22 October 2019
Executive Committee Decisions
Business forums invading sites and halting construction projects while demanding 30 percent of the work be given to them must watch out, eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda is warning sternly. He was speaking at an Executive Committee meeting held today, 22 October where he made it clear that such anarchy would not be tolerated in the City. Following this illicit behaviour the private sector has lost hundreds of millions as a result of delays.
Mayor Kaunda said this unlawful conduct needs to come to an end. As result Mayor Kaunda will be meeting with the business forums next week where he would let them know that such behaviour would not be tolerated. The meeting date will be communicated in due course.
He said some businesses have threated to leave Durban as a result of these stoppages and threats from the business forums. Mayor Kaunda said if this is not nipped in the bud it could result in the City shedding thousands of much needed jobs.
“We will not be leaving this sort of behaviour to continue. We will not tolerate this nonsense. We are prepared to go toe to toe with these business forums as the law must take precedence. We cannot be a banana republic where people do as they please. We are not retreating on this matter as we cannot allow business forums to co-govern the City with us. We are governing the City,” he said.
He said they would also be meeting with the provincial police commissioner to get an update on cases that have been opened against the business forums.
“In instances where business forums distance themselves from an individual who has invaded a property or made threats, then legal action will be taken against that individual. We have to protect businesses in the City as well as Municipal infrastructure,” Mayor Kaunda said.
He said a number of catalytic projects in the City have been halted by forums who demanded 30 percent of the work be given to them. Mayor Kaunda said this behaviour was not Radical Economic Transformation but rather anarchy and would be dealt with as such.
“We will be acting decisively on this matter. We need our legal team to be ready as there will be litigation attached to an individual or the forum itself based on the evidence submitted,” he said.
Deputy Mayor Belinda Scott said they have had numerous meetings with the business community who have agreed to work in partnership with the City regarding this issue.
She said they have encouraged affected business people to open cases if they have been intimidated or threatened by business forums.
“We cannot do it alone, we need to work with the business community,” she said.
Chairperson of the Human Settlements and Infrastructure Committee Councillor Thanduxolo Sabelo said the City had opened a case following members of the business forum invading a Municipal building recently.
“We know that our lives may be threatened (for taking this stance) but so be it. This is what we are called to do. This is a country that is governed by laws which we all need to abide. Failure to do so will result in our country becoming a banana republic,” he said.
Much needed upgrades will be undertaken to uShaka Marine World to ensure it continues to provide visitors with the high standards expected of a theme park. A feasibility study will also be undertaken to investigate the viability of an internationally branded expanded/decentralised theme park destination development within the Point Waterfront Development. This follows the tabling of a report at an Executive Committee meeting held today, 22 October.
The report, initially tabled at the Economic Development and Planning Committee meeting, authorised for R16 million be spent on the project. This includes R10 million for the rehabilitation of uShaka and R6 million for the feasibility study.
The report stated that the funds were necessary to improve the theme park and its business operations in order to create a world-class entertainment destination. It stated that there was a need to invest in key attractions that will grow footfall and result in financial sustainability and employment creation.
Deputy City Manager of Economic Development and Planning Phillip Sithole said uShaka Marine World was established as a catalyst for the Point area precinct. He said it was necessary to rehabilitate the park while also creating new experiences for visitors.
“The allocated amount for the feasibility study is a benchmark for what other entertainment centres undertake for similar studies,” he said.
Chairperson of the Economic Development and Planning Committee Councillor Sipho Kaunda said the allocated amount for the study was a block sum and was not the actual cost of the study which could be less than the allocated amount. He said new attractions to the theme park would bring additional benefits.
“We need to undertake this study to ensure that we are able to compete with other international attractions,” he said.
EThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said he wanted timeframes of when the feasibility study would be done as well as turnaround plans for the theme park regarding new attractions and increasing the number of visitors.
Regarding reports about banning the media from Executive Committee meetings, Mayor Kaunda reassured the media that under no circumstances will the City bar it from attending any of its meetings. He said the media will remain an indispensable stakeholder to the City to aggressively advance the agenda of development to the benefit of residents.
Issued by the eThekwini Municipality’s Communications Unit