THE tourism sector was negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the civil unrest, and the floods earlier this year. However, I am glad to update residents that we have bounced back as the City continues to host major events to boost the tourism and arts sectors.
Recently, an estimated 74 000 visitors descended on our shores for the MTN 8 Cup Final match as well as the Gcwalisa Spring Picnic. The direct spend was R10.7 million, with a contribution to the City’s GDP of R21.4 million with over 4 200 jobs created. We are steadily returning to being a prime tourist city. Ensuring that residents and visitors enjoy a clean and safe city, we have been ramping up our cleanliness efforts in the central business district (CBD) and townships. We are clamping down on illegal dumping and non-adherence to the City’s bylaws. We have declared war on those who dump illegally and slapped a well-known Durban sportswear company with a R5 000 fine for illegal dumping.
On a recent walkabout, I gave Municipal officials one week to clean Vusi Mzimela Road between Mayville and Cato Manor. This road forms part of our tourism route. This is part of the Municipality’s drive to keep all parts of the City clean. We are taking a tough stance on employees who are failing to perform their duties. Ratepayers expect the Municipality to deliver quality services. I have requested City Manager Musa Mbhele to implement consequence management for employees who are derelict in performing their duties. We are working hard to rejuvenate the CBD and I am happy to announce that the Municipality has approved an R60 million budget to build infrastructure for informal traders.
This is part of the Municipality’s plans to support and recognise the important role the informal sector plays in growing the City’s economy and job creation. Through a consultative process, the Municipality has completed a review of the Informal Economy Policy which was adopted by the Council in September. The Policy will serve as a guide and support structure for the informal economy sector until 2028. It will go a long way to ensure the sector is not overlooked when the Municipality formulates its business plans and allocates budget for various programmes. Gender-based violence (GBV) is a scourge in our communities.
To change mindsets, we hosted the second Men’s Council Sitting hosted by the eThekwini Men’s Sector. The event was attended by men of all ages with the aim of driving social change within communities. The Municipality has organised several activities that will go beyond the 16 days of No Violence Against Women and Children campaign. We believe that the fight against GBV should be 365 days.