ETHEKWINI NEWS FLASH

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

29 September 2015

Executive Committee Decisions

IMPROVED SECURITY AT GLEBELANDS COMMUNITY RESIDENTIAL UNIT A SUCCESS

Safety and security at the once notorious Glebelands Community Residential Unit (CRU) has greatly improved since the intervention of the Provincial Government and eThekwini Municipality.

A report submitted to the Executive Committee today, 29 September 2015, outlined the various programmes implemented by the City and Province and the impact it has had in creating a safe environment for residents. This includes the installation of Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras at strategic locations, controlled access and increased police presence.

Deputy City Manager of Community and Emergency Services Dr Musa Gumede said in his presentation that an initial meeting was held in September last year where residents were addressed by eThekwini Mayor Cllr James Nxumalo and Premier Senzo Mchunu.

The meeting saw the disbanding of illegal governance structures at the CRU. The City also intensified security developments and launched a security plan. This included increased deployment of South African Police Service and Metro Police officers, added private security on patrol and the installation of 12 CCTV cameras. 

Going forward a further six cameras will be installed. A perimeter fence which will allow access control will also be built. A contractor has been appointed and work will soon commence. ClearVu Fencing has been identified to build the fence as it is secure and see through. It is also attractive, durable and easy to repair. This type of fencing has been used on the Durban beachfront.

Further access control, there is a proposal to install a boom gate system where the 11 390 residents have discs or cards to enter. Visitors will have to sign in.

An imbizo will be held before the end of October, followed by an election of the committee scheduled for November to replace the illegal governance structures at the CRU. Mayor Nxumalo and Premier Mchunu will address residents at the public meeting.

Gumede said the Municipality has also delivered on vital services to ensure residents are living in a safe and clean environment. 

There has been increased lighting inside and outside the buildings with a generally improved level of cleanliness. The maintenance programme is being closely monitored with identified social amenities to be improved. The Parks Department is assigning tree cutting teams to undertake necessary work in stages. Over 106 trees have been identified which need pruning.

Other upgrades include turning tennis courts into combi courts and revamping the sportsfield. All broken windows will also be fixed, Gumede said.

Gumede said security was tight in the CRU with only one attempted killing. “All the other incidents have occurred outside the Community Residential Unit. This suggests that there is sufficient security at the Community Residential Unit,” he said.

Mayor Nxumalo said the issue at the Glebelands Community Residential Unit was criminality. He said the problem was that violence was now occurring outside the Community Residential Unit. He was confident that police were handling the matter as there have been a number of arrests.

“The reason people were killing each other was because certain groups at the Community Residential Unit were evicting residents from their rooms. The Province through Premier Mchunu has started to facilitate the process in terms of negotiating with the various forms of structures. People need to sit down and discuss issues and find solutions,” Nxumalo said.

The Mayor said the next project they would be tackling was the KwaMashu Community Residential Unit. 

“Thankfully there is peace and harmony there as various political parties now co-exist in the Community Residential Unit. There is no longer an issue of politics. People are mature to understand that you are free to align yourself to any party of your choice,” he said.

Nxumalo added that the criminality aspect is plaguing residents who are being killed, assaulted and mugged by criminals who use the Community Residential Unit as a hiding place. 

“We will be prioritising the Community Residential Unit, increasing security measures to ensure it is safe,” Nxumalo said.

City Manager Sibusiso Sithole said the City would continue to upgrade Community Residential Units and would ensure there was access control like any block of flats that monitored and restricted who comes in and out.

He said a similar process would be undertaken at the KwaMashu Community Residential Units.

“We are looking at a comprehensive solution. We are working with law enforcement agents and the City’s task team are taking all factors into consideration,” he said.

Chief Whip Stanley Xulu suggested that a plan to upgrade the informal settlements around the Community Residential Unit be reviewed. He said the ward councillor’s office needed to be rebuilt after it was burnt down so the councillor could effectively perform his duties.

CITY BILLING SYSTEM NEARS COMPLETION

Significant strides have been made with the Revenue Management System (RMS) which is anticipated to go live soon.

A progress report was presented to the Executive Committee today, 29 September 2015, on commendable progress made thus far and what the next and final phase entails before the system can go live.

The proposed new billing system reached an important milestone recently when the migration of data achieved the 100 percent target sought after. This included transferring millions of records from the old system to the new one.

The final phase before it goes live is the parallel run where the old and new systems are run in parallel. The end result will be analysed to see if it produces the same result. 

The system aims to streamline the City’s revenue billing and will allow officials greater flexibility in terms of billings and detailing rendered services. This updated system would make the City’s billing more accurate and efficient.

Leepy Shabangu, owner of the consultancy responsible for implementing the project, said in the presentation while there were issues with data initially they have been overcome. 

“Six months ago we were able to migrate 60 percent of data. Now we are able to migrate 100 percent of data. We have not only done this once but many times so we are confident it works.”

He said there have been key milestones in the project which included the design, the building and unit testing and data testing.

Shabangu said the next phase was conducting a parallel run which will start on 4 October 2015. This is the final stage before the system goes live.

“We must ensure what we are doing on the current system we can do on the new system and achieve the same result. By running the two systems parallel we can verify that the information is the same. We will have a report back once this is done.”

Shabangu said of the options they could take they were taking the less risky one by combining Big Band (Migration) and Bill Day (Cutover) instead of relying on just one system.

“Relying on one system is too risky in case something goes wrong. We have decided on a hybrid and will run the two systems in parallel and if they reconcile we can totally migrate.

It is a big project but this option is best from a risk perspective.”

He said the parallel programmes will be run from next month and if it is a success, they will cutover. If any red flags are raised during this period they will run the parallel run into the following month while addressing the issues, he said.

“We have come a long way and all we have left to do is the parallel run,” Shabangu added.

A separate report was also laid on the table for funds already included in the existing budget, to extend the services of the Project Management and Data Migration teams and other vendors until the end of the year which was approved. This would not require additional funding from the City as budget already approved for the project would be used.

City Manager Sibusiso Sithole said reaching this level was a milestone. He said the decision to run the systems in parallel would ensure there would not be defective accounts. “We need to ensure that the project moves ahead so that it can go live,” he said.

Chairwoman of the Finance and Procurement Committee Fawzia Peer said while the RMS has had its hiccups, it was finally nearing completion which was great news.

“More money has not been requested to move into the next phase. They are utilising money that has been set aside for the project which will not affect ratepayers.” 

Another presentation would be done in two months to give the Executive Committee feedback on progress made on the RMS.

MAYOR TO REPRESENT THE CITY IN SWITZERLAND

The Executive Committee today, 29 September 2015, approved a request for eThekwini Mayor Cllr James Nxumalo or his nominee and the Head of the eThekwini Municipal Academy Mpilo Ngubane to travel to Annemasse, Greater Geneva, Switzerland on 28 to30 September 2015. They will be participating in the international Forum: “Public-Private Partnerships for Sustainable Development”.

They have also been invited to attend the 12th CIFAL Board of Directors Annual Meeting. The CIFAL Global Network is part of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and comprises 14 International Training Centres (CIFALs).

Ngubane has been tasked with reviving the CIFAL Durban Centre that was previously active in the City. Given the rejuvenation of the centre in Durban, the CIFAL Program Office in Geneva has afforded Durban the opportunity to participate in the upcoming event.

As the Mayor holds an important position in the Municipality his attendance at the event can provide guidance leadership from the global South. By attending this event eThekwini’s position will further be consolidated as a leading City in sustainable development and a City that is serious about learning and sharing good practices.

It will be good exposure for the Municipality as many cities on the continent and beyond have been exposed to the sustainable city practices embarked on the Municipality. Sharing how eThekwini is applying public-private partnerships on the ground will be useful in an international forum. 

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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