AS the sphere of government closest to the people, eThekwini Municipality is committed to the empowerment of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME) to accelerate their growth. Access to high-quality, innovative business support can dramatically improve the success rate of new business ventures.
Our Municipality works with different stakeholders to promote the growth of businesses which will result in a growing economy. Our government is serious about radical economic transformation especially in the SMME sector. That is the focus in all spheres of government especially at local government level which is the first line of contact with citizens. Local government is about changing the lives of ordinary people, as the sphere that is closest to them. Our City is guided by the objectives set out by provincial and national government to ensure that the collective vision of creating a vibrant and prosperous small business sector is realised.
Accelerating economic transformation among youth and women is our top priority. Therefore, the City is moving ahead with the implementation of a radical economic transformation policy framework that will give opportunities to youth, women, disabled, military veterans and rural communities. On 31 January, Council approved the Framework Policy on Economic Empowerment and Transformation and this will ensure that there is radical economic transformation in our City.
This policy will ensure that people who have been previously disadvantaged are given job opportunities in the City. Our mandate is to bring about real change in our communities, by improving the quality of life of all people through radical economic transformation. Since we were elected in August, we have prioritised job creation, youth empowerment, small business support and community empowerment and we will continue to drive economic development for the next five years.
The level of poverty, rate of service delivery, disruption of projects in communities and the slow pace of economic transformation has always been a major concern for us. We want to advance the empowerment of our people, particularly youth, women and the disabled by ensuring that they are brought into the mainstream economy.
THE 2017 school year started on a tragic note following the death of five learners in an accident in Ntuzuma en route to school on the first day of school. Three learners were laid to rest on 21 January. We as local government visited the families to express our condolences on the tragic loss of life.
We also visited the injured children who were recuperating well in hospital. The safety of children is paramount and we urge parents to utilise safe scholar transport. We must ensure that there is no further loss of life on our roads. Education is a powerful tool and we encourage all children to continue to work hard and achieve good results.
The Municipality, with the assistance from our sponsors, hosted the 2017 Mayor’s Matric Awards ceremony on 25 January where top performing pupils were honoured for their hard work in the 2016 National Senior Certificate examinations. The top 10 learners from disadvantaged schools and the top 10 learners in eThekwini were honoured. We hope others are inspired when they see the rewards of working hard.
We also acknowledged the 30 schools in eThekwini that received a 100 percent pass rate. The efforts of teachers and principals throughout the year have not gone unnoticed. The Municipality has set aside R4.7 million to assist students through the Mayoral Relief Fund. Through the EThekwini Municipal Academy and have a number of internships and learnerships available in the City. We have to invest in our youth as they are the future leaders of our country.
Service delivery programme
We are six months into the 2016/17 financial year, and the Municipality is hard at work to ensure that service delivery reaches all 3.7 million residents. To-date 2566 new housing units have been built and will soon reach the annual target set of 5000 units. The City has implemented 2051 new water connections.
Thousands of families have benefited from eThekwini Municipality’s informal settlement electrification project. Seven informal settlements have been electrified in recent months. A further 8140 households have been connected to either prepaid or metered electricity. We will continue to manage the public purse in a prudent and sustainable way. Accelerating economic transformation among youth and women is our top priority.
THE development of young people, women in particular is a major priority in eThekwini Municipality and our skills development approach is geared towards enhancing the participation of women in decision making positions. Women play a vital role in contributing to the mainstream economy and this must be celebrated. Women occupying leadership positions in the country has been a long standing view of the ruling party under the leadership of the late anti-apartheid revolutionary Oliver Tambo.
The first female Minister of Foreign Affairs under the African National Congress administration was Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and the first female Minister of Intelligence was Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, who is currently the Minister of Human Settlements. More importantly the current Minister of Defence and Military Veterans is a female. This demonstrates that women are more than ready and capable to lead in all aspects of society.
The Municipality’s Women Empowerment Programme aims to raise the profile of women in business while continuously striving to address their business needs through the implementation of key capacity building interventions which includes mentorship and training. Since its inception in 2006 and because of its success, the programme has now become an annual event.
The main purpose of this programme is to create networking opportunities and a platform for meaningful engagements on various opportunities and challenges faced by women entrepreneurs. The programme also aims to expand the understanding of women’s economic contributions to the City as well as the hurdles that prevent them from being successful. These include lack of funding, poor access to markets and insufficient information on how to access opportunities. We must not shy away from these challenges but we should create an enabling environment for women to break the glass ceiling and make an impact in politics, corporate business and in their communities.
EThekwini will ensure that women are empowered from a very young age so that they have the necessary skills to position themselves for opportunities. The guiding principles for addressing the issue of gender imbalance in our City is the South African National Policy Framework for Women Empowerment and Gender Equality (2000). Key issues relating to gender imbalance include developing programmes that would enhance access to economic development, improve women’s earning power and increase participation of women in policy development.
Women and children are the vulnerable in society and need to be cared for and protected. As the eThekwini Municipality leadership, we support the 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children campaign.
This is a wonderful campaign that sets aside 16 days each year, from 25 November to 10 December, for society to evaluate their treatment of women and children. However, we should protect the rights of women and children 365 days a year. The theme of this year’s campaign is “Count me in: together moving a non-violent South Africa forward”.
This theme is fitting, as government cannot end this scourge alone. It takes personal responsibility from residents to stand up against abuse of women and children. If you know of someone who is being abused, verbally, emotionally or physically, stand up and help. True heroes are those who do not turn a blind eye to another’s suffering.
There are many ways for ordinary South Africans to get involved. I urge you to do so to ensure this awareness campaign is a resounding success. Not just from the awareness created during this time, but from the tangible difference being made in victims’ lives. It is important for them to know they are not alone and that help is available. We as society must work together collectively, to ensure a violence free society.
As the third tier of government, local government is the closet to people and the social wellbeing of residents is a priority to us. To commemorate the 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children, this year eThekwini Municipality will host a number of events throughout the campaign.
There is a launch being held in the South at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital in Umlazi on 25 November simultaneously with an event to educate the public at Gugu Dlamini Park in the Durban Central Business District. Meanwhile at the KwaMashu Fan Park in the North, there will be an event for residents today aimed at addressing social ills such as abuse and violence. A dialogue is planned for 26 November at Salem Hall in Shongweni in the West to talk around the campaign.
A march is planned on 29 November, from King Cetshwayo Park to Gugu Dlamini Park to raise awareness against the killing of people with albinism, and violence against women, children and the lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex community. On November 30, another educational event will be held at Thandolwethu Community Centre, Ntuzuma E. We must speak out against abuse and reignite the spirit of Ubuntu in our society, because as people we need each other and we must protect one another, especially those that are vulnerable.
RECENTLY the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Sihle Zikalala made a bold statement calling for drastic transformation in the property development and construction sector. He said for too long emerging black and African property developers have been “frozen out” and that transformation in this sector has been lagging behind.
His sentiments are true and I fully support the call for the property development market to be more inclusive particularly for emerging black and African property developers. Transformation in this sector is vital. I therefore call on established property developers and those in the construction industry to actively be part of transformation in this regard.
However, I must add that I am pleased that work is being done to address this inequality presently. The Municipality is implementing key high impact projects worth billions of rands. These projects, also referred to as catalytic projects, are set to create thousands of investment and employment opportunities in our City. One of the objectives of our catalytic projects is to facilitate the long-term empowerment and active participation of black and African people, in particular, in the property development industry.
The amended Property Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Sector Code which tackles transformation in the property development industry headon, will soon be gazetted by the Department of Public Works. The preamble of the code states that the property sector commits itself to the implementation of transformation within the sector. It further states that this commitment was made noting that despite significant progress since the establishment of a democratic government in 1994, the property sector remains characterised by racially based income and social services inequalities.
This is not only unjust but inhibits South Africa’s ability to achieve its full economic potential. Closer to home, eThekwini is dedicated to providing much needed assistance to those emerging in the property development and construction fields.
Presently the City has a number of opportunities available for emerging developers to engage in. And we will continue to have meaningful engagements with them, lending support where necessary especially for those working hard to break into the industry. We are ready and willing to help create a more enabling and conducive environment for black and African emerging property developers.
WHEN the new leadership was elected in August, I made a commitment that this Council will serve the 3.7 million residents of eThekwini with honour. Therefore, all efforts are being made to ensure that service delivery is not hampered.
I recently requested that a report be compiled, listing the financial implications for the City of Municipal employees who have been suspended with full pay. The report will contain the cost for the City as well as progress of each case. I want to ensure that these unresolved cases do not affect service delivery. This report will paint a clear picture of what is happening in the City. I urge the relevant officials to resolve these issues because they can affect service delivery if they remain unresolved.
This Council will continue to improve people’s lives through accelerating service delivery, economic growth, job creation, social and rural development. Secondly, we must be clear about our strategy to drive real economic transformation in our City. The best way we can achieve this goal is by ensuring economic beneficiation from our procurement processes. We must adopt a more deliberate approach on BBBEE procurement, as well as identify new and innovative ways of empowering Youth and Women owned businesses.
Public funds are in good hands
It is good news indeed that eThekwini Municipality has R6 716 million invested at financial institutions, earning an average rate of return of 7.89 percent. Fixed investments for the City stands at R6.5 million of which R1.5 million matured in October. This means that the Municipality is managing public funds diligently and in a manner that will benefit residents.
The Municipality is at the end of the First Quarter and all clusters should submit a detailed performance report to assess the City’s service delivery track record. I implore Executive Committee Members to provide active oversight in their clusters. All Executive Committee Members will soon be signing their Performance Agreements, to ensure alignment with the legislative branch of Council, the administration and the Executive.
NATIONAL Government has declared that Transport Month in October 2016 will be hosted under the theme: “Together we move South Africa Forward.” The month-long programmes that our City has begun rolling out showcase transport infrastructure projects, promote the use of public transport and advance the City’s road safety initiatives.
Government is investing in the transport sector which is part of the country’s Nine-Point Plan to stimulate development and create jobs. In line with this, the City started the National Transport Month campaign on 5 October when GO!Durban co-hosted the UN Habitat Forum. We have collaborated with leading cities across the globe with the aim of creating sustainable cities that recognise transport as being a key instrument to a better urban future and to promote economic growth and development.
This engagement enabled us to broaden our thinking in terms of our delivery of GO!Durban on a global scale. This further demonstrates our commitment as a City to improving the quality of life of all residents, as we believe that transport is the backbone of our economy.
A percentage of allocated work to be subcontracted from the awarded contractor is required to increase employment of women, youth and people with disabilities. To-date, the total number of jobs created through the Go!Durban project include 179 women, 664 youth and 11 disabled people.
There are many examples from across the globe on how transport has transformed economies and our new transport plans in the City are no different. It is because of this I am prioritising the GO!Durban project and ensuring that we fast-track delivery on it. The goal for the GO!Durban integrated rapid public transport network is to provide a flexible, safe, cost effective transport experience for the people of eThekwini linking areas, which have in the past not been accessible through divisive urban planning.
The new system will make traveling around the City hassle-free. I encourage all residents to use the campaigns during the National Transport Month to increase their awareness of safe travel, especially as the festive season draws near.
WHEN I was sworn in as Mayor of eThekwini on 23 August, I made a promise to the people of eThekwini that I will drive a corruption free City. I also vowed that as the duly elected Council leadership, we will serve you with respect and humility and conduct all Council affairs in an honest and transparent manner. Therefore, I wish to set the record straight as I am deeply concerned about the recent circulation of false allegations that a new Mayoral fleet has been purchased and my office is undergoing renovations.
I am using the existing Mayoral fleet and my office is not being renovated. I have mandated Council Speaker William Mapena to lead an investigation to get to the bottom of this matter to ensure that the City’s reputation is not tarnished. We are a City in motion and we will not let our detractors derail us from our service delivery targets. We made a commitment to radically improve the lives of our people and indeed, we will continue to seek innovative solutions to bring service delivery right to the doorsteps of our people.
In recent weeks, I presented to the people of eThekwini newly elected Council leadership’s 30 days service delivery report because I firmly believe that lines of communication must be open and sustained with the electorate. Furthermore, to reinforce her commitment to accelerating service delivery, I have mandated Deputy City Manager for Governance and Human Resources Cluster, Sipho Cele and Councillor Mapena to establish ward committees in all 110 Municipal wards.
These must be up and running by the end of November this year as Ward Committees also play a big role in identifying the needs of our people in each ward so that we are able to implement interventions in response to those needs. The Ward Committees were established in 2013 to assist members of the community to understand how the Municipality works and to enhance their participation at ward level. The democratic dispensation promotes the people’s active involvement in the governance processes so they may help shape their own destiny.
Ward Committees in every ward conduct meetings to address the challenges that face their respective wards. This assists in improving service delivery to communities, as Ward Councillors are accountable and held responsible by the Office of the Speaker. The responsibility of the Speaker and Chief Whip is to oversee all Council committees and to ensure adherence to Council processes. As I have said previously, unity of purpose will remain a critical pillar of our work with all sectors of society so that we can build a City we can all be proud of.
As the newly elected Mayor of eThekwini Municipality, I wish to reinforce the message that Durban is open for business. This Council will continue to work towards ensuring that our City is the most attractive investment destination in Africa.
Our investments dashboard demonstrates our diverse and compelling offerings and we are intent on harnessing the interest of prospective key investors in order to ensure the conclusion of investment decisions, which will have far reaching benefits for the 3.5 million residents of eThekwini. Investment in urban infrastructure is critical for the development of the local economy, combating poverty and the provision of universal access to Municipal services. To drive economic growth through large scale projects and improve ease of doing business in the Municipality, the City has established a One Stop Shop for developers and investors. Through the One Stop Shop, situated at the former Lion Match business park in Umngeni Road, the City aims to improve the regulatory framework within which it operates.
The office will provide access to investors both local and out of town. Municipal Officials at the One Stop Shop, also known as the Catalytic Projects office, will provide advisory services and support for new and existing investors. The Municipality is in the process of establishing a team of experts, affectionately known as Team Durban that will assist our Catalytic Projects office to quickly achieve its objectives. It is vital to put systems in place that will centralise key catalytic projects and identify what benefits will accrue from these to local communities in terms of job creation as well as business opportunities.
Reviving the township economy is going to receive an added focus over the next five years. We will work with all stakeholders to fast track our vision of empowering small businesses. One of our biggest priorities is to promote the Municipality as a globally competitive investment destination of choice, retain existing businesses in the City and attract new businesses.
The City is forging ahead with its Business Retention and Expansion Programme which has been implemented in key industrial areas like Prospection, Phoenix Industrial Park and Pinetown and has now extended to other parts of the City. We have also set high level goals and have taken a ‘back to basics’ approach in terms of cleaning up the Central Business District (CBD), rejuvenating the South Durban Basin by offering an attractive industrial and logistics location for investors and also enhance our tourism products in the City centre and surrounds with new progressive interventions. We want to create a conducive environment for business to flourish.
Advancing people’s power in eThekwini and getting the basics right when it comes to delivering services to the City’s 3.5 million residents is the legacy I will tirelessly work towards achieving during my term in office as Mayor of eThekwini Municipality. What I mean by getting the basics right is that during the first 100 days in office, I want to revive the spirit of service delivery and ensure that we really get back to basics.
Our streets must be clean, roads must be without potholes, waste must be collected weekly, our street lamps must work, issues of health and safety must be addressed, households and businesses must have regular power supply. I implore officials to improve on turnaround times of fixing reported faults and residents must actively report service delivery matters to the City. I want to see more active citizenry and a committed City where both the residents, the City leadership together with the administration team meet each other halfway.
Water and sanitation issues are also at the top of our list of priorities as KwaZulu-Natal currently faces drought. The establishment of a number of good governance committees, that ensure the City runs efficiently, have resulted in a clean financial audit for the last financial year. Our task, as the newly elected Council, is to consolidate the gains that have been made under the leadership of the
African National Congress (ANC) in the last few years and acceleration of service delivery in areas where services have not reached the poorest of the poor.
Anyone who transgresses good business principles with the City, be it a member of the executive, a councillor, any member of our staff or private companies trading with the City must rest assured that we will come down on them with the full force of the law. We have an effective internal and external Audit Committees as well as the City Integrity and Investigations Unit and will continue to drive a corruption free City.
In a bid to advance people’s power, this Council shall continue to improve people’s lives through service delivery, economic growth, job creation, social and rural development. I want to ensure that during my term of office this Council improves the roll-out of infrastructure and delivers services efficiently to all parts of the Municipality whether they are urban, township or rural. We will work with all stakeholders to fast track our vision of empowering small businesses that are the heart of our townships. The development of our young people who are the future leaders of the City, women and disabled person is a major focus of our office. Unity of purpose will remain a critical pillar of our work with all sectors of society.