ON 27 and 28 September I was privileged to lead the eThekwini delegation attending the Local Government Summit convened by Minister of Cooperative Governance Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in Johannesburg. The purpose of the summit was to strengthen and support local government as per section 154 of the Constitution. In terms of the act, national and provincial governments are obligated to support and strengthen municipalities to manage their own affairs and perform their functions.
In fulfilling this mandate, Minister Dlamini-Zuma reminded us of the words of the late former President Nelson Mandela during the 1996 inaugural Local Government Summit. He said: “You have the task of doing whatever is necessary to ensure that our new local government system serves the needs of our communities. You have the responsibility to make their voice heard and to provide an effective instrument for them to improve their lives.” As the leadership of eThekwini Municipality, these are not just words but an ethos that should linger in our minds and hearts as we endeavor to change the lives of people. We returned from the summit energised to take the Municipality to another level.
This vigor will be translated into the campaign we have developed to change the landscape of the inner city and secondary towns. It is unfortunate that we have been facing persistent load shedding as a country. This has an adverse effect on business and the economy of the City. We reassure eThekwini residents that technicians will continue to work tirelessly to attend to all reported electricity faults which are a result of prolonged loadshedding. This is the same message we conveyed to captains of industry last week at the quarterly CEOs Forum. Established five years ago, this platform is designed to strengthen the partnership with the business sector and to promote a positive investor climate in the City.
The business community has welcomed the interventions we have made to restore basic services following the floods in April and May which destroyed infrastructure. We will soon be announcing further interventions the City is making to repair damaged sanitation infrastructure which has led to the closure of some beaches. The business community has lauded the efforts government is making to unlock major infrastructure projects through the District Development Model. The presence of Head of the Investment and Infrastructure Office in the Presidency Prof. Kgosientsho Ramokgopa at the CEOs Forum demonstrated government’s commitment to working with the business sector to unlock investment. Professor Ramokgopa indicated that government has set aside funding to assist municipalities to invest in bulk infrastructure for catalytic projects. To access this funding, municipalities must submit a business proposal to Infrastructure South Africa.
Our efforts to clean the City are continuing with teams on the ground daily clearing illegal dump sites, fixing potholes, repairing water leaks and addressing sewer spillages. We encourage communities to partner with us as we clean the City and to join the anti-litter movement. Change starts us.