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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
December 24
We remain unrelenting in fighting corruption

WHEN President Cyril Ramaphosa launched the District Development Model last year, he identified eThekwini Municipality as one of the pilot sites for the implementation of the programme. Among the reasons eThekwini was selected is that the City remains the economic powerhouse of the province.

It is therefore significant that we continue to unrelentingly root out corruption whenever we encounter it. As the Anti-Fraud and Corruption Week was recently commemorated, it was an opportunity to pause and reflect on the strides we have made as a country in eradicating fraud and corruption both in the public and private sector. In line with maintaining good governance and ensuring consequence management, government and business must work together to prevent malfeasance in our operations.

Bearing testimony to this is the establishment of a fully-fledged unit in the form of the City Integrity and Investigations Unit (CIIU). This unit receives allegations and complaints relating to fraud, corruption and maladministration from complainants and whistle- blowers and investigates them thoroughly.

To date, 65 cases have been opened with the South African Police Service and we are confident that the law enforcement agencies will leave no stone unturned in bringing those implicated to book. There is a total of 196 Municipal officials that have been disciplined for fraud and corruption related cases. We also have 40 employees that have resigned after realising that the net was closing in on them. Scores are on unpaid leave while others have been demoted or dismissed. The narrative that is fanned that the City is doing nothing to fight fraud and corruption is therefore baseless.

Having the CIIU operate independently is a clear demonstration that we are committed to rooting out fraud and corruption as it hinders our agenda of development. In fact, we have declared zero tolerance when it comes to maladministration because it stands in the way of service delivery. If not adequately addressed, it could render our Municipality dysfunctional as warned by Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma during a recent oversight visit to the City.

It is also imperative to warn the public against people who have been using the name of the Municipality and the Office of the Mayor to fleece members of the public. We reiterate that for anyone to be awarded a tender, they do not need to pay any fee upfront except to pay for tender documents. It is also a criminal offense for a City official to demand money from anyone to secure a job. The CIIU can be reached on their toll-free number 0800 202020. The complainant can remain anonymous.

November 24
Oversight visit to City shows service delivery gains
THE City recently had the opportunity to host Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. She was on a two-day ministerial working visit which is in line with COGTA’s mandate and Section 154 of the Constitution. The visit was also a continuation of Minister Dlamini-Zuma’s engagements with provinces and districts on the District Development

Model (DDM) implementation, to provide political oversight, to conduct a service delivery assessment as well as the impact of Covid-19 and gender-based violence mitigation plans.

Her visit presented me with the opportunity to provide an account of what has been achieved in eThekwini Municipality since President Cyril Ramaphosa launched the DDM last year and announced eThekwini, particularly KwaMashu, as one of the pilot sites where the project would be rolled out. I am proud to announce that the Municipality has done exceedingly well in delivering services to a majority of residents. However, there are other areas which have suffered neglect.

We acknowledge that there is a growing dissatisfaction that services rendered are insufficient with the services backblock as of 30 March standing at 348 488 households for water, 310 843 for sanitation, 220 432 for electricity and 77 087 for refuse collection. Housing remains a critical need.

The Human Settlements Unit has been delivering on their mandate using different approaches including the provision of top structures, infrastructure incremental services, the R293 programme and temporary residential accommodation at a total of 25 472 sites. All these interventions have made a difference in the lives of beneficiaries. The City is also providing incremental services such as water, sanitation, roads and footpaths to 581 informal settlements.

As a result of service delivery challenges, some sections of the community have lost hope, while others have resorted to illegal marches characterised by damage to private and public property. While behaviour of this nature cannot be condoned, as the leadership of eThekwini we remain committed to ensuring that all service delivery challenges are resolved with immediate effect, hence the adoption of Operation Good Hope. Through Operation Good Hope, the City has developed tangible plans with timelines to address challenges.

The main objectives of this operation include:
  • Improving cleanliness of the City by focusing on poor service delivery pressure points in the primary and secondary towns and townships;
  • Improving the pace, frequency and quality of the response to service delivery faults that have been identified and;
  • Mobilising staff and the public at large to take care of City facilities and improve civic pride.
Friday has been declared ‘Cleanup Friday’ where service delivery interventions will be intensified, including the enforcement of bylaws and clamping down on contraventions. Secondary central business districts and townships will be coordinated in a similar manner.

This initiative is aligned to our Mayoral Operation Sukuma Sakhe Programme which sees City leadership and senior officials visiting at least 12 wards of the Municipality monthly.
November 05
Engage with City to address service delivery concerns

WHILE the Bill of Rights makes provision for residents to demonstrate, picket and petition, they do not have the right to destroy property.There have been many service delivery protests in various wards where protestors have de-stroyed public amenities to express their frustration and unhappiness.

It is unlawful to barricade roads, loot shops, interrupt traffic flow and attack motorists who are not part of the protest. We fully under-stand that while government has made strides to deliver services to poor communities, much more still needs to be done.  Where there are challenges, we expect residents to use the proper channels to voice their grievances.

Residents of eThekwini expect us to create an environment where hope for a better life becomes a reality. We have a duty to replace despair and hopelessness evident in some communities with hope and optimism by ensuring we deliver adequate services. The public protests that have engulfed the City recently are an indication that people expect nothing from us except service delivery.

There are many channels through which residents must lodge their complaints before embarking on service delivery protests. These include:

  • Write a notice to the local coun-cillor, war rooms, ward committee or community development workers advising them about your concerns/challenges;
  • Municipal Rapid Response Team, Integrated Complaints Manage-ment System (suggestion boxes, telephone calls, emails and social media pages), help desks, toll free hotlines, Batho Pele and Sizakala Customer Care Centres. 
  • If there is no joy from the ward  councillor, esca-late the matter to the Office of the Speaker;
  • Failing to get a response from the Office of the Speaker, the matter must be elevated to the Office of the Mayor;
  • Subsequent to the Municipality’s failure to respond, an application for a strike must be made at the nearest police station. Residents must produce evidence as proof that they have exhausted all avenues to have their challenges/issues addressed. Upon granting the right to strike there are stringent conditions attached to the permission such as no destruction to public and private properties and no disturbance to members of the public;
  • It is a crime to participate in an illegal strike.

Communities are encouraged to notify the Municipality when intending to protest in order to get protection. The Municipality will provide guidelines as per by-laws and guide protesters to march along the safest route provided by the Municipality. It is important to note that a protest should not impede on the rights of others.

Councillors are central to creating a good relationship with their constituencies. We believe councillors should cement a reciprocal relationship between themselves and community structures within the ward in order to address simmering tensions.

This can be achieved through transparent monthly meetings where residents can raise their concerns openly.  Municipalities must not wait until they are told by residents where there are challenges. In fact, municipalities should always ensure service delivery is being expediated in all areas. 

November 05
City’s Economic Council plots the way forward

We recently held the inaugural meeting as members of the eThekwini Economic Council (EEC). The meeting was significant because it presented us with an opportunity to chart a new economic path for the City, thus bringing renewed hope to the residents of eThekwini Municipality of a bright and prosperous future.

The EEC was launched in September and as members we are fully committed to seeing this Council succeed in reviving the economy of the Municipality and creating sustainable jobs. The time has come to act on the task that lies ahead of us.

As we formulate strategies and design our programme of action as a collective, we will encounter challenges and, at times, will not agree. But, our common goal – which is to revive the economy of the City and improve the lives of our people should always be the guiding principle of Council engagements.

As the leadership of the City, we have already laid a solid foundation to help as we navigate through this difficult period of Covid-19. As we drive this socio-economic recovery, we must prioritise radical socio-economic transformation interventions and this Council must provide guidance in the implementation thereof, ensuring that there is a coherent and seamless execution of these interventions.

EThekwini has put forward an Economic Recovery Plan that has been praised by National Treasury and work has begun to ensure that we move from the short term Economic Recovery Plan to a longer term plan that is ambitious and targeted at addressing the current fault lines in the economy. As the leadership of the Municipality, we fully understand that without a conducive environment to do business, our efforts to grow the economy will not succeed.

That is why we remain unwavering in our posture to eradicate all forms of crime including corruption. Improved access to basic services such as water, electricity and refuse removal is also critical to attract investment in the City.

Government cannot address these challenges alone. It is only by working together through social compacts such as the ECC, that we can rebuild our economy. As part of translating our plans into action, we are finalising the process of establishing a Mayoral Jobs Creation and Skills Revolution War Room which will work closely with this Economic Council.

The War Room will focus on, among other things, implementation of decisions emanating from this Council within specified time frames. Now is the time for radical action. People want to see change and this Council gives us an opportunity to act with urgency and make a difference.

October 08
Promoting transport infrastructure in the City

THE month of October has been declared Transport Month. It allows us to highlight the great strides that has been made by government to develop the nation by providing transport infrastructure that is crucial in growing the economy. It is well known that road infrastructure plays a crucial role
in economic development and the growth of any country.

We were pleased to have recently witnessed the official opening of an upgraded Hammarsdale Interchange on the N3 by Minister of Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula. This upgrade has changed the outlook of this important economic corridor that links the City and province with major economic hubs such as the city of Johannesburg. The Hammarsdale Interchange has not only improved infrastructure on this portion of the N3, but it has also provided opportunities to emerging contractors in line with our Radical Economic Transformation programme.

A total amount of R400 million was invested in the upgrade and produced jobs for 250 local people with a wage bill of close to R 46.8 million. We need to highlight that about R7.9 million was spent on jobs for women and that contracts to the value of R41.6 million were awarded to 16 local businesses. The City contributed R90 million towards the project which saw hundreds of locals employed.

The upgrade of the interchange saw an increase of two lanes to five lanes and has facilitated industrial expansion in the area as well as improved economic activity in the region. We are moving with speed to accelerate the implementation of our programmes aimed at reviving township and rural economies.

The City is currently implementing plans to upgrade our road infrastructure. Recently we were in KwaMakhutha to formally hand over work to a contractor to commence with two road construction projects which are part of the City’s plan to upgrade 21 kilometres of access roads in townships and rural areas from gravel to tar at a cost of R53 million this year. As the City we are committed to providing a reliable public transport system.

The establishment of the new eThekwini Transport Entity that will see the return of buses to the Municipality to oversee its operation is demonstration of reaffirming this commitment. As we forge ahead with shaping the future of transport, we will be meeting with transport stakeholders who operate within the Municipality to engage on some key issues affecting them in this sector.

September 25
Administration’s first year in office yields positive results

When the African National Congress deployed us to the Municipality on 5 September 2019, the directive was to stabilise the City and reposition it to better respond to challenges of service delivery, economic growth and job creation.

I am pleased to report that in a short space of time, we have been able to to do this. Over the past two weeks we have been engaging with the business sector. Recently we launched the eThekwini Economic Council that brings together different stakeholders to unlock the economic potential of the City and create jobs. This council must create a positive investor climate in eThekwini and position the City as an investment destination of choice.

It is important to indicate that this is one of the commitments we made last year when we took office, indicating our intention to create a platform where all social partners sign a social compact to boost the economy and create jobs. There is a turnaround plan to upgrade the water infrastructure. The plan includes the implementation of the Western and Northern aqueduct project at an estimated cost of R2 billion that will bring relief to communities affected by intermittent water supply. As the country continues to experience power outages which impacts the functioning of water reservoirs, the City has procured generators for eight reservoirs in the south and north of Durban.

In areas where there is inadequate water infrastructure, the City has procured an additional 30 water tanks. This has increased the total number of the fleet from 88 to 103. This will certainly help more people to access water, particularly in the deep rural areas. To prevent illegal electricity connections, the City has embarked on an intensive programme to allow residents to apply for electricity installation by following the proper channels.

The City has also developed a comprehensive education and awareness campaign to sensitise the public about the dangers of illegal connections. Annually, the City loses R250 million as a result of technical and nontechnical faults caused by illegal connections and the by-passing of meters. The recently released Auditor-General report indicated that eThekwini is one of the leading municipalities in the country in terms of irregular expenditure.

To this end, we have convened a workshop with senior management and have developed practical plans to address irregular expenditure. The plan includes early warning systems to detect irregular expenditure, applying consequence management for officials implicated in wrongdoing and weekly meetings with senior management to assess the progress on the implementation of the plan.

We will also be reducing the over-reliance on consultants and develop a solid and credible contract management system.

September 10
Celebrate heritage and tourism during September

AS THE month of September ushers in Spring, it is also a season of rebirth and renewal. As the leadership of the Municipality, we want to reaffirm our commitment to doing things differently and taking the Municipality to even greater heights.

The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us that our life as we know it may never be the same again and that we have to adapt to the “new normal”. This has renewed our way of thinking and unleashed new possibilities for the City. September is celebrated as Heritage and Tourism Month, and we are going to use this month to celebrate our colorful heritage and diversity and to foster social cohesion. It is equally important that we also use this month to rebuild the economy by emphasising the importance of the tourism sector on the City and country’s economy which has been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

September also marks the first anniversary of the Municipality’s new leadership in office. Over the coming weeks, we will be unveiling several projects outlining the progress we have made over the past 12 months in office. We want this to be a renewal of the social contract we entered into when assuming office, a commitment to changing the lives of residents for the better. We kickstarted this initiative by launching the eThekwini Economic Council that will serve as a social compact, providing strategic advice on economic development, inclusive growth strategies and provide support to City leadership.

The forum consists of expert and cross-sectoral leaders from various sectors and businesses determined by public nomination to advise the Mayor and City leadership on economic development, investment promotion and ensuring that there is an enabling environment for business within the City. However, all these efforts mentioned above will be tarnished if people embark on violent protest action instead of raising their concerns with the City by following the correct channels.

EThekwini Municipality continues to endeavor to deliver sustainable services to all residents. Despite these ongoing efforts, there have been several service delivery protests in various wards recently. And in their frustration, protestors have destroyed public amenities. There are various avenues that can be followed to alert the Municipality about a community’s concerns and needs. The Municipality remains open to engaging with the public to ensure accountability and effective and efficient service delivery. 

Councillors are central in communities to cultivate a good relationship with constituencies. The steps to raising service delivery concerns with the City are first to raise the issue with the local ward councillor. If you receive no joy from the ward councillor, escalate the matter to the Office of the Speaker. Only after these avenues have been exhausted should the matter be referred to the Office of the Mayor.
August 27
Level two lockdown a welcome relief for the City's economy

WE RECENTLY had the opportunity as the City to accompany KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala and the MEC for Health Nomagugu Zulu-Simelane to Toyota South Africa’s operations in Isiphingo where we received a donation of 10 Toyota Hilux Legend 50 4x4 vehicles as part of a partnership between the private and public sector in the fight against Covid-19.

This donation will enable the Department of Health’s outreach teams to expand the mass community-based screening, testing and contact tracing. This will ensure that we reduce the risk of having unaccounted cases of infections while we strive to revive our local economy.

However, the fact that the country has been downgraded to alert level 2 does not mean that we should rest on our laurels as the risk of infection still remains high. The fight against this invisible enemy is far from over. However, the move to lockdown restriction level 2 is much needed by the tourism industry which has been one of the hardest hit sectors. The announcement of the lowering in restriction levels has been well received by this sector and understandably so.

Tourism is one of the major contributors to the City’s economy and we are excited to reopen the sector under the new Covid-19 safety regulations. When we conducted a walkabout in the uMhlanga Precinct to assess the level of readiness for the reopening of the tourism sector recently, I along with a number of tourism officials were left impressed with the level of compliance from hotels, eateries and other tourism linked industries.

There is glimmer of hope now that entertainment hubs such as Florida Road and Chartwell Drive in uMhlanga Village together with township hotspot establishments are ready to host visitors in accordance to Covid-19 safety protocols. We look forward to seeing the public enjoy spaces such as the Moses Mabhida Stadium, the beachfront and uShaka Marine World which is set to re-open on 1 September. On the same token, I bemoan the irresponsible drinking that we have witnessed recently.

The virus is still upon us and I want the public to remain vigilant and drink responsibly. Also, let us continue washing our hands, wearing our masks and maintaining a social distance. We have seen the positive impact that these measures have had in curbing the spread of the coronavirus. It is upon all of us to act responsible and do our part to curb the spread of Covid-19.

August 17
Celebrate women this month

AS WE commemorate Women’s Month and the historic 1956 women’s march to the Union Buildings against the pass law, we are reminded of the resilient and ever-dominant fighting spirit of women in our beautiful country.

The month which is themed “Generation Equality: Realising women’s rights for an equal future”, should serve as a reminder of the important role that women play in the advancement of the country and that they are an important stakeholder in moving South Africa forward.

Women have been at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19. A number of our healthcare professionals are women and we have seen them in health centers carrying the country on their shoulders as the Covid-19 battle rages on. EThekwini has emerged as the epicentre of Covid-19 in KwaZulu-Natal with an upsurge in new infections expected in the coming weeks. I have no doubt that the women of our beautiful City, invigorated by the spirit of the likes of Lillian Ngoyi, Charlotte Maxeke, Victoria Mxenge, and Winnie Madikezela-Mandela, will rise to the occasion to assist the Municipality in flattening the curve.

The spread of the virus is rapidly growing, statistics of those infected are no longer just numbers but are becoming the names of our loved ones. It is for this reason that we need to employ a new way of thinking in order to stop the virus from spreading. However, we are not going to allow the pandemic to dictate our agenda as we are forging ahead by implementing policies that will see women and vulnerable groups benefiting from Municipal contracts in our endeavour to achieve equality.

Through our Radical Economic Transformation Framework’s objectives, the Municipality took the resolution that every contract totalling more than R30 million must set aside 30 percent for black-owned small businesses, particularly if they are youth or women owned. We also welcome the directive by President Cyril Ramaphosa to set aside 40 percent of public procurement for women owned business.

In as far as gender equity in the workplace is concerned, as the Municipality we are moving in the right direction. We now have more women in middle and senior management, and we will continue to groom more women for management positions. Our concerted efforts of empowering women also finds expression in the Municipal Executive Committee which comprises of 50 percent women.

July 30
Covid-19 must not set our agenda

RECENTLY, one of the pillars of our revolution, isiThwalandwe, Andrew Mlangeni, was called to rest. Our country has been robbed of yet another fountain of wisdom. Mlangeni was the only surviving Rivonia Trialist who went to prison with other revolutionaries including the likes of Nelson Mandela, Water Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada and others. Mlangeni spent 26 years on Robben Island and after his release contributed tremendously to the country’s transition process.

He later served in the National Assembly and retired in 2014. I extend my heartfelt condolences to the Mlangeni family. We thank them for this giant of our movement who made an indelible mark in our struggle for freedom. Like many cities in the world, ours to continues to be affected by the coronavirus. We are continuing to provide basic services without disregarding the lockdown regulations. However, residents should be mindful that we are labouring under very abnormal circumstances which in certain instances, impedes us from discharging our responsibilities as per normal.

We therefore urge the public to bear with us. This storm will definitely pass and the situation will return to normal. Let me thank all our staff members who made the virtual Vodacom Durban July Experience a success. In as much as we may have lost R300 million in potential revenue as the City, we ensured that the event took place. As a result, several sectors benefited after enduring a long period without any income. These are eateries in townships, fashion designers, artists etc.

We will continue to market the City to ensure that it remains a popular tourist destination after the Covid-19 storm passes. I would also like to thank residents who have faithfully been paying for their services. However, our debt collection is still not what it used to be. We are cognisant that many residents have had their livelihoods affected but it is important to continue paying for services provided by the City.

The City has Covid-19 relief programmes to assist customers with outstanding Municipal debt. Failure to pay for services makes it difficult for the City to live up to its Constitutional mandate of providing basic services to all. Our electricity infrastructure continues to be threatened by illegal connections. This unlawful conduct is resulting in numerous transformers being overburdened and exploding which is plunging households into darkness. This in turn leads to violent service delivery protests. We experienced this near Lamontville recently when a Sizakala Centre was torched, depriving people of services that was brought to their doorstep.

They now have to walk long distances to access services. The City calls for land invasion and theft of electricity to stop. We are doing everything in our power to meet the needs of residents and will continue to do so. The reality however is that scores of people flock to the City daily in search of economic opportunities. It is therefore of cardinal importance that we are mindful of this reality and be patient as service delivery is rolled out.

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