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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
November 29
Strengthening the link between culture and transportation
NE of the highlights of the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) World Summit was the launch of the Creative Mobilities Initiative. The initiative is an international alliance pledge to strengthen the link and synergies between people, culture and mobility with sustainable development at the core, as leaders plan cities of the future.

Attended by about 3 000 delegates from around the world, the UCLG summit is considered the world’s largest gathering of local and regional leaders and stakeholders involved in local affairs. Preceding the launch, participants shared ideas and were introduced to tools and methods by experts which local and regional government can use to create people-centred transportation solutions.

Local and international panellists addressed some of the challenges and solutions around mobility, culture, urban and territorial strategic planning through innovative and multi-disciplinary perspectives. Robust discussions also centred on how digital technology can bridge urban and rural realities and promoting green energies in the fight against climate change.

Therefore, the summit was a resounding success as it stimulated though-provoking dialogues and offered impactful solutions to challenges faced by world leaders. On the closing night of the summit, the Mayor of Al Hoceima, in Morocco, Mohamed Boudra was elected as the new president of the UCLG.

The summit also saw the signing of UCLG’s Durban Political Declaration whereby the City recognised that the goals of Agenda 2030 are paving the way towards a new social contract, and that local ownership will be at the forefront of humanity’s future.

The declaration states that transformational change will be done at a local level and that communities in relation with their territories, need to be at the centre of decision-making to localise meaningful achievement in the global agendas and ensure a decent life and a sustainable future for the next generations.

It has indeed been an honour to host this large gathering of mayors, presidents of associations, councillors and local and regional practitioners, deliberating on the sustainability and future of our cities.We would also like to extend our appreciation to all the delegates for the valuable contributions made throughout the congress. We have no doubt that their inputs will contribute immensely in the new international agenda for inclusive and sustainable development.
November 18
New public transport era draws closer

A NEW dawn for the City’s integrated public transport network is fast approaching and excitement is mounting as GO! Durban draws closer to the operational stage. As part of an educational drive ahead of the live date, eThekwini Transport Authority (ETA) hosted a “I am Go Show” exhibition at the Durban Exhibition Centre for internal Municipal units to build capacity and expose officials to the operation. Commuters were also in attendance.

GO! Durban is set to provide a flexible, safe, cost-effective and seamless transport experience for eThekwini residents. During the exhibition, attendees were educated about the system’s features, including ticket stations and access control. They were also trained on how to access the feeder facility which will act as shuttle service, picking up and dropping off nearby passengers to and from the station to ensure their safety. Other features include a surveillance system and the incident management desk that will alert Metro Police about emergencies.

Furthermore, the ground-breaking integrated public transport system boasts top-notch technology that will allow easy access for people with disabilities. This advanced technology includes tactile crossing traffic lights and tactile paving which are able to sense when a wheelchair bound, deaf and
blind person approaches, and automatically gives them right of way.

Exciting times truly lie ahead for Durbanites as this public transport system will make life easier for many residents. An impressive 10 stations are ready to start operating with 22 standard buses and 38 drivers. The service will be available from 4am until 9pm, every six minutes during peak times and every 15 minutes during off-peak times. GO! Durban will unleash numerous opportunities for local businesses and stimulate the City’s economy. There will be less congestion on the road, extended service and dedicated security teams.

In a concerted effort to clean up Durban, I together with members of the Executive Committee and senior Municipal officials recently conducted a walk about in the inner city to assess the level of cleanliness. The walkabout focused on public transport facilities, public toilets and refuse collection.
As the new administration, we have prioritised the revamp of the inner city, as part of our bid to ensure that Durban is clean, safe and visitor friendly. This will not only change the face of the inner city, but will also assist eThekwini retain the current businesses and attract more investors.

We have put a plan in place with clear deadlines to fix all the areas that require immediate invention, including the public ablution facilities and damaged storm water drainage systems. Let us work together to change the face of the inner city.

November 05
City ready to host global officials

ETHEKWINI Municipality is playing host to three international conferences that will see more that 3500 international, regional and local government leaders converge on the City. The conferences; the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) Congress, the Global Parliament of Mayors (GPM) and the African Forum for Urban Safety (AFUS) will run concurrently between 9 and 15 November.

By far the largest of the three is the UCLG Congress, which will be jointly hosted by the South African Local Government Association and eThekwini Municipality between 11 and 15 November where 3000 delegates are expected to attend. Launched in May 2004, the UCLG is the global advocate and representative of democratic local government. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to officially open the summit. Hosting these events will give Durban the opportunity to promote itself, build its reputation as a global City and attract investment to boost business confidence and the economy.

The City is networking with global institutions to improve service delivery and promote learning and sharing. The conferences are expected to have enormous economic benefit to the City, especially in the hospitality industry. The direct visitor spend is projected to be approximately R35 million with the contribution to eThekwini’s GDP expected to be in the region of R64 million, with approximately 182 jobs to be created.

The GPM will take place between 9 and 11 November, with 300 mayors from cities around the world are expected to attend. GPM champions the role that mayors play in addressing key global challenges at a local level. Key topics for discussion will include urban migration, urban security and shaping multilevel governance on a global scale. The AFUS will be held between 10 and 12 November. This gathering brings together 300 leaders from the African continent to discuss issues of urban safety with a focus on gender-based violence and safety of women in cities.

I therefore urge all Durbanites to warmly welcome delegates arriving in our beautiful City for these conferences.

October 22
Storm water drains are not garbage bins

ETHEKWINI Municipality, like many metros across the world, faces rapid urbanisation as more people continue to flock to the City in search of a better life. However, with the steady influx of people into the City, this puts additional strain on resources as well as resulting in more waste being produced. And unfortunately, as many people are not following proper waste management practices, this waste is being washed by rain water into our storm water drainage system.

This results in roads flooding during heavy rains as the storm water system is blocked. The flooding experienced in the City earlier this year wrecked widespread devastation on both public and private infrastructure. Most of the damage caused was as a result of the system clogging due to the debris in the system, which resulted in flooding and caused extensive damage to a number of homes.

I am pleased that the City has taken a proactive stance on this issue. We are embarking on a communication campaign with the intention of changing the mind-sets of residents responsible for poor management of waste. According to the Department of Civil Engineering of both the universities of Cape Town and Stellenbosch (2000), the potential annual cost of ridding South Africa’s waterways of urban litter was estimated to be R2 billion.

This is a considerable amount of money that could be better used for service delivery. The antisocial behaviour by individuals who litter along footpaths, or throw dirt from their vehicles or even dump household waste in catchment areas needs to be stopped. The failure of street sweeping services to rid pavements and public areas of litter has also compounded the problems of the City. There are instances where the sweepers, sweep litter straight into catch pits of the storm water drainage system.

I am therefore appealing to residents to heed our messages currently being disseminated via mass media to act responsibly. They must at all times be mindful of the fact that to rid the City of litter, is not only the responsibility of the City but every resident. It needs to be brought to everyone’s attention that failure to ensure the proper disposable of waste is a recipe for flooding and the potential loss of lives. There is nothing stopping the public from initiating clean up campaigns in their areas.

Together with parents, we need to teach children at an early age responsible behaviour towards managing litter. With the rainy season upon us, it is therefore the responsibility of every resident to lend a hand in helping our City prevent the clogging of storm water drains. By working together, we can prevent blockages of our storm water drainage system and minimise the risk of flooding.
October 03
Prioritising provision of decent housing

ONE of the worse crimes the apartheid government committed in our country was the deliberate deprivation of decent housing to the majority of South African citizens. These citizens were then compelled by circumstances to build shacks closer to places of work.

This is why in its endeavour to restore the dignity of the poor, the democratically elected government has built over four million houses. EThekwini Municipality is towering above the rest as it contributes to date over 200 000 houses in this national figure. These houses are home to over one million people. Despite these tremendous strides that have been made by the City, we will never be complacent. It is why we are moving with speed to ensure that all residents have a decent roof over their heads.

I recently held a meeting with residents of Isiphingo transit camp, Uganda and Pilgrim informal settlements. This was a report back to these communities on a journey we have travelled to date regarding housing projects. Workers will soon lay down the infrastructure in the form of roads, storm water, sewerage and electricity.

What is thrilling is that the development is going to be in close proximity to places of work. This is also a clear demonstration that our City is committed to do away with apartheid spatial planning that permanently drove our people to the periphery of economic activity. During the construction phase, members of the community will have temporary job opportunities, enabling them to put food on the table. It was very disappointing though to learn the following day after this fruitful meeting that there were violent service delivery protests in the area. One of the grievances was that the Municipality has been making promises on numerous occasions and reneged. It should be born in mind that ours is a metro and as a result the demand for housing will always outstrip the supply.

The truth is that with limited financial resources at our disposal, it will always be an uphill battle to provide houses for everyone overnight. This is why I appeal to all our residents to be patient. The evidence is there for everyone to see that indeed we are doing remarkably well in providing free houses.

Violent service delivery must end if we are serious about taking this City forward. It is these service delivery protests that have ruined the image of our City and as a result we are going to lose a lot of investment. I am appealing to all our communities to partner with us. I believe in an open door policy and I have taken a decision to the effect that during my tenure, I will engage more with communities, listening and giving feedback on all development issues.

September 23
Keeping the City clean is a joint responsibility

WITH September declared a month dedicated to a creating a healthy environment free of pollution, I am proud that the Municipality is embarking on numerous initiatives to rid the City off litter. I urge residents to roll up their sleeves and meaningfully contribute to the Municipality’s efforts to keep our City clean.

A few months ago, following heavy rains experienced in the City, litter clogged the storm water drainage systems in certain areas. The ensuing widespread flooding due to the blocked drainage systems was not a result of not cleaning and maintaining the City’s vast storm water drainage system, but rather was a result of irresponsible behaviour by residents. Many people have a terrible habit of disposing rubbish anywhere. This litter is then washed into the storm water ways which contributes to flooding during heavy rains.

I encourage everyone to dispose waste correctly using numerous bins placed around the city centre as well as in all communities. From our storm water drainage system our teams are retrieving rugs, carcases of animals, rocks, used sanitary towels and many other foreign objects. Once these
items have accumulated in the system, they then impede the free movement of water resulting in the system clogging. This excess water then results in flooding causing damage to private and public infrastructure including people’s homes. It is therefore of paramount importance that before you throw rubbish out of your car window or carelessly dispose of it on the street, think twice about the consequences of your actions.

This bad habit is also a menace to the marine life that we are so highly dependent on. It was very embarrassing to see the amount of litter that was washed from our neighbourhoods into the Durban Port. This resulted in the port being shut down completely to allow for clean-up operations. Had we acted responsibly, we would not have had such an alarming amount of litter disrupting operations at one of the busiest ports in Africa. I would like to therefore call upon all residents to be crusaders against littering in their areas. By disposing litter responsibly, our future generations will inherit a more preserved earth. I also encourage the public to recycle where possible.

Let me end by sending my heartfelt condolences to the family of the late Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources Bavelile Hlongwa. In this time of bereavement, we will continue to remember the family in our prayers. Our country is indeed poorer following the demise of this unparalleled servant of the people. She lost her life while lending a helping hand to those in need. May the creator of all things be also with the families of those she perished with when the tragedy struck. May their souls rest in peace.

September 09
All hands on deck to move our City forward

​I AM INDEED humbled by the election to office to execute a monumental task of improving the well-being of our residents. As a servant of the people, I am determined to roll up my sleeves and help our City in its endeavour to eradicate the imbalances of the past we are still grappling with to this day.

Truth be told, there is a lot of work that has been done by those who came before me, but equally, we still have a long journey to travel before we reach the summit of development. I cut my political teeth many years ago as a councillor in this organisation and to me it is tantamount to coming back home. A solid foundation has been laid and all of us who have been elected to lead, should take the baton and run with it at high speed, to the benefit of those still yearning for a better life.

It would be irresponsible of me not to thank comrades that we have succeeded for they have made an indelible mark in the lives of many of our people. For the first time, multitudes of our people have got access to basic services they were deprived off by the apartheid order. Notwithstanding such a giant leap forward in development, I concede that development challenges are still there like in many metros in the country but they are not insurmountable, provided we work together.

I am here to serve all residents of eThekwini irrespective of their political orientation. I will do so by unwaveringly working with fellow councillors from the opposition. I vowed to be receptive of any ideas from them only if they would help to catapult our City. We must all be mindful that by failing to cooperate, history would permanently judge all of us wrong, irrespective who is in the majority.

It would be amiss of me not to thank eThekwini residents for not copying the unrest that we have seen in Gauteng. There is no amount of grievances that could justify violence and instability. Under no circumstances shall we allow violence directed to foreign nationals. We are fully aware of the concerns of the public in this regard and I humbly request that we allow our law enforcement agencies to deal with any unlawful conduct regarding immigration. I send my heartfelt condolences to a family in our City that lost four children, allegedly brutally murdered by their father.

We all need to unite in nipping in the bud the scourge of violence against our children and women. I commend our men and women in blue for expeditiously nabbing the suspect. I call upon our institutions tasked with dispensing justice, to mete out heavy punishment to the perpetrator, to send a clear message that our country will never tolerate this deplorable behavior. 

July 25
Mandela month should

THE United Nations officially declared former president and struggle icon Nelson Mandela’s birthday on 18 July as International Mandela Day in 2009. The whole world, on this day, remembers what he stood for through doing acts of kindness.

Everyone is urged to spend 67 minutes on the day making a difference in the lives of the less fortunate. However, let us not be confined to only 67 minutes and rather try to make a difference whenever and wherever we can. Through numerous Mandela Day outreach initiatives, the City has made a lasting impact in the lives of many residents. Our City has filled hungry tummies, painted buildings, provided clothing and toiletries and brought hygiene where there was none. I am quite certain that Madiba would be proud of our City’s contributions to Mandela Day.

We should all be mindful that our country is one of the most unequal societies in the world. Therefore we should all, in our own small way, try to help turn the tide of poverty. Let us reinstate the spirit of Ubuntu in our communities. We are after all the product of communities where a neighbour would not starve as those in the village who had enough, would not hesitate to share. I am certain that if Madiba were still alive, he would continue to share the message of Ubuntu.

His teachings must rule our daily lives if we are serious about building a better world. It saddens me to hear of large organisations disposing of food which cannot be served to customers the next day, when there is so much poverty around us. Something needs to be done to ensure the food reaches the poor and the homeless. It is my conviction that we make every day Mandela Day, which will result in our country being a better place for everyone to live. In conclusion, as a leader in the City, I would like to take this opportunity to appeal for calm at our institutions of higher learning.

There are no grievances that can justify causing damage to property. The violent scenes playing out at institutions in our City are very disturbing. It begs the question, what has happened to dialogue? When has violence ever ushered in an amicable solution to an impasse? We must all condemn these acts of violence with the contempt it deserves. While we understand that students have grievances, they must engage with university management through their student bodies. And should the need arise, they are free to protest peacefully and should not infringe on the rights of others.

Young people must remember that they are the future of this country and should be preparing themselves to take the baton from the old guard. Destroying property and resorting to violence is tantamount to sounding the death knell for our country so any sacrificed their lives for.

July 16
Hands off our workers in uMlazi

RESPONSIBLE refuse removal tops the agenda of all local authorities worldwide. If disregarded, it has a lethal potential to cause air and water pollution on an industrial scale, thus threatening the welfare of residents.

Left uncollected and rotting, it could also cause diseases like cholera, diarrhoea, abdominal discomfort and other diseases, spread via air and water. It is based on these scenarios that as the City, we saw it imperative that we take over garbage collection services in uMlazi. For a while, uMlazi residents have been bearing the brunt in a disruption of refuse removal services caused by the unbecoming conduct of independent contractors, despite our several interventions to assist. We anticipated that there would be acts of sabotage to our noble plan and I strongly condemn the attack of our workers and the destruction of our assets. I call upon residents of uMlazi to isolate rogue elements that are hell-bent on derailing our new insourcing refuse removal programme.

It would be amiss of me not to commend team eThekwini for staging yet another successful Vodacom Durban July. This is one of our flagship events that we always pull all the stops to ensure that it is a success. We are grateful to have close to 50 000 visitors attending this spectacular event. Our hotels were full and over R400 million was injected into our GDP. Hundreds of youth got temporal jobs, especially in restaurants and hotels. These mega events do not only benefit major players in the tourism industry but also the township economy, who get a slice of the big pie.

I would like to send my heartfelt condolences to a family whose 2-year-old child burnt to death in Bonela recently. I was very saddened when the news was broken to me, especially to hear that three children had been left alone and a candle is suspected to have caused the fire. The two managed to escape but the little one was not so lucky. We have on numerous occasions brought to the attention of our residents that it is the winter season and as parents we must guard against leaving children on their own because they might touch something that may spark fire. This tragedy happened just after 50 shacks were guttered by fire in Clare Estate, living scores of people homeless. I have since instructed our disaster management teams to move with speed to provide relief aid to the victims.

I am therefore appealing to everyone to use fire responsibly. Regarding Expanded Public Works Programme workers, there is no decision that has been taken to lay them off. The status quo remains and they must not listen to disinformation that is aimed at destabilising our Municipality. I subscribe to an open door policy and in the event of grievances, let us engage in a civil manner.

July 01
Let us uphold Mandela’s values

AS WE wrap up Youth Month, we prepare to welcome one of the most iconic months in our annual calendar. July is not only Moral Regeneration Month, but it is also the month when we celebrate the life of our global icon and struggle stalwart, the late Nelson Mandela. As we begin this month, perhaps it is the opportune time to reflect on our journey as a City and ultimately the country.

Let us assess whether or not we still uphold the values on which tata Mandela lived by. The values of Ubuntu and moral regeneration of a society. It has become common practice that we hear about the abuse of women and children by men, rampant drug and alcohol abuse in society and other social ills that we have become ‘accustomed’ to. As a society have we lost the plot? As community leaders, we have a responsibility to not only give guidance but to promote unity, prosperity and peace among residents. We, however, clearly understand and appreciate that we cannot achieve this alone.

We need to work with the community to help us identify and find lasting solutions to the various social challenges faced by society. Through Operation Sukuma Sakhe, we are able to have a holistic approach to tackling societal challenges. Through this initiative various government departments and community structures are able to identify challenges and their contributing factors. That way they jointly plan and map out strategies of how different communities can be provided with the necessary assistance that is tailormade for them.

As eThekwini Municipality, we also use arts, sports and recreation as a vehicle to achieve social cohesion, unity and moral regeneration. It has been proven that these activities do not only keep one’s mind and body fi t and healthy, but they also help one stay busy and prevent them from engaging in social ills such as drug and alcohol abuse, unprotected sex and crime. That is why we have invested in the construction and upkeep of sporting facilities and youth centres across the Municipal area.

We are also in the process of building heritage centres in Verulam, Mpumalanga and Cato Manor. We also have annual programmes such as eThekwini Games, SALGA Games, and Gospel ID which provide a platform for upcoming artists and athletes to showcase their talent. During the month of July, let us make a conscience decision to play a part in the moral regeneration of our society. Tata Mandela once said: “A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.” Let us uphold his legacy by creating peace and love in our society.

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