I RECENTLY presented the State of the City Address (SOCA) under the theme ‘Through our unity of purpose, we can build a solid foundation for a resilient and economically inclusive City.’ In our concerted efforts to build a viable and resilient Municipality, we have identified the following key five priorities:
• Building adequate infrastructure to improve service delivery • Job creation • Skills development • Fighting crime to create safe living spaces • A resilient social solidarity economy
These priorities will be aligned with tangible and bold interventions to ensure that no one is left behind as we work towards building a world-class City. I am pleased to report that we have commenced with repairs at the Ntuzuma Pumpstation. Operations at the pumpstation were halted following a fire. This resulted in Ntuzuma and surrounding areas being without running water for an extended period.
Commencement of repairs comes after the Municipality appointed a contractor to undertake the necessary work at the damaged pumpstation. The newly appointed contractor, Eco Cam was introduced to the local leadership on 26 April. Repair work is expected to be completed in approximately three weeks. While the contractor is working hard to return the situation to normalcy, we will continue to supply affected communities with water through water tankers. A total of 47 water tankers are currently supplying water to affected wards from 8am until 10pm every day. I reiterate that this is an interim measure. Vandalism of infrastructure has adversely impacted the speed at which we deliver services. And now we are confronted by a sharp rise in the number of hijacking incidents involving Municipal and contractor vehicles. In the current financial year around 95 vehicles, driven by Municipal employees or contractors, have been hijacked. Not only does this delay the delivery of critical services to communities, but it also subjects employees to severe physical and psychological trauma.
We can only end this scourge if communities work with us and report criminal activity in their neighbourhoods. However, this won’t deter us in our concerted efforts of growing the City’s economy, creating a conducive environment for investments to thrive, and building towards a livable City. We are also looking forward to welcoming back Africa’s Travel Indaba. The much-anticipated travel show is expected to contribute over R130 million to City’s GDP and will create over 250 job opportunities. We are ready to roll out the red carpet for international and national delegates. Through hosting the Indaba, we are expecting hotel occupancy to be averaging at 90 percent which will provide a much-needed boost for the hospitality sector.
This week also saw us welcoming Eswatini Air as they introduced a direct flight from Manzini to Durban, the inaugural flight landed in Durban on 5 May at 11.30am. The route will have three flights initially with plans to expand it to seven flights a week. This is another testament that the City is open and ready to do business, we welcome investment in eThekwini!