FIRSTLY, we would like to wish all the women of eThekwini Municipality a Happy Women’s Month. Malibongwe! During Women’s Month this August, we remember and honour the bravery of the more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 to protest the extension of Pass Laws to women.
We are honoured that the Provincial Women’s Day celebration took place in Ntuzuma on 9 August. It was heart-warming to see eThekwini residents rally together to celebrate this important day. South Africa is preparing to host the BRICS Summit later this month. We are humbled that the organisers of this important gathering identified eThekwini as a host of a number of key events ahead of the Heads of State meeting. These include the meeting of BRICS Health Ministers, Women Business Alliance, and the Urbanisation Forum. We recently unveiled a new fleet for the Water and Sanitation Unit and the Parks and Recreation Unit. The new vehicles consist of 55 water tankers at the cost of R132.8 million and 30 tractors valued at R23.2 million.
We are confident that the 13 000 litre water tankers will bring some relief to communities that continue to be affected by water supply challenges in the City. This is an important milestone as it shows that we are a caring and responsive government. We are responding to the cries from communities and providing clean drinking water while we work to find permanent solutions to the water supply challenges. EThekwini residents have also complained about the poor maintenance of public spaces and recreational facilities. The acquisition of these tractors will go a long way in keeping our parks and sports fields in good condition. We also recently delivered on the promise of building a better life for all residents when we officially opened the R25 million state-of-the-art library in Tshelimyama. This facility will offer library materials such as books, newspapers, internet access, Wi-Fi, audio-visual (DVDs), gaming, and educational toys to the community. It is our hope that this infrastructure will be the pride of the whole community, who in turn will look after this asset for the next generation to also benefit.
During our recent visit to St Petersburg, we discussed a variety of issues with our counterparts with the aim of strengthening city to city partnerships. These engagements took place on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa Summit. As eThekwini Municipality, we can benefit from partnering with cities like St Petersburg in areas of renewable energy so that we can build an energy-secured city, with strong and diverse energy sources. In conclusion, as we commemorate Women’s Month may we continue to be inspired by the great struggle stalwarts like uMama Charlotte Maxeke, Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, and Albertina Sisulu among others, who dedicated their lives to fight for freedom.