30 August 2018

FULL COUNCIL DECISIONS

COUNCIL APPROVES INTERNATIONAL BENCHMARK STUDY TOUR TO SOUTH AMERICA

A report outlining an international benchmarking study tour by officials and minibus taxi and bus operator representatives to South America was tabled at a Full Council meeting today, 30 August, and received overwhelming support.

The tabling of the report will allow a delegation of City officials, councillors and minibus taxi and bus operator representatives to undertake the study tour to Sao Paulo in Brazil and Bogota in Columbia. This tour will allow delegates an opportunity to engage with operating companies providing Bus Rapid Transit Services as well as city authorities to learn first-hand how the transition and business processes were addressed and experience a successful Integrated Public Transport Network and Bus Rapid Transport service for themselves.

In response to concerns from various eThekwini Municipality stakeholders around the proposed study tour the City would like to provide context for the proposal.

The proposed study tour is part of an agreement between the City and operators, flowing from negotiations which are currently underway to discuss their participation in the City’s Integrated Public Transport Network (IPTN).

The National Transport Land Act of 2009 makes provision for the improvement of public transport for the country. The Act also stipulates that the current transport operators must have “maximum participation” in any new public transport system introduced by any municipality.
EThekwini Municipality has been engaging with current transport operators or owners through the various associations and structures for many years. In 2014 and 2016 the minibus taxi and the bus operator associations respectively signed memoranda agreements with the City, which outlined the roles and responsibilities for all parties as to the negotiations to integrate them into the City’s new public transport system.

The plan is that the current public transport owners, affected by the development of the GO!Durban network, will have an option to opt in or out of a new “Vehicle Operating Company or companies” that will run the system.

EThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede explains: “The City is asking public transport operators to effectively participate in the new system and manage this collectively within a structured business environment with strict governance regulations. This is, for most owners, a big shift from having to only answer to themselves. Understandably, they have many questions. In most cases the business owners have never experienced a bus rapid transport system, so have no idea of its potential and its value to society as well on their own businesses.”

“It is for this reason that we have proposed a study tour to Bogota and Sao Paulo, to enable the public transport industry to experience their systems. It is also valuable for our own stakeholder progression into the new system that the current owners meet the operators who transitioned from being individual vehicle owners into Vehicle Operating Companies. The meeting and sharing of knowledge will go a long way to support the City’s relationship with stakeholders, and allaying concerns and fears of stakeholders,” said Mayor Gumede.

She added: “The specific aim of this tour is to increase the delegates’ capacity in understanding the value of an efficient and sustainable public transport system and to up-skill the industry. We know that the exposure and experience from the trip will enable the transfer of knowledge and concepts for a vision for our own public transport system.”

The tour will provide a vision for the transition into the integrated public transport system, and unfold how the operators could benefit through contracts and performance, as well as the operating and management capabilities and requirements of operating bus companies within the IRPTN environment as well as potential opportunities for value added services to support the operating company as well as Municipal authorities.

“It goes without saying that the delivery of a new public transport system for the City is vital in driving the City’s economy forward. Importantly, in terms of future sustainability, we have to reduce the number of private vehicles on our roads both from a health perspective and also from an infrastructure provision perspective. The more effectively people can move around the City using public transport, the better it is for the City’s efficiency, economy and societal well-being,” explained Mayor Gumede.

She said it is important to be mindful of the fact that the transport industry is one of the largest industries in South Africa and is predominantly black. “Transformation of the industry supports the agenda of all government structures in promoting black empowerment.”
The delegation will be visiting two cities namely Bogota and Sao Paulo. Costs include airfares, visas and accommodation, food and land arrangements. The eThekwini Transport Authority (ETA) will be putting together a robust programme which will ensure the delegates are given the maximum opportunity to experience the possibilities that the new system will provide while also engaging in benchmarking exercises and peer-to-peer reviewing.

“We will require that the delegates report back to their constituents so that the knowledge gained is appropriately shared. We are confident that this trip will help open up a bigger picture of the benefits a new system will have for society and their businesses,” concluded Mayor Gumede. ETA will also submit a comprehensive report to Council post the study tour.

CITY PROMOTES RICH HERITAGE AND CULTURE OF THE REGION
The rich and diverse culture and history of eThekwini will continue to be promoted through the tabling of three separate reports at a Full Council meeting held today, 30 August.

The first report is to acquire Professor Shabalala House in Clermont through a lease agreement. The tabled report states that in line with Plan 6 of the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) of eThekwini Municipality and as per the strategic objective of the Municipality, there is a need to successfully transform the heritage landscape of the City.

The tabling of the report grants authority for the Parks, Recreation and Culture Unit in liaison with the Real Estate Unit to commence negotiations/consultations with Professor Shabalala, the founder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and all other stakeholders. This is being done with the view of acquiring his house in Clermont through a lease agreement to enable its use as a museum. The tabled report states that this will subsequently form part of the existing Liberation Heritage Route project.

The tabled report states that the Business Unit will be accountable for providing detailed financial implications to the Community Services Committee once the negotiation process is finalised. This information will be included in a report which will be submitted to the Committee requiting final project authority.

A second tabled report granted authority to the Parks, Recreation and Culture Unit to work together with the Real Estate Unit to consult with the Mxenge family and other relevant stakeholders with the view of acquiring the Mxenge House facility through a lease agreement for it to be used a museum. This project will also form part of the Liberation Heritage Route.

The tabled report states that the Business Unit will be accountable for providing financial implications once the process has been finalised.
A third report, also tabled at the Full Council meeting, outlined the transfer of the new Verulam Heritage Centre from the Economic Development and Investment Promotion Unit to the Parks, Recreation and Culture Unit. The report also sought to appraise Council of the need to allocate necessary financial resources for the operational purposes of the facility as well as to have the necessary human personnel in line with Plan 6 of the IDP.

The report notes that the City committed to building a new heritage centre or museum in Verulam, in the north of Durban, as one of its strategic infrastructure development projects to stimulate growth in the greater Verulam area in particular and the City in general.
It goes on to state that the Verulam Heritage Centre will serve a strategic purpose in preservation of liberation heritage route history and the narrative of activists in the north of Durban.

The report notes that eThekwini Municipality has partnered with the National Heritage Council and other stakeholders to pursue this project.

CITY TO OPEN TWO HUMAN RESOURCES COMPUTER LABORATORY CENTRES
EThekwini Municipality will open two Human Resources Computer Laboratory Centres in Umnini Thusong and Hambanathi following the tabling of a report at a Full Council meeting held today, 30 August.

The opening of the centres is aimed at promoting online job application and empowering users on the usage and functionality of web recruitment.

The tabled report notes that funds for this project have been provided for in the 2017/18 financial year budget.

SPCA TO ASSIST CITY WITH COLLECTION OF STRAY CATS AND DOGS
EThekwini Municipality will conclude a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Durban and Coastal SPCA for the next three years to perform part of the pound function on behalf of the City.

This follows the tabling of a report at a Full Council meeting held today, 30 August. The report states that R13.5 million will be disbursed over the next three years in terms of the MOA. Furthermore, the report states that R1.5 million of an adjustment budget be identified to fund the increase of expenditure to R4.3 million for the period 2018/19.

The report states that there will be a high level of engagement with the SPCA with a view of discussing the rationalisation of its operations to cover the entire eThekwini Municipal area in particular townships and rural areas.

The Health Unit will be responsible to monitor the implementation of the MOA which includes monitoring and evaluating the SPCA operations and reporting thereon.

ENDS

Issued by the eThekwini Municipality’s Acting Head of Communications Mandla Nsele.