15 May 2018
Executive Committee Decisions
The Executive Committee tabled a report outlining the transfer of government immovable assets to eThekwini Municipality at a meeting held today, 15 May.
The three inner city buildings, namely West Point Lodge, the Palm Beach Hotel and the Semans Institute, have been donated to the City by the provincial Department of Public Works.
The report, initially tabled at Economic Development and Planning Committee meeting held earlier this month, stated that the buildings were being donated with the aim of accelerating social housing in line with the eThekwini Densification Strategy as well as the Inner City Local Area Plan: Inclusive Residential Strategy.
The report granted authority to the Deputy City Manager of the Economic Development and Planning Cluster Phillip Sithole to accept donation of the three buildings to trigger renewal of bad buildings within the inner city phase one implementation of a priority precinct.
The report also granted authority to City Manager Sipho Nzuza to be authorised to sign a memorandum of agreement with conditions, processes as well as roles and responsibilities of all parties on behalf of the City.
It further noted the working collaboration between eThekwini Human Settlements, Economic Development and Planning and the Real Estates departments to redevelop the three buildings, dispose them to the private sector and recapatilise investment for higher social housing units at strategic locations.
The financial implications is R5.5 million of the capital budget for 2018/19 to be spent on redeveloping the buildings.
EThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede welcomed the donation by the Department of Public Works with the aim of accelerating social housing.
“This is in line with our Densification Strategy. We want to applaud Human Settlements MEC Ravi Pillay for doing this for the City,” she said.
Mayor Gumede acknowledged that some of the buildings had been illegally invaded but said this would not stop the City from accepting the donation of the buildings.
“We need to go ahead and accept this donation so that we can decisively deal with these bad buildings. This is definitely a step in the right direction. We hope this donation will go a long way in solving our housing problems in the inner city. We are also looking forward to youth, women and disabled communities benefiting from this project.”
She said she has spoken to Nzuza, Sithole and the Deputy City Manager for Human Settlements Beryl Mphakathi about this issue.
“We want to create jobs and use these facilities because people have been complaining about problem buildings in the City. I welcome this initiative as these buildings will have an impact on what we are trying to do as the City to rejuvenate the inner city and attract investors. I am also looking forward to our communities benefitting from this project as a result,” Mayor Gumede added.
Speaking at the Executive Committee meeting, Deputy Mayor Fawzia Peer said people who had illegally occupied the buildings would not be “thrown out” but would be dealt with through legal channels.
Sithole said problem buildings in the City had a negative impact on investment and tourism as they become an eyesore. He said often investors could not separate the City from the problem buildings. He said the intention was for the buildings to be sold to the private sector with the money transferred to the City’s Human Settlements Unit to build more houses.
“This programme must be looked at as part of the urban renewal of the City,” Sithole added.
Mphakathi said the donation was a legal agreement acknowledging that it came with legal and social implications including squatters.
“We have taken the implications into consideration and would not accept donation of these buildings if we did not have the capacity to effectively deal with them. We will not be putting the City in jeopardy by accepting these buildings,” she added.
Concluding on the issue, Mayor Gumede said the City was faced with serious issues of infrastructure and urbanisation which is why job creation was so important.
She reiterated that eThekwini Municipality was a caring City and would take the “care of everyone implicated in the issue.”
EThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede said the City has welcomed the decision by the Joint Constitutional Review Committee which has extended the deadline for written submissions on land expropriation without compensation to 15 June.
She said the Committee has further resolved to conduct its public hearings from 26 June to 6 August in all provinces around the country. Provinces with a larger rural area will have four days set aside for the hearings while other provinces will have three days of public hearings.
She said co-chairperson of the committee Lewis Nzimande said at least one of these days will be over a weekend to allow the working public the opportunity to participate in the process. Mayor Gumede said it was encouraging that the Committee has received more than 100 000 written submissions.
“I encourage communities to participate in all the sittings. Our City Manager Sipho Nzuza must advise us on whether we should go and make a presentation on the proposed amendment to add comment from our position as local government.”
She said the City currently faced a shortage of burial space and believed that the proposed amendment will provide a solution.
“I am hopeful that we will set up a team to provide technical advice on the approach regarding this Constitutional amendment process.”
Mayor Gumede was uncompromising regarding those acting outside the law and capitalising on the process saying “no one should take claim of land without following proper processes.”
She condemned acts by other political parties who were taking advantage of the situation.
“In South Africa we follow proper processes and it should be no different regarding land expropriation without compensation. People cannot just do as they please and act outside the law. Security agencies must take action against those who break the law.”
EThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede strongly condemned the threats to foreign shop owners that have been reported on adding that a team from her office was working towards finding a solution.
She was speaking at an Executive Committee meeting today, 15 May.
She said it was disturbing to hear news that foreign shop owners have a received notice to vacate their shops in the Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu areas.
“We have a team from my office that is working on the ground to find a solution. They are working together with our intelligence and security agencies. We cannot allow this behavior in our City or let the situation escalate.”
She said they were working with the Office of the Premier and hoped to effectively deal with the matter.
“We call for peace and calm at this time and ask that sober minds prevail. Violence and disruption is never the solution to problems. We have to find creative solutions to problems that are being experienced by residents in these areas,” she added.
A team of officials from the City as well as a number of private businesses will attend an investor’s roadshow in London and Newcastle early next month to attract investors to the City.
EThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede will be leading the delegation to the United Kingdom which includes provincial government.
Speaking at an Executive Committee meeting today, 15 May, Mayor Gumede said they were going abroad with the intention of attracting investors to the City. Forming part of the delegation would be private companies who will also be doing presentations in London, she said.
“We want to return from this trip confident that we will create more jobs in the City through investment. I am happy that a number of companies will be accompanying us and will be incurring all the costs of the trip themselves,” she said.
Mayor Gumede said some of the companies included Durban Point Waterfront, Tongaat Hulett, Keystone, Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dube Tradeport, Videovision Entertainment, KZN Growth Coalition and the South African Property Owners Association.
“It is wonderful that we have an office whose purpose is to attract investment to the City. Invest Durban is headed by Russell Curtis who has worked tirelessly to ensure this tour happens. This is good work and a wonderful initiative which needs to be applauded,” she added.
The programme in Newcastle includes a welcome event with host delegates including the Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, local politicians and other prominent members of regional business and political community.
The delegation will also have business meetings, a round table event as well as booked engagements with business representatives.
In London there will be a number of meetings targeting financiers, investors and corporates at a number of planned engagements.
Internationally renowned leadership speaker Sam Chand was invited to brief the City’s Executive Committee meeting today, 15 May.
While introducing Chand, eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede said it was important as the City leadership to work as a collective.
“Sam is clear about helping others to ensure they succeed. He does not have the ‘pull them down syndrome’ when you don’t want others to succeed. We have to work together in the City,” she said.
Chand, who briefed the Executive Committee for half an hour, spoke on the three vitals in every organisation which are systems, cultures and teams.
He encouraged the leadership of the City to look at the systems and structures in place saying that you may have great visions and plans but they needed to be carried out by correct structures.
He also touched on the culture within an organisation as well as the importance of being a team.
“Everything is based on trust. The higher the trust the faster the speed of delivery of work,” he said.
Mayor Gumede thanked Chand for addressing the Committee at no cost.
“This has been very empowering. It is important to lead and to respond quickly. Trust is also important in an organisation. I have gained valuable insight from today and we as the City leadership will run with it,” she said.
Chand is an author, former Pastor, college President, Chancellor and now serves as President of Emeritus of Beulah Heights University and serves pastors, ministries, governmental and social and business organisations as a leadership architect and change strategist.
A picture of Mayor Gumede with Chand and the Executive Committee is available on request.
Issued by eThekwini Municipality’s Acting Head of Communications Mandla Nsele.
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