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eThekwini Municipality > City Government > Council > City Mayor > Blog
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.

July 16
Bidding farewell to selfless leaders

IT WAS with sadness that we learnt of the passing of a number of stalwarts in recent days. We awoke recently to the sad news of the passing of Member of the Provincial Legislature Ricardo Mthembu who was also the ANC spokesperson in KwaZulu-Natal.

I extend my heartfelt condolences to the Mthembu family. His death has left a huge void in the movement considering the meaningful contribution he has made. The nation was left in shock and sadness at the untimely passing of Ambassador Zindziswa “Zindzi” Nobutho Mandela whose fearlessness in the face of oppression inspired many. She lived her life with bravery, more than living up to her name Nobutho: The Warrior. More recently she served her people as a diplomat completing her stint as South Africa’s representative to Denmark. She was due to take up a post as South Africa’s representative in Liberia.

My deepest condolences go out to the Mandela family. We mourn with you. As the City we have also bid farewell to two upstanding ward councillors who served their communities with unwavering diligence. The late Councillor Nomusa Mthembu was laid to rest on 10 July. She served the City since 2006 and was the ward councillor for ward 81, uMlazi which included uMlazi F, C and B sections. We have lost a true leader and dedicated public servant who was at the forefront of service delivery.

We also bid farewell to uMlazi’s ward 84 Councillor Bhekithemba Phungula, who was gunned down outside his home recently. He too was a dedicated public servant who tirelessly worked to improve the lives of people. I extend my heartfelt condolences to both bereaved families. It is indeed a sad time for us all. As a nation we are in the midst of a pandemic that is tightening its grip. As a City, we have lost a number of valued employees to this virus. I extend my condolences to their families during this trying time.

I urge you to realise that it cannot be business as usual. There must be a serious paradigm shift in the manner with which we go about our daily lives. We need to be mindful that we are still governed by lockdown regulations. It is very worrying to see images on social media of hordes of people attending funerals and other gatherings where lockdown regulations are blatantly disregarded.

It is this kind of irresponsible behaviour that could lead to multitudes of South Africans dying. The virus is not only taking lives, but it is aggressively threatening the source of income for many. The virus has truly thrown a spanner in the works of government’s numerous initiatives, aimed at
creating much needed jobs that were beginning to yield positive results.

However, it is heartening that the City and its social partners are working together to overcome these challenges. Following this collaboration, we have developed the eThekwini Economic Recovery Plan of approximately R586 million to alleviate the negative impact of the coronavirus.
July 03
National Men’s Month

AS THE curtain closes on national Youth Month, our focus now shifts to the month of July which has been declared national Men’s Month in South Africa. In bringing sharp focus to Men’s Month, which is aimed at engaging men on issues facing them as well as gender equality, it is important that we
join thousands of South Africans in the fight against gender-based violence.

This act is largely directed at women and children with this heinous crime engulfing our country in recent months. We call upon all men in society to be at the forefront of the struggle to fight the scourge of gender-based violence and to be exemplary by openly denouncing the abuse of women and children in society.

All men should be agents of change by highlighting the devastating impact violence against women and children has on society. We need men to be brave enough to call out the perpetrators of gender-based violence regardless of their position in society. While gender-based violence should be top of our agenda this month, it is also important to recognise the contributions men have made in terms of advancing the country. As we recognise the role played by men, I am reminded that the month of July will also mark the 53th anniversary of Chief Albert Luthuli’s death, one of the founding presidents of the African National Congress.

Chief Luthuli was a born leader whose name has become a symbol of peace and unity. It is therefore important that in the midst of all the challenges facing our country, including Covid-19 and gender-based violence, men in the City should emulate leaders like Chief Luthuli who were committed to the struggle for freedom. There is still a struggle raging on today, albeit a different one than the fight for freedom. We are working towards overcoming Covid-19 and gender-based violence as well as the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

As we observe this Men’s Month, we should not make the mistake of neglecting the boy child. It is on our shoulders as men to bear the responsibility of ensuring that we raise well-rounded boys who will have respect for women and life in general. It is also important that we use this month to heighten awareness of potential health risks that men may face with a special focus on prostate and testicular cancer. I understand that often men can be reluctant to access health care, but I want to encourage all men to take advantage of the dedicated men’s health service available at our health care centres.

June 18
National Youth Day

THIS year we commemorate national Youth Day at a time when our country has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. It goes without saying that the outbreak has had a devastating effect on our economy and livelihoods.

In fact, this pandemic has laid bare the huge inequalities that exist in our country. This calls on young people to be at the forefront against this invisible enemy and also leverage on the opportunities presented by the “new normal”. The youth of 1976 gave up their lives to make freedom a possibility for all. As our country is confronted by the coronavirus pandemic, we call upon young people to rise to the occasion by contributing towards rebuilding our economy now and post the Covid-19 period.

As we are slowly rebuilding the City’s economy through our Economic Recovery Strategy that we tabled a few weeks ago, we are pinning our hopes on the youth to lead by example in embracing the new normal. The youth are key to their own development and we also urge them to lay a solid foundation for the evolution and reindustrialisation of the City’s economic trajectory. When delivering the City’s Budget Policy Statement for adoption by Council recently, I made a clarion call to the young people of eThekwini to be the radical economic transformation soldiers that will lead our efforts to drive the City into global supply and value chains.

As the Municipality’s leadership, we are unapologetic about this mission. We are a Municipality whose population comprises majorly of young people and this youthful population puts us in a better position to take our City to new heights. We are steadfast in creating a conducive environment for young entrepreneurs to thrive as a catalyst to eradicate poverty, inequality and unemployment through the establishment of the Mayoral Job Creation and Skills Revolution War Room.

As we usher in the fourth industrial revolution, I am reminded of the words uttered by the first President of the African National Congress Youth League, Anton Muziwakhe Lembede who said: “A man may gain the highest university degrees and diplomas, but he is not better than a welltrained and industrious farmer or carpenter. A leader in agriculture, carpentry, etc; is just as good as a leader in politics, science, education and arts.” Lembede’s words bear testimony that he was a visionary leader. I therefore call on the youth of eThekwini to follow in his footsteps.

June 05
Tabled budget must be utilised for service delivery

ON 29 May, we recommitted ourselves to the people of eThekwini that we will spare neither strength nor effort to build a City that belongs to all who live in it. We tabled our R49 billion budget at a time when our country is in the grip of the Covid-19 scourge.

The African National Congress declared 2020 as the “Year of Unity, Socio Economic Renewal and Nation Building”. Under this theme, regardless of our political affiliation, we are called upon to unite for a common goal of arresting the spread of the coronavirus and to accelerate the radical socio-economic transformation. This virus has once more reminded us of the urgency required to reverse the skewed economic patterns in our society. In as much as our government has made great strides to eradicate the vestiges of the old order, a lengthy journey still lies ahead to do away with the imbalances of the past.

It is therefore incumbent upon us, united in our diversity, to improve the quality of life of all residents and tap into their potential to grow our economy and create much needed jobs. Apart from being the economic hub of the province, eThekwini has a rich history and cultural heritage which we must utilise, not only to unite our people but to draw multitudes of those who were previously marginalised into the mainstream economy.

It has been almost nine months since we assumed the leadership of this Municipality. Within this short space of time we are proud of the contribution we have made to enable our City to live up to its constitutional mandate of providing basic services to all its stakeholders. We have also been encouraged by the people of eThekwini and our stakeholders who have welcomed the plans we are implementing to turn around the City.

Through the Integrated Development Plan consultations, the people of eThekwini have expressed their frustrations about lack of implementation of policies and plans. It is for this reason that the 2020/21 financial year will be characterised by radical action. The coronavirus has had a devastating impact not only on the economy, but also on people’s livelihoods. We want to assure our residents that we are handling this pandemic with the necessary care and capability that it requires.

As we are due to commence the new financial year, we appeal to residents to partner with us in our endeavour to usher in a better life for all. Service delivery protests will never be a solution to our problems but rather add to our woes. We urge residents to guard each cent of this budget to ensure that it is spent towards improving their wellbeing. We need to work together to fight fraud and corruption.

Where it rears its ugly head in our communities, let us report it to authorities with speed and ensure that perpetrators face the full might of law, thus saving tax payers money.

May 23
Social relief for deserving residents

THE unrelenting Covid-19 pandemic is laying bare the truth that income inequality continues to be a tightening noose around our country’s neck. We are still regarded as the most unequal society in the world.

Compounding our woes is a sad reality that the coronavirus has thrown a spanner in the works on the government endeavours to aggressively bridge the gap between the rich and poor. Had it not been for our government’s speed in rolling out basic services to former disadvantaged communities and our social security safety net, we would not have had a pedestal to launch our initiatives to flatten the curve of this virus. The announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa of social relief interventions for those on social security programmes, was a quantum leap forward in cushioning the poor.

These developments are nothing but a testimony to the fact that ours is a caring government. To compliment these interventions from the national government, our City has set aside R66 million solely to meet the needs for the poor. I have visited our food banks and I am happy with the quality of food we are distributing to needy residents. We have profiled households in 110 wards where 1000 households are going to benefit from this social relief.

We have also ensured that we follow supply chain processes to guard against unscrupulous service providers, who may see this as an opportunity to maximise profit, at the expense of the poor. Incidents that have been reported in certain parts of the country where some leaders have been accused of stealing food parcels destined for the poor, must be condemned.

If these incidents are true, those responsible must face the full might of the law. Their unlawful conduct is tantamount to spitting on the faces of those who cannot help themselves and depend on the state to make ends meet.

In eThekwini, we have read the riot act to all those tasked with distributing food including our councillors to treat all our people with dignity and fairness. We are not expecting anyone to do favours for their relatives and those from their political formations. We have audited households that are eligible for this relief and they sign next to their identity and contact details each time they receive this aid.

The City will also take it upon itself that it calls beneficiaries randomly to ascertain that indeed they do receive what is due to them. We vow to pull all the stops to ensure that our food distribution programme, is corruption free. With our City being declared the epicentre of the virus in the province, I urge everyone to stay at home and adhere to the regulations of lockdown. Let us be mindful that regulations are solely aimed at flattening the curve to the benefit of all of us.

I would like to thank all NGOs and individuals that have heeded our call to lend a helping hand. When we continue to pull together, we will triumph over this disease.

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