ETHEKWINI NEWS FLASH
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
25 June 2019
 
Executive Committee Decisions
 
CITY TO IN-SOURCE REFUSE COLLECTION IN UMLAZI
 
To ensure an efficient refuse removal service to residents in uMlazi, a decision to provide the service using Council resources was approved at an Executive Committee meeting held today, 25 June.
 
The committee tabled a report outlining the in-sourcing of waste management services in the uMlazi Township. This will be effective from 1 July.
 
The tabled report noted the numerous service delivery disruptions in uMlazi since December 2017 due to several contractual disputes resulting in residents being left without refuse removal services for weeks. These disruptions have intensified from February this year, the report noted.
 
The Cleansing and Solid Waste Unit has therefore decided to in-source the refuse collection service in uMlazi to minimise disruptions and the potential health hazard created by illegal dumping.
 
The report noted that the engagement of external contractors in uMlazi has caused negative, unintended consequences and has also impacted negatively on the City.
 
The report noted that the short term arrangement will be in place until the unit finalises a new organogram to include personnel requirement for uMlazi. All Council policies with regard to recruitment of personnel will be adhered to.
 
UPDATE ON CITY’S PLAN TO REGENERATE THE INNER CITY
 
The strides eThekwini Municipality has made to regenerate the inner city was presented to the Executive Committee by Deputy City Manager of Economic Development and Planning Phillip Sithole at a meeting held today, 25 June.
 
Sithole said the inner city regeneration was part of the Local Area Plan which was approved by Council. He said the Inner City Regeneration Plan aimed to attract and retain investment, create jobs and attract people to live in the area. This would be achieved through coordinated leadership, intensive and coordinated urban management as well the coordinated implementation of large and small projects.
 
“These goals will not be achieved without partnerships, starting in the City with all service delivery departments working together. We have also been engaging the business community and non-governmental organisations as important stakeholders of the plan’s success,” said Sithole adding that they were working towards making the City inclusive.
 
He said four priority zones have been identified and are namely;
 
• Priority one: City Hall to the Beach and Point. This priority area is currently being implemented. This priority will see private investment of R36 billon as well as the City investing R400 million in the promenade extension, R250 million for water mains, a R2 billion investment in the Centrum site and R44 million for the Rivertown investment.
• Priority two: City Hall to Warwick with a City investment in the markets of Warwick project pipeline, public realm and informal trade and retail and public transport.
• Priority three: City Hall to the Port.
• Priority four: City Hall to uMgeni River which will see R30 million invested in the Blue Lagoon and R10 million annually for beach infrastructure and R25 million for maintenance.
 
Sithole said they were implementing priority area one which aims to ensure basic services are delivered in the targeted area as well as prime tourists spots. He said there has been a marked improvement since implementation.
 
“More than 30 problem buildings have been identified in priority area one during the first phase of which 12 buildings have been profiled and contra notices issued to 12 building owners. Four buildings are receiving legal intervention with one unoccupied building to be demolished,” he added.
 
Sithole outlined the implementation structure including which departments were responsible for specific areas such as problem buildings, enforcement and prosecution, cleansing and maintenance, public transport, crime intelligence and security management to name a few.
 
Elaborating on the capital investment status, he said the 750 metre promenade extension was 80 percent complete and would be open to the public by November. Following this, the private sector investment in the Point Waterfront Development would be launched which includes a retail mall and residential apartment for the area. This will see a developer investment of R2.8 billion and an annual rates contribution of R200 million.
 
He said the contractor for the water mains and Mahatma Ghandi public realm was imminent and would take 18 months. The City’s investment in the project was R240 million.
 
He said six sites have been identified to supply 10 000 social and gap housing units to the market which include Block AK, the uMgeni Road site, Victoria Park, Albert Park, Bus Depot and the old drive-in site. Sithole also outlined social interventions which are a critical element to the regeneration process.
 
“There are approximately 6 000 homeless people living in urban centres in the Durban Central Business District, Pinetown, uThongathi and Isiphingo as a result of spatial injustice, urbanisation, migration, unemployment, family disputes and drug and substance abuse. We have to take social ills into consideration as we regenerate the inner city,” he said.
 
Emerging areas for consideration include policy on homeless, norms and standards for shelters, council buildings for shelters, rates and utility incentives for shelters, development programmes for the homeless, standard operations procedures for the Metro Police and a dedicated and a well-resourced programme/unit and technical secretariat to assist a task team and nominated City officials.
 
Looking ahead, Sithole said stakeholder engagements would continue as well as the back to basic programme currently being implemented.
 
There would also be an acceleration of the problem buildings programme implementation and the finalisation of procurement for the Centrum site, water mains project and beach infrastructure upgrading maintenance and cleaning.
 
“There will also be prioritisation of the social intervention programme and the inner city social housing programmes. We have had traction in priority area one and will be moving to priority area two in July. All these programmes and development come with business opportunities and we urge small businesses and those owned by youth and women to participate in this process. Getting the basics right will also attract investor confidence in the City,” Sithole said.
 
EThekwini Deputy Mayor Fawzia Peer welcomed the report saying it was a good move for the City. She stressed the importance of engaging with the business community throughout the process.
 
Speaker William Mapena said the regeneration plan would breathe new life into the City.
 
UPDATE ON BUS OPERATOR TANSNAT
 
A report updating the Executive Committee of the situation with Municipal bus operator Tansnat was noted at a meeting held today, 25 June.
 
The report aimed to apprise the committee of the quantum and the status of the debt owed by Tansnat to the Municipality.
 
The report noted that the provincial government and the City were jointly appointed to oversee the takeover from Remant Alton, the previous bus operator. Tansnat was appointed as the substitute operator with the conclusion of a vehicle lease agreement and an operating service contract. As a result of the previous operator and Tansnat incurring losses, a break-even rate was determined by the independent monitoring company and implemented by the Provincial Department of Transport and the Municipality.
 
There was an agreement concluded in March 2014 and in terms of the agreement, the debt was agreed to and a cession was put in place to fund the outstanding debt to the City. A further settlement was concluded in 2016 which made provision for the appointment of an adjudicator.
 
The outstanding debt has been recorded in the Section 71 Budget Comparative Statement on a monthly basis.
 
The report states that Tansnat’s debt to the City as at 31 March 2019 is R371 956 326.
 
In an attempt to recover the debt, a liquidation application was made. This was challenged by Tansnat and an adjudication hearing is currently taking place in terms of the court process.
 
The report further stated that Tansnat has made a counter claim to the debt owed to the City with the main issues raised relating to the leasing charged for the buses and the break even rate.
 
The tabled report noted that the contract has been renewed on a month to month basis for the past 10 years. It stated that the adjudication hearing started in May 2019 and on 18 June for two days, following which further dates will be set.
 
ENDS
 
Issued by the eThekwini Municipality’s Acting Head of Communications Mandla Nsele.