 24 November 2015 around this issue.

The first report proposed the appointing of VIP security guards to protect councillors.

Council is currently in the process of finalising a policy on military veterans, in line with the implementation of the National Policy on Military Veterans. The Security Management Unit has appointed Military Veterans to replace the outsourced VIP security guards. In providing this service in-house, the department has commenced the process of employing the required staff in phases.

The report listed additional supervisory staff required to manage the efficient deployment of guards including four security officers, 12 section leaders and 121 VIP security guards.

The external security service provider currently protecting councillors will be replaced with the in-house security as soon as they have completed their requisite training. It is envisaged that the replacement will take in phases. Eight VIP security guards have already been deployed to protect councillors while others are being trained.

The operating costs are expected to be R17.8 million which includes salaries and allowances, general expenses and a once-off site set up cost. A further R 6.2 million will be required for the purchase of guns, bullet proof vests and vehicles.

The second report provided an update on the engagement of military veterans within council security services to the Executive Committee.

This engagement comes after the military veterans indicated their plight to the Municipality as well as the national Department of Military Veterans requesting the City to assist in employing military veterans and creating an enabling environment for business opportunities for them.

Interventions to date include a Military Veterans Support Framework Policy for eThekwini Municipality being drafted to coordinate support for military veterans and their dependents by working with other spheres of government, drafting a memorandum of agreement between the City and the Department of Defence and Military Veterans and identifying two broad areas of support, which are business and employment opportunities for military veterans.

City Manager Sibusiso Sithole said the issue of security was taken very seriously.

“We cannot take the risk of not providing security when people’s lives are under threat. We manage the matter seriously but not oblivious to the fact that the costs have to be reasonable,” he said.

He said regarding the appointment of military veterans as trained VIP security guards, they had to meet requirements which included not having a criminal record.

He said all military veterans, not just Mkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans, would be assessed for the job.

Deputy Mayor Nomvuzo Shabalala said the opportunity would be open up to others to apply to ensure equality in the City. 

Regarding concerns raised about which councillors would receive security guards once the contracts expired, eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo said a meeting of political leaders would be held this week to determine how to guide the process.

ENDS 

Issued by eThekwini Municipality’s Communications Head, Tozi Mthethwa.

For more information members of the media can contact Gugu Sisilana on 031 311 4855 or email: gugu.mbonambi@durban.gov.za​ or Princess Nkabane on 031 311 4818 or princess.nkabane@durban.gov.za 

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