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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
April 09
Successful Easter weekend in Durban

AS THE City of Durban, we would like to convey our deepest condolences to the family of the first democratically elected Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Dr Frank Mdlalose. Nyanda played a significant role alongside former President Jacob Zuma to bring political stability in our province.

Through his efforts, as the province we were able to do away with no go areas and today political parties are free to campaign anywhere without intimidation. Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult period, particularly his wife who is still recovering in hospital. Let me also take this opportunity to thank the people of eThekwini and our visitors for choosing Durban as their holiday destination of choice during the long Easter weekend.

Our special gratitude goes to our staff including Metro Police and other law enforcement agencies for their sterling work in ensuring that our visitors enjoy their holidays in the City within the confines of the Covid-19 protocols. As the City, we are reinvesting in our beachfront and inner city to welcome our residents and tourists to a clean and fresh beachfront. The beachfront is our key asset that contributes significantly to the local tourism sector, job creation and the economy of the City. The investment in the beachfront and inner city aligns with the Economic Recovery Plan which focuses on reinvigorating the domestic tourism sector, which was highly impacted during the hard lockdown.

It is against this background that we have invested over R33 million to improve our public space in the beachfront. This comes hot on the heels of a multimillion rand we have invested in extending our promenade. Last week, we tabled the City’s draft budget for 2021/22 for consultation with all our stakeholders and members of the public. Due to Covid-19 regulations, most of these consultations will be done through various media platforms, regional and sectoral consultations where a minimum number of 250 people will be allowed to attend.

We urge members of the community to participate in this process and make input into our Integrated Development Plan, Spatial Development Framework, Budget and Annual Report. The deadline for submissions is 15 May 2021. Please send us your input on comments2021@durban.gov.za. Let us continue to work together to make Durban the most caring and liveable City.

March 25
Safeguard water as a precious resource
WE HAVE just emerged from a week of mourning following the passing of His Majesty King Goodwill Kabhekuzulu – Isilo Samabandla Onke. We would like to thank the Royal Household and government for providing His Majesty with a fitting send-off. 

As the longest-reigning Zulu Monarch, Imbube became a symbol of peace and unity in the province. We are therefore proud of the legacy he has left behind as the Zulu Nation and the people of South Africa at large. We will greatly miss his guidance and leadership on issues of heritage, agriculture and tourism. 

In his honour, we must ensure that we maintain peace in the province and build an inclusive economy that will serve all people. Over the past few weeks, the City has been faced with the challenge of water shortages in some communities. The City leadership recently visited the water reservoirs to assess the challenges and to develop possible interventions to curb the interruption of water supply. 

As much as loadshedding has been a major contributing factor to this problem, water leaks as a result of burst pipes remains a major challenge. As we marked World Water Day on 22 March, it is important that we raise awareness about the global water crisis. A core focus of the observance of this day is to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: Water and sanitation for all by 2030. The United Nation’s SDG 6 is to ensure water and sanitation for all.

In our endeavour to realise our 2030 vision of being the most caring and liveable city in Africa, we are declaring war on water leaks with the aim of safeguarding this critical resource for the benefit of all. While our dam water levels are averaging at 71.1 percent, we should not lower our guards in saving and using water sparingly. We have communicated to affected residents that the Municipality has taken the decision to exempt the Durban Heights Treatment Waterworks and Inanda Dam when loadshedding is implemented.

We believe this is going to be a lasting solution to the challenge we are facing. With this solution, we are guaranteed that residents will have water even when loadshedding is implemented. This will give us time to focus on fixing some water reservoirs that are not working as expected.
March 11
Improving the status of women in society

THE City joined the global community in observing International Women’s Day on 8 March. This is an important day for us to reflect on the strides we have made in creating an equal society where women are able to realise their full potential.

This commemoration also provides us with an opportunity to take stock of the challenges we must overcome, to ensure that women occupy their rightful place in society. We know that Covid-19 has dealt a severe blow to the economy and that women have been the hardest hit sector of the population by this pandemic.

This was further highlighted by the United Nations Development Programme study on the socioeconomic impact of Covid-19 in South Africa, which was released last year. Apart from the socio-economic hardships, women also suffered a great deal of gender-based violence, particularly during the hard lockdown in the country. Therefore, when we engage on issues affecting women, our deliberations must be focused on addressing some of these socio-economic challenges facing them and fast track our efforts of transforming the economy so that it can serve all people.

As eThekwini Municipality, we are implementing measures to ensure that women play a meaningful role in the economy. We have designed our public procurement in a manner that allows the participation of women, youth, people with disabilities and military veterans. This year, we are celebrating 27 years of freedom and we must ensure that we consolidate and safeguard the gains we have achieved since 1994, including the strides we have made in elevating the status of women.

It is an undeniable fact that the status of women of today has improved significantly compared to that of our grandmothers who marched to the Union Buildings in 1956. Our councils, parliament and legislatures are well represented by women which gives us hope that by 2030 we will indeed achieve the 50/50 gender parity in all public sector institutions. We are however concerned about the slow pace of transformation in the private sector as women continue to be overlooked in strategic positions.

Let us continue to build a strong South Africa together and be part of the generation that ends gender inequality. Most importantly, as we revitalise our economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, we must also ensure that we change the economic outlook of the country and build a fundamentally different economy that improves the material conditions of women.

March 01
Well done to the matric class of 2020

ON 22 February, Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga released the much-anticipated results for the Matric class of 2020. The results are significant as they aptly demonstrate the resilience of the human spirit as learners succeeded despite the Covid-19 pandemic that disrupted the 2020 academic year.

We would like to congratulate the national and provincial departments of Education for the effort they put in to ensure that the class of 2020 successfully sat for their exams, despite the challenges
posed by the global pandemic.

Although the results for the past year have dropped by a small percentage, we are pleased that learners, teachers and parents put their shoulder to the wheel and overcame all the challenges that threatened to disrupt schooling during this difficult period. As the Municipality, we have already set plans in motion to assist academically deserving students who come from struggling families to further their studies.

We have also activated our annual programme to provide bursaries to students in areas that have been identified as scarce and critical skills in the country. Another significant event which occurred recently was the release of the crime statistics. This once again identified a number of areas in the
Municipality as crime hot spots for sexual offences, murder, robbery and car jackings. Our major concern is that Inanda and uMlazi have, for the second consecutive year, recorded the highest incidents of rape in the country. This calls on all of us to intensify the plans we have put in place to fight the scourge of crime.

We must strengthen collaborations with community crime fighting structures by building trust between police and residents. Community members should feel comfortable and confident to approach the police when they witness a crime, without fear of victimisation. Residents will recall that we officially launched the community safety forums and the fusion centre to strengthen our efforts of building safer communities last year.

As the crime statistics paint a bleak picture about the levels of crime in the City, we need to reflect on how we can make these crime-fighting initiatives more effective. All City units that are charged with the responsibility of creating a safe environment in eThekwini must meet urgently to analyse these statistics and develop proactive measures to fight crime in the Municipality.

A targeted and comprehensive plan is critical because the statistics indicate that most murders occur in public places such as streets, open fields, liquor outlets, parking areas and abandoned buildings. This implies that if we can increase police visibility, eradicate bad buildings and clean open spaces, we can make a meaningful contribution in the fight against crime. On a lighter note, I would like to extend a warm Durban welcome to Captain of the Springboks, Siya Kolisi who has recently joined the Cell C Sharks. We have no doubt that he will make a meaningful contribution to the Sharks Tank which will hopefully see them adding to the trophy cabinet!

February 12
Working to improve lives during the pandemic

​THE scourge of Covid-19 continues to cause great suffering for many people. The pandemic has also caused serious damage to the economy and thus, impacting on many people’s livelihoods. We welcome the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa recently to ease the level 3 lockdown regulations.

This has allowed more economic activity, particularly in the tourism sector. While we commend the decision to reopen beaches, parks and swimming pools, we urge residents to continue to be vigilant and exercise extreme caution when utilising these facilities. 

We must remember that government is facing a mammoth task, balancing saving lives with ensuring livelihoods during this pandemic. It is also important that we continue playing our role by adhering to the protocols that have been implemented to curb the spread of the virus, that has killed so many. These measures include wearing a mask in public spaces at all times, maintaining a social distance and washing or sanitising one’s hands regularly.

We are all facing a very difficult period in our lives, but we want to assure residents of eThekwini that the leadership of the Municipality remains committed to building a better life for all. To double up on the City’s efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus, in partnership with the eThekwini Metro Taxi Council, we have embarked on a public transport sanitation programme.

This programme will see around 5 500 minibus taxis, belonging to unsubsidised operators, being sanitised daily. There will also be passenger contact tracing at five strategic ranking facilities across the City.

This forms part of our relentless efforts to lower the rate of infections, as the City remains the epicentre of Covid-19 in the province. Remember, over 65 percent of the population relies on public transport to get to work and school. Therefore, we have a duty to protect commuters from this deadly virus.

As a caring government, we have also shown compassion to those who have not been able to pay for their Municipal services on time. Through our Covid-19 relief programme, we have been able to assist residents who could not meet their financial obligations. This relief has since been extended twice. We continue to urge those who are in a position to pay for their services, to do so because as it is in the best interest of the Municipality
January 28
Working together to rebuild the City’s economy

FIRSTLY, the City leadership would like to thank all residents for working with us to ensure a safe and joyous festive season. Undoubtedly, 2020 was a challenging year due to the Covid-19 pandemic which continues to test our resolve as a nation.

We would like to commend residents and visitors to our beautiful City for cooperating with government, particularly law enforcement agencies, by adhering to all protocols aimed at minimising the spread of the virus. The new year started off with news that the country was experiencing a second wave of Covid-19. We had been warned of the imminent threat of this invisible enemy and government acted appropriately by putting in place certain measures to curb the spread of the virus.

These measures included a hard lockdown - which had a negative impact on our economy – resulting in job losses and anxiety across the nation as people were uncertain of the future. As we face the second wave of this global pandemic, it is our responsibility as individuals to ensure we do the right thing in order to contribute towards defeating this virus. We cannot let our guard down. Our beaches, swimming pools and parks remain closed. All gatherings are prohibited, except for funerals which may not be attended by more than 50 people. As a City, we will continue to drive home the message of observing a social distance, wearing a mask and the washing or sanitising of hands
often.

We must emphasise the fact that these simple, yet vital actions, can save lives. Despite the challenges brought by this pandemic, we still have reason to celebrate our resilience; and the ability to adapt. Our Economic Recovery Plan continues to blueprint our path to stimulate the economy and safeguard jobs. In line with this plan, we will continue to ensure that the City is functional and delivers quality services.

We also commit ourselves to accelerating radical socio-economic transformation as well as building viable rural and township economies anchored on social enterprises. Our newly established eThekwini Economic Council will continue to be at the centre of driving innovative and bold plans that will bolster our economic recovery strategies. Post Covid-19, we want to see a more inclusive economy in the City, where all residents feel empowered and become active participants in rebuilding the economy.

The economic landscape must reflect the diversity of the City. For us to continue to attract investment to the City, we must address the issue of crime because investors are looking for a stable environment and seek a return on their investment. Therefore, we will strengthen partnerships between law enforcement agencies and community crime fighting structures to eradicate crime in our communities. 

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.

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