On 11 April 2014 the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitam Mayor, addressed invited guests and media, in the Feathermarket Hall, on the State of the Metro.
This is his full unabridged speech: (Click here to rate the SOMA Address)
Good Evening, Molweni, Goeienaand
Firstly, I wish to pay tribute to a hero and heroine of the struggle who passed on yesterday. I refer to Mrs Mthimkulu, the mother of the former leader of the Congress of South African Students, Siphiwo Mthimkulu, and Oom Joe Claasen, a veteran who have played an important role in our struggle for liberation. May their souls rest in peace.
Speaker, I am profoundly honoured for the mandate to present the State of the Metro Address before this august Assembly at this momentous time – celebrating 20 years of Freedom in South Africa. This is an august assembly comprising the political leadership, citizens, ward committees, representatives from different sector groupings; civil society formations and residents of Nelson Mandela Bay. May I extend a special word of welcome our newly elected and recently inaugurated Ward Committees who are in attendance today.
My address by its very nature reflects on the journey travelled since 1990, as well as to present the activities and programmes of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality, which were designed, through its various portfolios and directorates, to give maximum assistance and support to benefit all our residents.
In 1996, local government elections extended the vote to all residents, finally bringing to an end over 150 years of segregated municipal government. Every resident was now a citizen of Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and Despatch, culminating in the establishment of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipal area in 2000.
As representatives of diverse communities in Council, expectations were immense, and signalled the final break from the past towards change. The new leadership reflected this spirit, with Councillor Nceba Faku assuming office as the first democratically elected Mayor of Port Elizabeth.
The 1996 elections ushered in the start of the major restructuring of local government in the greater Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and Despatch area, which ultimately led to the formation of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro in 2000.
Speaker, when my team and I assumed office in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality in March 2013, we were assigned a special mission, namely to stabilise the institution, both politically and administratively. I am glad to report that we have managed to fill all top management positions that were vacant, save for one Executive Director position, that will be filled in May 2014.
I deliver this State of the Metro Address in the absence of our founding father and former President, His Excellency, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, who passed away on 5 December 2013, on the eve of the 20th year celebrations of South Africa’s freedom and democracy. In our grief, we take solace from the fact that the name of our Municipality will help to keep his memory alive.
This area has produced men and women of distinction, who provided leadership during the struggle for liberation. We are also particularly proud of Enoch Sontonga, writer and composer of our National Anthem, “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika”, who is a son of Uitenhage. Speaker, the richness of the struggle history and legacy of Nelson Mandela Bay and the broader Region is not properly acknowledged. We think here of sons and daughters of our soil, such as Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, Florence Matomela, Lillian Diedericks, Vuyisile Mini, Bryce Motsamai, Zola Nqini, George Botha and many others. As we celebrate, it is right and fitting that we pay tribute to their enormous contribution to our freedom and liberty.
Today, we also honour the memory of municipal Councillors who passed away while actively serving Nelson Mandela Bay and their constituencies. We will all vividly recall the tragic event of January 2012, when the Council and communities of Nelson Mandela Bay suffered the loss through a car accident of three ANC Councillors, Councillors Gumenge, Lose and Ngqondi. More recently, in December 2013, we suffered the loss of another dedicated Councillor, Councillor Kwitsana. We also pay tribute to a former Chief Whip, Councillor Mike Nzotoyi, who also passed away. As a permanent tribute to all 51 Councillors who have served the residents of Nelson Mandela Bay and passed away since 1994, the Municipality will establish a Garden of Remembrance in their honour. In addition, the renaming of streets, parks and halls in their memory will also be considered. The Municipality is currently engaging with the bereaved families to ensure that our plans are in accordance with their wishes.
Speaker, after one year, it is fitting to take stock of the twelve months over which my Mayoral Committee and I have had the privilege of serving Nelson Mandela Bay. When I took office on 22 March 2013, my team and I committed ourselves to real, vibrant and sustainable change to address the many challenges facing the Metro and the institution.
At the very first Council meeting at which I officiated as Executive Mayor, I announced the roll-out of a 100 Days of Action Plan. This plan saw a broad diversity of projects come to fruition in areas such as human settlements, waste management and local economic development, addressing our residents’ most pressing needs. This 100 Days of Action Plan gave life to my declaration in my acceptance speech that my team and I would build a caring society, deepen democracy, and make our Metro work. I am satisfied that we hit the ground running, as it were, and made a difference right from the start.
Interface with Civil Society Coalition
Speaker and citizens of our Metro; before I give a proper account of our service delivery record, it is of paramount importance for me to report on our relationship with the Nelson Mandela Bay Civil Society Coalition under the chairmanship of Mr. Mandla Madwara.
Last year in May, two months after we assumed office, we learnt that Civil Society Coalition structure had been established. This structure approached the Speaker with a view to address Council, and the Speaker progressively afforded them an opportunity to engage with Council.
The submission to Council focused on a number of concerns and complaints from the members of the Coalition, in their capacity as citizens and citizen groupings such as churches, business and NGOs. Many of these issues related to governance and the direction in which the Metro was heading. Once concern related to the untested theory of political interference in matters of administration. As the Mayoral Leadership was new in office, I needed ample time to investigate and reflect on the issues raised by the Coalition. My administration also identified the opportunity to work closer with a number of stakeholders who formed part of the Coalition.
My team and I then decided to engage and focus on the following key issues:
1. Administrative stability and the appointment of a competent City Manager and Executive Directors.
I am glad to announce that this has been achieved, with only one appointment still to be finalised as I table this State of the Metro Address.
Furthermore, a professionally competent Audit Committee has been appointed, under the Chairpersonship of Mr Duanne Adams.
2. Metro operations and commitment to Civil Society.
It is gratifying to report that we initiated strategic dialogue with the Civil Society Coalition, towards open and free discussions on the matters raised by them and afford them a platform to contribute to the good governance and growth and development of the urban space in which they live and continue to do business.
3. Built environment and alleged imposition of winter tariffs to subsidise electricity losses.
In an unfortunate development, high energy users took the Municipality to court, on the basis of inaccurate information about our electricity tariffs. I cannot comment any further on the matter, as it is still sub judice, however, it is our commitment to ensure that the cost of doing business in the Metro remains competitive and affordable.
Earlier studies conducted have confirmed that the cost of doing business in this Metro is low compared to all other South African Metropolitan Cities.
Our officials are working collaboratively with the Civil Society Coalition and its constituent member, South African Property Owners Association, in showcasing that our turnaround times for processing rezoning applications and approving building plans are much more efficient than in other Metropolitan Municipalities in the country.
Furthermore, we have made a commitment to Civil Society that, in May, we will sign a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen our relationship and as an indication of our commitment to address their concerns and those of the public.
As a result of our engagement with Civil Society and its constituent member, the Business Chamber, we have agreed that, before the proposed dialogue in May, I will set up an Infrastructure Funding Task Team, comprising members of Civil Society at large and the Municipality. This Task Team will look at projects that are contained in our Integrated Infrastructure Development Plan and mobilise funding with relevant institutions, including other spheres of government and parastatals.
This confirms that we as an administration are committed to work with all structures of Civil Society. It will not only be misleading, but mischievous for any social force to create the impression that this institution is suffering from leadership paralysis and non-responsiveness. We remain true to all commitments we have made to our strategic partners in the Metro. Let us engage openly and honestly and never lose sight our strategic agenda of building a racially united Metro that can provide in the needs of current and future generations.
It will serve us no political or economic purpose to tell the world that there is a crisis, yet we fail to speak about our challenges without proposing solid and vibrant home grown solutions.
We have a very good story to tell as a democratic government that is deeply embedded and grounded in our communities and is championing their service delivery needs and priorities.
Basic Service Delivery
Speaker, it is an indisputable fact that over the past twenty years, this democratic government has tangibly and visibly transformed the lives of countless residents and provided them with access to basic services such as water, electricity and housing. Furthermore, we have transformed the aesthetics of many of our townships and continue to steer development to change their bleak landscapes and restore the dignity of our people. Speaker, we make these claims of remarkable progress in service delivery achieved over a short period of 20 years, without any fear of contradiction. No-one can realistically claim that they would have done better than the ANC-led government, and no-one will ever do better than this government. Let me hasten to add the argument that other governments needed almost 300 years to manage their transformation; the transformation of South African society is a miracle of our young democracy, in that after only 20 years we are in a position to report great transformation and progress achieved in the realm of service delivery, public sector institutions and the transformation of the economic landscape of our country. These milestones attest to the fact that our transformation has been spectacular by any standards.
Integrated and Sustainable Human Settlements Development
It is important to highlight that this democratic government has given 34 851 title deeds to RDP homeowners over the past twenty years. Furthermore, this government, which is passionate about restoring the dignity of our people, has given 62 367 old housing stock to the former tenants of a capital discount scheme. The Municipality is aware that quality housing is the number one priority of most residents of Nelson Mandela Bay. The institution’s commitment to the provision of houses is reflected in its Housing Delivery Plan. It should be noted that the Municipality’s goal is not merely to provide housing, but to create settlements providing all residents with access to a full spectrum of services and amenities, such as clinics, libraries, parks, sports fields, schools and shopping centres.
Over the past eight financial years, the Municipality built 28 800 houses. We are deeply aware that the rate of housing provision should be increased, given the extent of the existing housing backlog. All other basic municipal services, such as the provision of water and electricity, follow the provision of proper housing. In this regard, the Municipality is eager to become a fully-fledged housing provider and is working towards receiving full accreditation (Level 3), which will enable it to become a much more active player in the field of human settlements development. Level 3 accreditation will enable our institution to deliver housing to our communities speedily, as funding will come directly from National Treasury.
A key priority of the Municipality has been the relocation of thousands of residents living in dangerous and unsafe areas, such as floodplains and refuse dump sites. Concerned for their survival and health, the Municipality introduced a formal relocation plan which, over the past eight financial years, has seen the Municipality relocating 8 324 families from these dangerous areas.
Many of the Metro’s poor are concentrated in informal settlements. While the formal housing provision process is being rolled out, the Municipality has prioritised the upgrading of informal settlements to ensure that our poorest, most disadvantaged and vulnerable communities can access services and an improved quality of life. Over the past five financial years, 24 informal settlements were upgraded.
The Municipality’s Human Settlements Plan, adopted by Council on 6 December 2012, is the cornerstone of Metro-wide integrated housing development. Government provided subsidised housing, commonly known as RDP housing, caters for those households earning below R3 500 per month. Government has introduced other instruments for households earning above R3 500 per month, such as Social Housing and Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP) housing.
The Municipality provides support by making land available and facilitating application processes in the realisation of Social Housing and FLISP projects by accredited social housing institutions. We are very proud of the progress made with social housing. Altogether 347 social housing units have been rented out to qualifying beneficiaries at Walmer Links, which is an award-winning development. On 1 April 2014, 40 beneficiaries took occupation of the social housing units at Fairview Links. Those who desire to own their own homes, have also been catered for. In terms of the subsidised home ownership programme, 128 housing units are available for purchase at Walmer Links, while more such units are to be developed at Fairview Links in the near future. I can safely say that concrete strategies have been put in place to address these challenges.
We have in the past couple of months experienced protests within communities in Walmer, Motherwell and, recently, in the Kwa Langa area of Uitenhage. For the remainder of our political term, we will focus on the following deliverables:
- Formalisation of informal settlements through the upgrading of 3 new Greenfield areas and 12 in situ development areas.
- The provision of an additional 3 000 housing units to qualifying residents towards eliminating the housing delivery backlog. This entails the provision of top structures, with the accompanying water and sanitation services.
- Relocating 3 600 households from stressed and dangerous informal settlements and other servitudes to Greenfield developments.
Provision of water and sanitation
Speaker, focusing on the vital issue of water, the Municipality provides its residents with safe drinking water that complies with both national and international standards. Our water is tested on a weekly basis, to ensure compliance with water quality standards. Samples for testing are taken at over 100 points throughout the Metro.
Over the past five financial years, altogether 32 094 local households were connected to water and sanitation. 100% of our households have access to drinkable water within a 200 meter radius. In this regard, 440 standpipes were provided in local communities over the past five financial years.
With the expansion of the water services in terms of the Housing Programme, there is more pressure on our current bulk water resources. The Municipality has commenced with the Nooitgedaght Low-level Scheme to bring much-needed water to the residents and the business sector of Nelson Mandela Bay. Phase Two of the Nooitgedaght Low-level Scheme is scheduled to commence in June 2014, with Phase 3 to follow.
The high percentage of water losses in Nelson Mandela Bay is cause for concern. The Municipality is aware that water leakages at schools are a major contributor in this regard. Recently, the Municipality undertook a pilot project at approximately 17 local schools to repair water leakages. This initiative by the Municipality was highly successful in terms of water conservation, the significant reduction in the Department of Education’s Water Bill, and improved ablution facilities provided to learners. Engagement with the Department of Education for the further roll out of this programme is underway.
We encourage our citizens to use the Call Centre number, 0800 20 50 50 and we will popularise this number and run a campaign to this effect.
Speaker, from a sanitation perspective, the Municipality is committed to eradicate the inhumane and humiliating bucket system that is still in use in a number of local communities. To date, the Municipality has improved access to sanitation to 91%.
Since 1994, the number of buckets in use has been reduced from 37 000 to 20 900. Currently, we are piloting the provision of eco-friendly ablution block facilities, in terms of which poor communities are provided with communal toilets, showers and wash basins. Lighting, security and cleansing services will be provided at these facilities. If successful, this project will be rolled out, bearing in mind that this will be a temporary solution only, while the housing programme, which incorporates water and sanitation services, is being rolled out.
The following informal settlements will benefit from water-borne ablution facilities in the next 3 to 5 years at a cost of approximately R80 million:
- Nkatha Seyisi
- Church Village
- Walmer Areas
- Vista Village
- Timothy Valley
- Kabah Langa
- Malabar Extension 6
- Silver Town
- Masakhane Village
- Ngwendu Street
- Pola Park
- Airport Valley
The eco-friendly light steel ablution facilities could also result in the establishment of a factory in Nelson Mandela Bay, which will enhance sustainable job creation in the area.
Provision of electricity and energy
I am pleased to report that 100% of households in the formal demarcated residential areas of Nelson Mandela Bay have access to electricity. Over the past eight years, altogether 26 791 erven were connected to electricity. In addition, the Municipality has installed nearly 90 000 hot water load control connections in domestic geysers to manage the Metro’s electricity demand, especially during peak periods.
To date, the Municipality has installed over 28 925 solar geysers in local households. Furthermore we provided solar panels to a number of childcare facilities, clinics and stadiums. This initiative is saving residents a minimum of 90% of the costs of electricity used for water heating purposes. Between the period 2000 to 2013, the Municipality has installed altogether 6 514 street lights in Nelson Mandela Bay, covering all 60 municipal wards.
Within the energy domain, we are also faced with the enormous problem of cable and electricity theft (“izinyoka”). This problem will be eliminated only through partnering with our communities, which are the victims of such theft, as it often leads to electricity interruptions. I appeal to our communities to protect and safeguard the municipal assets in their midst. Please identify and report the culprits, such as the scrap-yard dealers that buy these cables, as well as the thieves themselves. From our part, the Municipality is addressing the critical challenge of electricity losses through a strategic loss reduction programme. This programme, which was introduced earlier this year, will inter alia focus on issues such as efficiency in electricity distribution.
The Municipality has been recognised as a pioneer in alternative energy efficiency through an international award that it received earlier this year, worth R1.1 million, which will be used to roll out our energy efficiency programmes in other areas of the Metro.
Provision of waste management services
The Municipality provides 99,99% of households within the urban edge with a domestic waste collection service. The remaining 0,01% of households that do not receive a domestic waste collection service are located in areas that have no formal layout or no road infrastructure.
In an effort to combat the high levels of illegal dumping in the Metro and to assist residents with excess garden waste, bulky waste and recycling, the Municipality established 3 transfer sites, 17 drop-off sites and 42 temporary skip sites.
Key to reducing the littering defacing our Metro is an increase in the frequency of collection in the areas served by wheely bins. This has been prioritised in terms of a Council resolution and the implementation of the Municipality’s Elimination of Illegal Dumping Strategy, as well as the new Waste Management Act. The required refuse trucks are being purchased. Progress is being made, as is demonstrated by the fact that Helenvale was recently converted from a bi-weekly to a weekly service. It is foreseen that a number of areas will follow suit in the current financial year, with all areas converted to a weekly collection service over the next three financial years.
Speaker, I am pleased to report that the Municipality is currently in the process of implementing ward-based community contracts in the form of cooperatives, aimed at empowering local communities to take care of their own environment and the creation of localised poverty alleviating jobs. In addition, a major cleaning drive involving approximately 900 community members, mostly youth, is being run through the Expanded Public Works Programme.
Provision of parks and beautification
Speaker, the Municipality has a Tree Planting and Beautification Programme running, which also includes the beautification of municipal gateways. Over the past five years, the institution planted 7 887 trees. The Municipality also regularly maintains public open spaces and municipal parks for the wellbeing and enjoyment of our residents.
Provision of environmental management services
A key mandate of the Municipality is educational and awareness programmes. We encourage our residents to always act responsibly towards the environment, their own well-being, water and electricity conservation and waste minimisation. I am pleased to report that applications for environmental impact assessments are now being fast-tracked and that the expedited process has already had a positive impact on service delivery.
Devolution of primary health care services
Speaker, the provision of primary health care is no longer a municipal function since its devolution to the Provincial Government in 2012. However, as we reflect on our performance in service delivery over the years, we take pride in the fact that over the past eight years, there were no botched circumcisions or deaths related to traditional circumcision. Pre-circumcision medical screening has been introduced, further reducing the risk to the health of our young men.
Provision of roads and stormwater
The provision of quality roads and stormwater is a key priority area of the Municipality. Unfailingly, every year, when we visit our communities to establish their needs and priorities during our IDP and Budget public participation programmes, residents tell us that they need proper, tarred roads. Over the past four financial years, the Municipality tarred 104 km of roads, 219 culs-de-sac, 70,17 km of sidewalks, and provided 20,64 km of stormwater drainage.
Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS)
The Municipality’s long-term goal remains to provide the commuters of Nelson Mandela Bay with efficient, reliable and safe public transport of world-class standard. A pilot project was implemented along seven routes to test the Integrated Public Transport System. This pilot project recently came to an end, and we are currently negotiating with the local taxi industry and the Algoa Bus Company regarding the conclusion of long-term contracts. The institution is also engaging closely with National Treasury and the National Department of Transport. One option being considered prior to the roll-out of the twelve year negotiated contracts, is the provision of a starter service, to initially run in Uitenhage, Cleary Park and from the CBD to Summerstrand.
Provision of safety and security services
Speaker, to ensure the growth and development of Nelson Mandela Bay and to restore the dignity of our people, it is vital that we make the Metro a safer and more secure place. Crime in all its manifestations does not only destroy lives, but also affects our economy. Reducing the prevalence of crime in our communities will require an integrated and cooperative approach. In this regard, I am pleased to state that the Municipality has established close cooperative relationships with the South African Police Services, other law enforcement agencies and volunteers.
To help fight lawlessness and to help us implement our by-laws, the Municipality is in the process of envisioning and planning a Metro Police Force. In this regard, a positive development, on 1 February 2014, was the appointment in our Municipality of the first female Municipal Police Chief in the country.
CCTV cameras, primarily placed along the beachfront and in the Central Business District, serve as major crime deterrents. The importance of proper disaster management in Nelson Mandela Bay was underlined during the floods and fires that ravaged some our communities over the past two years. Early warning systems have been introduced to give prior warning of pending disasters. Our disaster management activities are channelled through a main disaster management centre and eight satellite offices.
Inner-city rejuvenation and township development
Speaker, over recent years our Central Business Districts have been transformed before our very eyes. This inner-city rejuvenation is being undertaken by the Mandela Bay Development Agency, which is the developmental arm of the Municipality. While the mandate of the MBDA was initially to focus exclusively on the inner-city areas of the Metro, it has since been extended to the rejuvenation of our township areas, in which the harsh realities inherited from the Apartheid era are still all too visible. We are determined to change the bleak landscape that is so characteristic of these areas and introduce hope, dignity and beauty into the environment of our townships.
Key strategic projects
Speaker, Nelson Mandela Bay needs to take note of a number of key strategic projects that are currently ongoing and that will collectively change the face of the Metro and improve the quality of life of our residents.
Allow me to highlight a few:
- The Njoli Square Re-development – This project will see the development of a Civic Centre, supported by public transport and commercial facilities. The total value of the project is R289 million and the estimated completion date is June 2017.
- The Fountain Road (Walmer) Upgrade – This project entails the establishment of a community park and the construction of a new Youth Centre.
- Motherwell Urban Renewal Programme – In 2002, Motherwell was identified as one of eight nodes country-wide for the implementation of the National Urban Renewal Programme. The roll-out of the Programme has changed the face of Motherwell and included major projects such, as the construction of the Motherwell Thusong Service Centre, the Ikamvelihle Pedestrian Bridge, and Phase One of the Motherwell Peace Park.
- Helenvale Urban Renewal Programme – This project focuses on the transformation of the face of Helenvale through the provision of facilities and amenities, as well as socio-economic development. Milestones include the completion of the Helenvale Multi-purpose Centre and the provision of two community parks. The Department of Roads and Public Works committed R5 million to this urban renewal programme.
In addition, the Municipality has identified, through a schedule of Vision 2020 projects, a number of key mega-projects that will serve as catalysts for transforming Nelson Mandela Bay into a world-class Metro with an even broader array of attractions and assets. These include an International Convention Centre, the North End Coastal Development project, the Uitenhage Aerodrome, the Freedom Precinct and Statue of Liberation, the Waterfront Development and the revival of Bayworld and the Apple Express.
Local Economic Development
Like all cities and areas of South Africa, Nelson Mandela Bay still grapples with the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment, highlighting the vital importance of local economic development. Of particular concern is the high rate of youth unemployment, which is a world-wide phenomenon. In this regard, the Expanded Public Works Programme and the Community Works Programme continue to be a cushion for the poor and youth of South Africa and also Nelson Mandela Bay. Over the past five financial years alone, this institution created 10 861 full-time equivalent jobs and 53 709 work opportunities through the Expanded Public Works Programme. In January 2014, as I previously stated, the Municipality introduced an Environmental Ward-based Cleaning initiative, creating an additional 900 work opportunities.
A key prerequisite to improving the lives of our residents and restoring their dignity will be making our Metro a more attractive place for investors. The economic challenges that we face, can be addressed only in partnership with the local business sector and other stakeholders. To this effect, we are deeply committed to build highly productive partnerships with a broad spectrum of civil society organisations through a social compact to promote the economic growth and development of Nelson Mandela Bay. A very positive development in securing the desired cooperation and engagement was the establishment of the Nelson Mandela Bay Investment Council in 2013 under the chairmanship of the Deputy Executive Mayor, in which local business chambers, economists, investment promotion agencies, NGO coalition, the religious sector, government and labour serve. The main purpose of the Council is to advise on and provide strategic direction in all investment and business retention initiatives in the Nelson Mandela Bay Region. The full functionality of this Council will be prioritised in the months ahead.
We are slowly but surely recovering from the international and local downturn in the economy. This is illustrated by a spate of recent investments in Nelson Mandela Bay, such as the Call Centre by Discovery in Coega (to the value of R15 million). The Call Centre has already created 500 jobs to date and is expected to create another 200 jobs by 2016. Another major investment was the establishment of a manufacturing facility by Lighting Innovations in Greenbushes (to the value of R46 million), which saw the creation of over 115 permanent jobs. The agro-processing facility established by Clover in Perseverance (to the value of R100 million) has created over 100 jobs, with more job creation potential once the cheese factory is operational. Building on our strong tradition of automotive manufacturing, we are very excited about the massive investment of R280 million by the Chinese automotive giant, FAW, in the Coega IDZ. In the first phase of the project, over 500 jobs will be created, with more jobs to be created during the second and third phases. Another very exciting prospect is the investment of R570 million by the pharmaceutical company, ASPEN, in North End, which will result in the creation of over 100 permanent jobs. The N2 Nodal Development Retail Shopping Centre, commonly known as the Baywest Mall (to the value of R2 billion) will be a major boost for the local economy and is expected to create more than 1 500 jobs.
The Municipality’s commitment to poverty eradication and job creation is demonstrated by its focus on strengthening and capacitating local entrepreneurs, including tour operators, cooperatives and emerging small businesses. We want to help residents become active participants in the local economy. In this regard, the Municipality annually provides training and support to an average of 655 emerging entrepreneurs and over 30 cooperatives.
A myriad of societies and associations are active in all spheres of civil life in Nelson Mandela Bay. They play a vital role in enriching and enhancing the lives of our residents, whether in health, sport, education, arts or culture. The Municipality has been supporting these societies and associations for many years through annual grants. A Donations Policy was recently developed to strengthen relations with non-profit organizations, particularly those that strive to improve the lives of the poor.
While remarkable progress has been made over the past twenty years in improving the plight of our people and entrenching democracy, the reality is that many of our people are still poor. To assist them in accessing basic services, thereby improving the quality of their lives, the Municipality has an Assistance to the Poor Scheme (ATTP) in place, in terms of which poor households within Nelson Mandela Bay are provided, on a monthly basis, with a minimum level of free water, electricity, rates, sewerage and refuse removal services. In December 2013, altogether 84 642 local households were benefitting from the Scheme.
Provision of sports, arts, culture and heritage
Speaker, as we develop and grow Nelson Mandela Bay, it is right and fitting that our Metro visually reflects our rich history. Some historians claim that Nelson Mandela Bay could rightfully be called the struggle capital of South Africa. In this regard, we are proud of Route 67 in Central, a heritage route that pays tribute to Dr Nelson Mandela and his 67 years in political life. The Route leads residents and visitors along some of the Metro’s most beautiful and historical architecture and monuments and spotlights artwork of different kinds.
Our township areas are rich in sites and buildings closely associated with our liberation struggle. We have to preserve their unique history and powerful stories before their historical significance is lost forever. As we develop the Mandela Peace Park in Motherwell, we should not lose sight of the fact that Motherwell was the first place in the Eastern Cape that Dr Nelson Mandela chose to visit following his historic release from prison.
We have upgraded heritage sites such as the Langa Memorial and the Emlotheni Memorial Park. I call upon our communities to take ownership of what the Municipality delivers and become our social partners in preserving and protecting our infrastructure.
Nelson Mandela Bay is fast becoming a preferred destination for key national and even international sporting events. Our temperate climate and broad range of sporting facilities, such as the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, have seen us become the host city to signature events such as the annual IRB Sevens Rugby Tournament. The institution has assisted many sportsmen and -women to realise their dreams, by providing them with support and equipment, enabling them to compete in regional and national events. Sporting codes that we assisted in this way include boxing, karate, football, rugby, table tennis, judo, basketball, netball and cricket.
The provision and maintenance of sports facilities in our communities are key focus areas of the Municipality. We are proud of the new swimming pools provided in the Zwide and KwaNobuhle areas and the three multi-purpose sports facilities we provided in Wells Estate, Govan Mbeki and Soweto-on-Sea. The upgrading of the Wolfson Stadium is nearing completion.
Nelson Mandela Bay is rich in talent and it is critical that we develop all art forms prevalent in the Metro to retain such talent within the Eastern Cape. In this regard, the development of facilities in the townships, close to the people, is critical. We are delighted that we are finally proceeding with the development of the Mendi Multi-purpose Centre in New Brighton. A cultural centre is also envisaged for Motherwell and an arts centre for KwaNobuhle.
Municipal Financial Viability and Management
Speaker, sound financial management underpins any successful modern institution. The Municipality has introduced a number of strategies and programmes to strengthen and enhance its financial position.
These have resulted in the following:
- An increase in the cost coverage ratio, which is an indicator of the available cash and investments that can cover the monthly payments of the Municipality, from a low of 0,49 months of cost coverage in June 2011 to 1,76 months at the end of February 2014.
- The average annual collection rate of the Municipality is consistently above 90%.
- Over the last three financial years, the rate of spending on capital programmes was consistently over 90%, except for the challenges experienced with the IPTS project expenditure in 2012/13.
Speaker, allow me to highlight just a few key focus areas to which funding will be allocated from our Capital Budget in the next three years:
- R90 million towards the eradication of the bucket system.
- R60 million towards the electrification of both formal housing and informal housing (in properly pegged areas).
- R621 million towards the provision of internal reticulation services for housing delivery.
A feather in the cap of the Chairperson of our Budget and Treasury Standing Committee, Cllr Balu Naran, and the Councillors and Officials supporting him is the recent Provincial Vuna Award won by the institution in the category best performance in revenue collection. Municipal services are expensive to provide, and we will intensify our efforts to further improve on our revenue collection rate. In this regard, Councillors need to consistently create awareness in their Wards of the importance of paying for municipal services. The growth and development of Nelson Mandela Bay depends on this.
Good governance and public participation
Speaker, the Pikoli Report is still to be tabled in Council accompanied by a Process Plan, which will be executed by the Metro leadership. With regard to the Kabuso Report, the action plan developed to address issues raised will be validated by the Metro Leadership. The Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) will monitor the implementation of the resultant action plans of both reports.
Speaker, the term of office of the members of the Municipality’s Audit Committee recently came to an end, and a new Audit Committee was established. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the members of the Committee and to wish them everything of the best for their term in office. Thank you for agreeing to put your knowledge and expertise at the disposal of the Municipality. I extend my hand to you in an earnest appeal to work together with the Municipality to strengthen internal controls and assist us in our quest to reclaim our unqualified audit status and attain a clean audit. In this regard, the Municipality is committed to the monthly monitoring of the implementation of Audit Action Plans (AG findings and Internal Audit investigations).
Speaker, the recent successful Ward Committee Elections have paved the way for the establishment of a functional Ward Committee System. In our audience today, we are graced by the presence of Ward Committee members representing all Wards. I cannot overemphasise the importance of their role in making democracy work at grassroots level. I wish to thank you for being willing to avail your time and energy to serve your communities and our beloved Nelson Mandela Bay.
Speaker, I am pleased to advise that the institution is on track towards the adoption of a credible and people-driven Integrated Development Plan and Budget in May 2014. The draft versions of these documents were adopted by Council in March 2014 and underwent the second round of public participation over the period 3 to 10 April 2014.
The Municipality has a vibrant international relations programme in place, to exchange knowledge, experiences and best practices. Active partnerships are in place with the following sister cities: Gothenburg, Sweden; Ningbo, China; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Annaba, Algeria; and Tyne and Wear Museums, Newcastle, North East England.
Our oldest and most successful international sister city partnership is with Gothenburg, Sweden. In terms of the current partnership term, the focus is on an important issue which has long been identified as a challenge in local government, namely the gap between policy and implementation.
Speaker, with regards to service delivery, our plans for the remaining term of office (two and a half years) are as follows:
- Training and support of 105 SMMEs in export trading, and the training of 1 500 entrepreneurs and 150 tourism businesses.
- Supporting 45 food gardens to sustain the livelihood of poor households.
- The continued provision of free basic services to qualifying households.
- Maintaining the current Blue Flag status of Humewood and King’s Beach and securing Blue Flag status for Hobie Beach.
- Events-based support to 600 local artists in Nelson Mandela Bay.
- Call for proposals for all strategic areas of investment, economic growth and development, events and service delivery envisaged projects at the beginning of every financial year by all relevant directorates, with effect from July 2014.
- Roll-out of NMBM‘s Sports Master Plan (2014 – 2019) to secure the upgrading of existing sports facilities.
- Creation of 25 500 work opportunities through the Expanded Public Works Programme to alleviate poverty, unemployment and social inequality.
- Placement of 120 unemployed graduates in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and awarding 75 bursaries, in line with the Scarce Skills Plan of the Local Government Sector Education Training Authority.
Despite the successes that we have highlighted, we continue to face real challenges:
- Economic stagnation: Nelson Mandela Bay has consistently been the weakest performer of South Africa’s largest metropolitan areas over the last decade. The aggregate gross value added (GVA) in the Metro was R54 billion in 2012, only 28% higher than the R43 billion recorded in 2004 (2005 values), while the other large Metro’s recorded gross aggregate growth upwards of 40% over the same period. The automotive sector, while resilient, is considerably less dynamic than those in Tshwane and eThekwini. Unemployment and dependency ratios are higher than in other Metro’s. Confidence in the future of the local economy is declining sharply, with a massive drop in the number and value of building plans submitted, reflecting declining private investment in productive capacity and residential accommodation for a future workforce.
- Developmental pressure: Nelson Mandela Bay has been one of the best performing Metro’s in delivering a “social package” of housing services, supported by reticulation and bulk infrastructure networks. Recent StatsSA data on multidimensional poverty confirms the remarkable improvement in the quality of life of the residents of our Metro. However, this has been achieved at the expense of investment in infrastructure maintenance and the provision of economic infrastructure, where there are now significant expenditure demands. Simultaneously, community demands for improved services are ongoing.
- Declining local resource availability: The Metro does not have the resources to finance its current or future investment needs. Although its financial position has stabilised, non-payment for services continues to grow. Infrastructure investment is therefore now entirely funded from national grants. Significant future risks also exist in the over-reliance on (declining) electricity revenues and higher than average tariffs for small volume service users (i.e. wage earning households).
It is against the backdrop of these challenges, in particular the declining economy, that I now wish to address the house on the long-term vision and the short- to medium-term strategic agenda of this administration.
Strategic agenda for the remainder of the political term
Speaker, Councillors of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, citizens of our beautiful Bay, it is important to envision the kind of Metro and the urban space we want current and future generations to live in. As we are doing that, we must make sure that today’s generation does not deplete the resources and erode the infrastructure that will be needed by the generations of tomorrow. Our development has to be modelled around a trajectory of sustainable growth. It is therefore important that this leadership embarks on the journey of developing a Metro-wide development strategy that will outline the kind, look and feel of the Metro we want to have in 30 years’ time.
Speaker, all over the world, cities are undergoing major changes and data indicates that in this century, the rate of urbanisation will continue to increase. With most cities today populated by young people with aspirations for a better future, how cities adapt to this as well as other city phenomena will be central to their sustainable growth. Today, cities have to compete for people’s choices of the places in which they want to live, work, play and invest. Thus, cities are focusing on becoming smarter in terms of infrastructure, people, economy, environment and technology.
In the South African context, poverty, inequality and unemployment could potentially undermine the gains of our democratic freedom. It is therefore imperative to have one vision that talks to the aspirations of a better South Africa, as articulated in the Freedom Charter in 1955. In this regard, an authentic vision can mobilise diverse, interested parties behind a cause and is also central in realising the goal of the envisioned Nelson Mandela Bay.
In the context of city planning, the 1998 White Paper on Local Government articulates the vision for a developmental local government in South Africa which, to this day, remains relevant for the Metro. More recently, we have seen the adoption of a national vision – The National Development Plan 2030, to which the Metro will also need to respond. Therefore, as the Metro moves forward in consolidating the gains of a democratically free South Africa, we need to go to our communities and ask them a key question: “What is your imagined Nelson Mandela Bay in 2045?” Our citizens’ voices will outline the key expectations that will drive the transformation agenda of the Metro moving forward. Importantly, the voice of our citizens must be central to any visioning process driven by a meaningful stakeholder engagement process.
To this effect, we will be publishing the terms of reference for the development of the City-wide Development Strategy, Vision 2045, of the Metro. However, it is imperative to focus on the short- to medium-term of this Vision. This must be predicated on the existing strengths of the Metro. Speaker, you will recall that the Metro continues to be a major player in the automotive and related industries and is currently host to 50% of the international automotive sector of original equipment manufacturers in the country. However, the Metro has not used this strength as a catalyst for growth in other industrial and commercial sectors such as fisheries, agriculture and tourism. Given the recent developments in the global economy, the excessive dependence on the auto sector presents risks to the long-term growth of the region.
Nelson Mandela Bay is the only Metro in the world with a Greenfield port surrounded by open land for development. However, while the Metro has seen major investments taking place at the Coega Industrial Development Zone and the Port of Ngqura, these are occurring in the absence of a coherent city development programme. In other words, the investment programmes in the Metro do not dovetail into a single and coherent growth strategy.
Investment in bulk infrastructure, such as major roads, bulk water and electricity, has remained sub-optimal and has not kept up with other major cities in the country. This could potentially constrain the growth of property, commercial and industrial development that are necessary to sustain growth. We will implore President Zuma during his visit to the Metro to encourage the formation of partnerships with National Departments to help us implement our Integrated Infrastructure Development Plan to support growth and development. This support must speak and relate to the performance of the national economy.
I take this opportunity to present to our audience the short- to medium-term agenda of the Mayoral Office:
- Township infrastructure investment programme: The Metro has bulk water and electricity infrastructure, which was put in place more than 40 years ago. This infrastructure was differentiated in line with the Apartheid policy of inferior infrastructure for the African majority and their settlement spaces. This Township Infrastructure Investment Programme must balance the need for long-term and sustainable bulk infrastructure for the townships and the immediate need to create short-term jobs for the youth.
- Economic infrastructure: The Metro has to pay particular attention to the requirements of the existing infrastructure with respect to the availability and maintenance of transport and electricity. Creating linkages between the current investments by Transnet and PRASA in the Ports and the Railway infrastructure and the Metro’s network is critical. The Metro needs to provide concrete support to the programme of Coega IDZ in securing electricity generation capacity to support energy intensive industries. This will reduce the costs of raw material for the advanced manufacturing sector in the Metro. This programme will also entail a review of the existing logistics platform and the broadband network. World-class logistics and a broadband network are critical ingredients to the success of local businesses in accessing the global trade platform.
- Transport infrastructure: The transport network of the Metro has also lagged behind in terms of growth compared to other cities in the country. The resources required to invest in a new transport network are massive and may not be affordable in the short term. It is, however, critical to ensure that a long-term transport network plan is put in place. The objective of this plan is to ensure that the movement of people and goods in the Metro is made seamless and does not place an additional burden on poor workers. This warrants joint planning with the Coega IDZ to ensure greater linkages and the optimal use of resources. It is, therefore, proposed that the Metro develops a joint programme with SANRAL, Coega IDZ, PRASA and the DBSA to put together this plan.
- Property development programme: The Metro must compete with other cities in the world in the provision of industrial and consumer properties. The location of the Metro along the coast presents an opportunity to compete with world coastal cities such as Paris, London and New York. It remains a concern that property development projects in the Metro have been proceeding at a snail’s pace. We have also exploited the relocation of the Port to the new Port of Ngqura. It is urgent that the Metro, jointly with Transnet, develops a strategy to use the old Port of Port Elizabeth as a catalyst for property and economic growth.
- Development of city planning and marketing capacity: Through its agencies, National and Provincial Government have invested significant resources in the Coega Industrial Development Zone and the Port of Ngqura. Transnet has built a new container terminal and is currently revamping the rail network from Gauteng and the mines in the Northern Cape. The objective of these investments is to ensure that the Metro’s ports are used as gateways of the South African economy. However, the Metro must prioritise maximising this role as a gateway in its operations and investment decisions. These investments in rail and port capacity must be integrated in all metropolitan planning processes. As a response to this, we will upscale the Metro’s planning capacity to ensure that our growth path is informed by development.
In repositioning the Metro amongst other major cities in the world, it is important that a marketing strategy be developed to communicate this new emerging role. This marketing role is different from an advertising campaign. It has to mobilise fellow citizens behind the strategy of repositioning the Metro. We must also make strategic use of the global manufacturing companies located in the Metro. The history of the Metro as a key sporting destination must also be maximised and promoted.
To give life to this short- to medium-term strategy of the mayoral leadership, a team of urban development and economy practitioners will be appointed, aided by a group of experts from parastatals such as Coega, DBSA, SANRAL and Transnet. This team will package the intervention projects, develop the business plans, mobilise funding within and outside government in order to lay the foundation for accelerated growth in our Metro.
I have also observed that our SMMEs are not happy with the level of support that we, as Municipality are giving them. We intend to establish a business support facility to support SMMEs and upcoming business endeavours.
The attributes of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business and Investment Facilitation Centre will be the following:
- High level of integration of small business practitioners and support institutions under one roof.
- The inclusion of a business facilitation wing in the Centre to support the facilitation of investments in the Nelson Mandela Bay area.
- An innovative funding facilitation model to fund small to medium sized businesses requiring funding.
- The inclusion of a tender advice centre to assist entrepreneurs in completing tender documents, tender training and linking small businesses to tender opportunities in the Metro.
- We also want to give life to our Memorandum of Understanding with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University to encourage the institution to develop training packages that will aid entrepreneurs to sharpen their skills and make them more resilient in the business environment.
Maqabane, zidwesha zakowethu, ixesha lokuthetha liphelile. Masithatheni izandla zethu sixoveni udaka, amade ngawetyala.
Let us together move Nelson Mandela Bay forward. I extend my hand to you in partnership.
Ndiyabulela, I thank you.
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