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Welcome to eThekwini Mayors Blog. Read all about what is on your Mayor's mind.
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
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eThekwini Municipality > City Government > Council > City Mayor > Blog
August 10
City leadership is decisive on service delivery

AS THE political head of eThekwini Municipality, it is incumbent for me to continue to demonstrate decisive leadership in order to ensure clean governance, effective use of public funds and service delivery to all the people of eThekwini. I welcome the acting appointments in senior positions which have been made by the City administration.

I have stated previously that the reports about an exodus of senior management or a purge in the City are unfounded. Our Municipality provides a conducive platform for senior experienced managers to lead various units and effectively implement service delivery. As Mayor, all staff members who are committed to service delivery excellence have my full support. The acting senior officials join a group of other equally committed officials who work hard every day to ensure that they meet the needs and expectations of our residents. I have also said we will not tolerate or protect wayward officials who flout processes for their own personal gain.

In cases of misconduct, we have a clear policy to deal with such matters. However, we do not run our Municipality by way of a witch-hunt. Where there are allegations of misconduct against any member of staff, a formal process should be followed which includes conducting a thorough investigation in line with the Labour Relations Act.

We are also very concerned about inconsistencies in the manner in which staffing matters have been reported by the media in other cities. The media has sensationalised staffing matters when reporting about eThekwini Municipality when compared to headlines of similar issues in other cities. The departure of senior staff members in eThekwini Municipality has been reported as a “purge” and an “exodus” while similar matters in other cities were reported as “new broom sweeps clean” in the case of the City of Cape Town and “seeking stability” in the case of the City of Tshwane.

Such headlines have created unnecessary reputational damage to eThekwini Municipality. The Municipality is pleased to announce that some of our senior vacant posts have been filled in an acting capacity. To clarify an inaccuracy that has been reported in the media and purported in other platforms, Mr Phillip Ntsimane is still the Chief Audit Executive at eThekwini Municipality.

August 10
Mandela’s legacy lives on

ON 18 July, eThekwini Municipality joined the global community to honour our late former President and international icon Nelson Mandela through celebrating Nelson Mandela International Day.

The day was officially adopted by the United Nations in November 2009 as an annual international day. The UN noted that marking the day recognises Mandela’s “values and his dedication to the service of humanity” and acknowledging his contribution “to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world”.

The predominant objective of Nelson Mandela International Day is to inspire ordinary citizens to take action in order to help change the world for the better; and in doing so build a global movement for good. We draw inspiration from his lifelong teachings and ensure that we render services to our 3.7 million residents in a fair and equitable manner thus improving the quality of life of even those that reside in informal settlements.

The Municipality, together with the provincial government went beyond 67 minutes to give back to fellow residents, we rolled-up our sleeves and cleaned up various parts of the City to ensure that the people of eThekwini live in clean and healthy neighbourhoods. Ensuring that the communities’ physical environment is conducive to growth, development and progress remains our key focus. We also handed over houses to families who never dreamt of one day having a warm and comfortable place to call home.

Furthermore, the Municipality has rolled out a robust interim service delivery programme in informal settlements, where we continue to provide electricity, water and sanitation services as well as foot paths. This is to ensure that while some people find themselves living in informal settlements that they at least live under humane and dignified conditions.

The most vulnerable members of our community remain a concern for us and while notable strides are being made in the areas of skills development and job creation, we also activated a series of initiatives to help ease their financial burden. This includes the roll-out of free basic services. Mandela has been one of the greatest moral and political leaders of our time. In honour of Madiba and the values that he stood for, we remain committed to continuously improving the lives of our residents through effective service delivery and going beyond the call of duty. Long live the spirit of Nelson Mandela! Long live!

July 13
Follow proper processes to voice complaints

​I STRONGLY condemn the recent public protests experienced in the City which resulted in damage to Municipal and private property. Members of the public were also adversely affected by being prevented from going to school and work.

We live in a democratic country where people are free to exercise their constitutional right to protest, and we acknowledge this right. But when people protest, this must be done in a peaceful manner without damage to property, injuring law-abiding citizens or blockading roads.

The vandalising of Municipal property hampers service delivery as repairs or rebuilding of the damaged property has not been budgeted for. The damage to Municipal infrastructure affects everyone in the community who may utilise that service. I urge protestors to bear this in mind when embarking on violent protests. We must also respect the rights of those who choose not to engage in protest action. Too often they are victimised and prevented from making their way to work or school. While the right to protest is enshrined in our Bill of Rights, I caution against illegal marches which often result in the damage of property.

I call upon all residents to join me in condemning the damage to infrastructure. I am the People’s Mayor and care deeply about the plight of all residents in the City, particularly the indigent. I have reiterated that we have an open door policy in the Municipality where both councillors and officials are willing to engage with the public regarding service delivery.

To ensure that those without homes also enjoy a good quality of life, the Municipality has rolled out a robust interim services service delivery programme in informal settlements, where we have provided electricity, water and sanitation services as well as foot paths.

This is in order to ensure that while some people find themselves having to live in informal settlements that they live there under humane and dignified conditions. We have also made inroads in the delivery of houses and in the last 20 years over 180 000 houses have been built by the City. We are ready to engage with aggrieved parties but urge them to follow proper channels for their grievances to be heard.

June 30
Transforming townships into thriving economic hubs

​EThekwini Municipality has touched the lives of millions of people through various service delivery programmes that aim to radically transform the economic status of our people. Over the last couple of years, millions of rands have been spent on projects to regenerate township areas in order to unlock the potential of these communities, bringing investment, employment opportunities and much needed social facilities.

To-date, extensive investments have been made in townships across the City as part of our Township Renewal Programme. Programmes such as the Regional Business Fair which took place at KwaMnyandu Shopping Mall in uMlazi from 23 to 25 June were initiated by the City to create an enabling environment for small and big businesses to thrive and contribute meaningfully to the local and mainstream economy of the City. In my inauguration speech on 23 August, I made it clear that transforming township economy is going to receive an added focus over the next five years.

While we are proud of the milestones achieved thus far to improve the economic status of residents in townships, we are mindful of the fact that more work still needs to be done to free our people from the shackles of poverty. The Municipality will work with all stakeholders to fast-track the City’s vision of empowering small businesses. These efforts will boost township economy which is vital if we are to reach the target of 11 million new jobs to be created by 2030. The National Development Plan has emphasised that 90 percent of these created jobs will come from Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs).

Extensive work has been done in the Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu (INK), uMlazi, Clermont and KwaDabeka and Mpumalanga areas as they have large populations. These areas also meet the criteria for National Treasury’s Neighbourhood Development Partnership Grant which provides funding for projects within these areas. There are a number of capital projects that are in the implementation stage which seek to capacitate SMMEs and boost the township economy.

The City will continue to work with the private sector and captains of industry to grow the economy and create jobs in order to realise the vision of our great City which is to be the most caring and liveable City in Africa by 2030.

June 19
EThekwini cares about its youth

​June is a very significant month as it is observed as Youth Month. During this month, we remember the brave fight of the youth of 1976 who took a stand against the oppressive apartheid regime. They are an inspiration to us all especially to the youth of today, who are fighting for economic freedom. Financial freedom is characterised by the return of land to the people, creation of job opportunities, the development of a state-owned bank, free and quality education for the poor and the promotion of youth entrepreneurship.

This is the year dedicated to Oliver Tambo and there is going to be a statue of him erected outside our beautiful City Hall, which has been commissioned from a young person that lives in Clermont. The youth have shown us, through media and social networks, that they are ready to fight social inequality. The youth has said #DataMustFall. There are 250 wi-fi hotspots around the City. We want to have wi-fi at clinics, schools, libraries and Sizakala Centres.

We are also looking at increasing wi-fi hotspots to respond to the needs of our communities. The youth has said #FeesMustFall. We, as the City, are looking at increasing bursary allocations as well as learnerships, internships and apprenticeships offered in the Municipality to youth. As a mother and the Mayor I will not sit back and fold my arms when there is an accommodation problem for students even though it is a national issue. We are doing what we can.

We, as City leadership, will never forget how important it is to take care of our youth. In my budget speech I outlined the various youth programmes that are being implemented in the City. This includes creating more platforms for youth in business. We want to skill youth to ensure they find jobs and contribute to the economy. We are also partnering with the private sector to create jobs and business opportunities for young people.

I want to assure you that we will continue to guard the gains of the struggle and that we will lay the foundation for youth to achieve financial emancipation in this lifetime. We have clear and achievable projects for our youth. We are serious about youth development in eThekwini. We are moving away from parties and events that have no impact on the youth. But rather we will have lasting programmes that promote the development of young people. Remember, working together we can achieve more. Unity is power and education is your strength.

June 01
Let us protect our women and children

OVER the past few weeks, news of young women being abused and killed in the hands of their partners sent shockwaves throughout the country. Thereafter, reports of women and children being abducted began to surface. While some reported incidents appear to be legitimate there are also unconfi rmed reports that are circulating in communities and social media.

I am therefore appealing for calm and call on members of the public to refrain from circulating false information that cause unnecessary panic and conflict in communities. I have been extremely disturbed by news of women and children being kidnapped, more so during National Child Protection Week, which is marked from 28 May to 4 June. As society we should unite and shine the spotlight on issues affecting children, highlight successes and identify what still needs to be done.

We all have a role to play in protecting children and creating a safe and secure environment for them. The Bill of Rights in the Constitution specifically states that every child has the right to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation. South Africa has also drafted legislation to protect children which is based on the United Convention of the Rights of the Child, and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

Protections are further reinforced through the Children’s Act, which emphasises the state’s role in the provision of social services to strengthen the capacity of families and communities to care for and protect children. I was therefore disturbed to hear that children had been abducted in some schools in the north and south. However, after further investigation, it was found that the reports were baseless. I also learnt that members of the public in the northern parts of eThekwini blockaded roads on 29 May, attacking African immigrants and looting shops alleging that they were behind the alleged abductions.

I categorically condemn this criminal act in the strongest term. I wish to caution members of the public against falsely accusing innocent people. Crime affects all of us and can only be eradicated if society acts in unison, within the ambits of the law, to bring the perpetrators to book. Violence against women and children is a societal problem which often leads to devastating and tragic consequences, such as loss of life. But let us not take matters into our own hands. All criminal cases must be reported to law enforcement authorities. Let us work together to create safe communities.

May 18
Tourism is critical for economic growth

​The City of Durban looks forward each year to the gathering of key decision makers and influencers in the tourism industry at the Tourism Indaba. We are therefore ecstatic that Durban has been announced as the home of the Indaba for another five years.

The City has hosted the show for over two decades. Tourism has become a vital part of our regional economy and we are prioritising investment and resources into tourism, to build a strong global travel brand and identity for our City. The Indaba, held from the 16 to 18 May, is Africa’s top tourism trade show. The event, which has been running for more than 35 years, attracts more than 7 000 delegates representing the top tourism products and experiences from all over Africa, as well as the world’s leading travel buyers and travel and tourism media.

The Indaba focuses on African destinations and gives visitors a chance to become acquainted with exciting product developments throughout the continent. Industry players from over 17 African countries took part this year. This prestigious trade show is important as it increases economic spin-offs for the City, promotes job creation, mobilises international, regional and domestic visitors to our City.

EThekwini hosted international media, buyers and other visitors during the Indaba. It also provided a platform to showcase our township tours, unique cuisine and other tourist attractions in Durban. We expect this year’s Tourism Indaba to make a contribution of R105 million into our economy, with a direct spend of more than R29m. It also created and sustained more than 220 jobs in the tourism and hospitality sector with optimum hotel occupancy experienced.

Tourism plays a crucial role in our economy. In 2016, the total contribution of travel and tourism to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of South Africa was R402 billion (9.3 percent of the GDP). This is expected to grow by 2.5 percent to R412.2 bn (9.4 percent of GDP) in 2017. These figures highlight the importance of tourism to the economy and the crucial contribution the sector is making towards job creation.

We have adopted a radical economic transformation stance, which is set to redress economic injustices of our past and create more opportunities for the majority of our people, in order for them to meaningfully participate in the economy. Research shows that there is a growing interest in our township products and we therefore felt the need to focus on developing these township products to be of global standards. Most of the Indaba side events were held in townships this year and all were a resounding success. 

May 05
Ensuring people-centered development

​ETHEKWINI is honoured that the World Economic Forum on Africa (WEFA) was hosted in our City. It is important that the economic growth of our Municipality, country and continent as a whole has been brought to the fore. I was fortunate to attend a number of sessions of the three-day conference which was held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre from 3 to 5 May.

A number of side events took place simultaneously with WEFA to ensure people on the ground also benefitted from the City hosting the conference. Among these side events was a high-level delegation tour to witness first-hand the development taking place in our City.

Among the sites visited was the Bridge City precinct in KwaMashu along the Integrated Rapid Public Transport route and the Dube Tradeport. The purpose of the tour was to showcase the major inroads the City has made with regards to ensuring inclusive growth, which is a call to action for more meaningful involvement of all our citizens within the local economy.

As a leading metro that contributes significantly to the national fiscus, we have positioned ourselves to respond to the legacy of spatial fragmentation and contribute to inclusive growth. This integrated approach will allow for the majority of our local citizens to access public transport, goods and services in a cost effective and efficient manner and to also respond to growing the City’s rates base.

This will enable us to meet the local socio-economic obligations. The catalytic projects planned for the City will have a huge economic and social impact. This impact will be measured in terms of the number of jobs created and how it supports mixed-use development by integrating commercial and housing needs, which will generate additional income through rates. We currently have 25 catalytic projects on the go, which in itself is a real demonstration of the commitment City leaders have to transform the economic landscape of this Municipality towards more inclusivity.

Recently, we unveiled the City’s new Radical Economic Transformation Framework. This is a strategy and investment into the City’s economy that aims to accelerate a number of projects in eThekwini which will benefit local businesses and communities. These projects speak to the notion of “people-centered development”.

It is important that projects have economic strategies in place to draw previously excluded people into the economy. While I cannot list all the projects taking place in the City, all are important to note within the context of “people-centered development".

April 21
Creating a financially stable City

THERE is a direct link between the economic conditions and social ills. As such, in eThekwini we are focused on improving the economic status of all our people in order to sustainably eradicate challenges such as unemployment, inequality and poverty.

The reality we face is that people are migrating from rural areas to urban areas in search of better economic opportunities and high quality of life. As a City, we therefore need to up the pace of service delivery in line with migration patterns, rate or urbanisation and population growth. Some experts believe that high population growth could have numerous advantages such as greater domestic market, a stimulating investment in knowledge and attracting investors and multinational companies in areas that previously lacked them.

But it also comes with challenges and if left unchecked, population growth could have severe socio–economic consequences. According to the World Bank, the number of people residing in Sub-Saharan Africa has risen to about one billion over the past 60 years and this number is expected to almost triple to 2.7 billion in the year 2060. It becomes abundantly clear that in the South African context where close to half of the youth population is unemployed, that there is a need to ensure the creation of cities that respond to the urgent challenges of skills and economic development.

However, poverty, unemployment and inequality is also found in cities with inward migration in search of work. Therefore those migrating to cities in search of a better quality of life, often find themselves facing the same challenges they had initially hoped to escape. This has become one of the greatest challenges faced by government worldwide and policy makers. It is for this reason that eThekwini Municipality has ensured that the economic empowerment of its communities is priorities.

With the recent introduction of the eThekwini Radical Economic Transformation Framework, we want to demonstrate that the City’s leadership is committed to accelerating service delivery, providing economic opportunities to poor and unemployed residents and growing the small business sector. Through this framework, there is an opportunity for businesses to assist in addressing socio-economic challenges in the City. It is encouraging to see that despite the negative perceptions and some challenges we have endured as the Municipality, the business community recognises our efforts to grow the economy, which will translate to a high quality of life for our ratepayers. 

April 13
Mayor’s programme of action

​AS THE leadership of this City, we recently convened the Mayoral Lekgotla. The objectives of the meeting were to provide strategic guidance on key programmes of action that will drive radical socio-economic transformation in our City for the next five years. Our plans are guided by the National and Provincial priorities of our government.

During our first session which was held on 18 and 19 March, we dealt with a range of topical issues which pertain to service delivery in our Municipality. In the 2016 Local Government Elections Manifesto, we committed ourselves to building on the achievements already made in the delivery of basic services. However, the rising urban population has put pressure on our resources and capability to deliver services to meet the ever growing needs of the community.

We need to rise above this challenge by ensuring that our programmes directly address the challenges we are facing and that we invest in areas that will make the greatest impact. We remain committed to ensuring the delivery of water and sanitation services while dealing with the impact of the severe drought we are facing. We will continue to expand the electrification programme as well as ensure environmentally friendly energy sources.

We are also committed to building healthy, safe, clean and active communities through a number of programmes that will bring about a high quality of life in line with our 2030 vision to become the most caring and liveable City in Africa. One of our focus areas is to work towards reducing the high levels of tuberculosis infections in our City. Plans are afoot that will ensure the successful implementation of catalytic projects that will not only change the face our City, but bring about development in underdeveloped communities.

We will also be fast tracking the delivery of houses. We will continue to invest in initiatives that must be prioritised for youth development linked to job creation, skills development and the establishment of sustainable youth enterprises. These principles will be used as the cornerstone of our Youth Development Policy. We are also committed to increasing the level of public participation in our processes. In the coming weeks we will be going out to communities to consult them on the Municipality’s Integrated Development Plan and Budget for the 2017/2018 financial year. This process is important because it ensures that our service delivery programmes directly speak to the expectations of our community.

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