To see how hard working Ward Councillors go about their jobs, see Ward 2 councillor, Dean Biddulph’s newsletter below. Scroll down to see the contact Details for Ward 2:
I hope that the content of this latest edition of the Ward 2 newsletter remains of interest and helps keep you all abreast of what is happening here in our ward and in the greater metro community.
Having read the weekend newspapers whilst sheltering from the miserable weather, I had a moment to reflect on the current state of affairs in our home town and more broadly within the country as a whole.
What came out of this was cause for serious concern – something is going very, very wrong in our country.
When the president of our country can spend, without conscience in excess of R200 million rand of public money on his personal property in Nkandla, then something is very wrong. We seem to be accelerating on a course toward the classic African basket case, governed by “big men” who see absolutely nothing wrong with abusing the state treasury for personal gain whilst millions suffer the daily indignity of bucket toilets, and for whom the struggle to even put a crust of bread onto the table is a stark reality.
What worries me is that we may rapidly be running out of time and what, if anything, will be left to salvage when power is eventually wrested from the ruling party. What future will there be for our children for surely we are only the custodians of our country for future generations.
Closer to home – last year we missed an absolutely golden opportunity to win this metro. We missed being able to govern this metro as a senior coalition partner by conceivably as little as 12 000 votes. When one stops to consider for a moment that in current DA held wards, approximately 42 000 REGISTERED voters did not turn out to vote. Did you vote, or were you one of the 42 000 ?
Had a quarter of these people voted, I may well have been writing a completely different letter to you today because so much more could have been accomplished were we afforded the opportunity to take the wheel.
What disappoints the most is that in any casual conversation when the question is raised, did you vote in the last election, there are always a number of people who will answer in the negative. Many did not vote, many were not registered to vote.
The unshakeable truth is that the only salvation for out metro and indeed our country as a whole is for each and every person who is eligible to vote, to make sure they are registered to voter, and on the day, to get out and exercise that most fundamental of civic duties. Only your vote stands between us as a successful metro and what we are now being forced to endure daily as service delivery rapidly unravels. Only your vote stands between us as a proud and successful nation bursting with possibilities or the barren alternative future as yet another African failed state.
In closing, you don’t have to be one in a million – you only need to be one in 12 000.
Ward 2 News:
- Further delays in appointment of Municipal Manager
- Arrears in Nelson Mandela Bay now total R1.03 Billion
- Slow start to spending of Metro’s capital budget
- KFC Summerstrand application turned down
- Metro puts second tranche of plots up for sale in Summerstrand
- Property prices steady in Summerstrand according to FNB Property Barometer
- Service Delivery JOC (Joint Operations Centre) – How to report your complaint
- Kings Beach Upgrade – Algae bloom update
- Beachfront/Airport to be on the Integrated Public Transport System pilot routes
- Green light given for refurbishment of beachfront Promenade
- Humewood only PE beach with Blue Flag status this year
- Transnet plans to expand vehicle export capacity by 338% through PE Harbour
- Transnet to thoroughly investigate future use of PE port
- Next phase of Bayworld upgrade put out to tender
- BAYWORLD on the agenda in Bhisho and in metro council
- Landslide win for for DASO in NMMU SRC elections
- Scoping report finalised for new Manganese export terminal
- New Ngqura manganese terminal will be ready for 2016
- Four months before valuation appeals completed
- Traffic Matters
- Ward Inspections
The appointment of a new municipal manager for Nelson Mandela Bay has been postponed again, with the closing date for applications for the position having been now extended to October 12. The closing date for applications for the position of Chief Financial Officer has also been extended to the same date. Applications have also not yet been advertised for a number of executive directors’ positions that are vacant.
The municipal manager’s position has been filled in an acting capacity since July 2009 when Graham Richards took special leave to allow an investigation into alleged service delivery failures to take place. The CFO’s position has been vacant since Kevin Jacoby took up a similar position with the City of Cape Town Municipality earlier this year.
The extension of the closing date means that Themba Hani, appointed by Eastern Cape Local Government and Traditional Affairs MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane, will continue to serve in an acting capacity. Selwyn Thys, head of Budget and Financial Accounting, continues as Acting CFO.
In terms of the initial time frames adopted by Council on August 30, approval of the new municipal manager and CFO were to have been put to Council at its next meeting on October 11. A report to Council on the last attempt to fill the vacancy, initiated on October 27 last year, states that there were 32 applicants for the position of municipal manager of which four were shortlisted.
The original intention had been for the new municipal manager to take up his position from December 1 although that date is now likely to be changed to January 1 due to the inordinate delays and it remains the position of the DA that without the appointment of a qualified, suitable candidate to this position, that the metro will continue on its current rudderless course.
Arrears debt for property rates and service charges in Nelson Mandela Bay totalled more than R1 billion at the end of June, according to a report submitted to the Budget and Treasury Committee in August.
With interest of R215.4 million, the total amount owed stands at R1.25 billion. The figures show that the amount owed to the municipality increased by R36.6 million between the end of 2010/11 and the last financial year, with Government at R17.1 million contributing nearly half of this.
Budget and Treasury have produced figures for the past five years in the report that show that apart from the 2008/09 financial year, arrears have grown, increasing by R340.6 million over the five year period. A total of R130.4 million of the debt has been outstanding for five years or more while in excess of 50% has been owed for between one and five years.
The report stated that currently there are 23 665 business accounts worth R284.4 million in arrears – 30 days or older. Of the total amount, R143.1 million was connected to insolvencies and liquidations or matters that were being defended.
Government departments owe R40.4 million on 451 accounts, the report said letters are written at the end of every month to among others, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Premier Noxolo Kiviet providing them with a schedule of overdue accounts, adding that as a last resort power to administration offices, stores and government houses is disconnected.
With regard to domestic accounts, the report states that because of the large number – 103 813 accounts were in arrears at the end of June 2012 – only 15 000 are contacted each month because the staff complement is inadequate.
Disconnection/restriction takes place automatically after 21 days, it said adding that the legal process of recovery had currently been suspended following a Constitutional Court ruling that final demand letters were invalid if not personally delivered in some form.
The municipality had spent just R7.1 million or 0.7% of its capital budget of R1.087 billion for the 2012/13 financial year by the end of July, according to a report submitted to the Budget and Treasury Committee. Seven departments had spent nothing by the end of the first month of the new financial year. The capital budget is funded from government grants, internally generated funding – the Metro’s allocation from the fuel levy and public contributions.
No capital expenditure is funded from borrowings with Acting Chief Financial Officer Selwyn Thys stating that the municipality has “exhausted its borrowing capacity and therefore cannot take up any loans for at least the next two financial years”.
The Human Settlements Directorate has recommended that an application by KFC to purchase land on the corner of Admiralty Way and Strandfontein for an outlet be refused. In a report to the Human Settlements Committee, the Directorate notes that the approximately 2 800 square metre plot is zoned for public open spaces.
It says surrounding properties are zoned for single residential, town house complexes and business purposes. It added that a residential area is planned “to satisfy different community needs” that can be social, recreational or economic. The property, it concluded was therefore required to meet these needs.
The Metro’s Human Settlements Directorate has called for tenders for a further 12 residential plots in Summerstrand Ext 14. This is the second tranche of plots to be put out to tender by the Metro. The plots in Coral Street, Gomery Avenue and Birhan Street have an upset price ranging from R330 000 to R340 000 plus VAT.
Last year, the first tranche of 10 plots in Summerstrand were advertised following the lifting of the moratorium on the sale of any land owned by the municipality.
With regard to the sale of the 10 plots, Acting Municipal Manager Themba Hani told Council in reply to a question that 10 competent tenders had been received and three sales were in progress. The price for the plots, he said, ranged from R370 000 to R420 000.
Hani said the other seven plots would be re-advertised in September, adding that there were new supply chain regulations that “may have an effect on the tendering processes”.
The FNB Property Barometer indicated recently that property prices in Summerstrand over the preceding seven year period had increased on average by R300 000 from approximately R1.4 million to R1.7 million, and apart from a dip in 2011, have remained largely constant since 2007.
Prices in Summerstrand for sectional title properties have in fact dropped by approximately R100 000 over the past seven years, according to FNB.
Kindly note that the following processes need to be followed when logging complaints with the Service Delivery Call Centre (JOC).
There are two options to log a complaint:
- Phoning the Service Delivery Call Centre (0800 20 50 50)
- Emailing the Service Delivery Call Centre (firstname.lastname@example.org).
NB: When phoning please ask for the name of the person you are speaking to (the Call Centre Agent) and insist on being given a reference number for your complaint.
The following information is needed:
- Problem Address:
- Complainant (the name and surname of the person logging the complaint):
- Phone (very important, as the relevant NMBM Official needs this number to make contact with the complainant):
A reference number will be provided by the Service Delivery Call Centre, once the complaint has been logged on the EDAMS System.
Once the complaint has been logged and a reference number has been assigned to it, we at the Joint Operations Centre (JOC) send the details of the complaint to the relevant Sub-Directorate for Service Delivery. This is Stage 2 (Sent to station)
The relevant official in the Sub-Directorate is asked to contact the complainant to confirm the complaint and arrange for the complaint to be seen to. The JOC representative is to be informed of the arrangements made, in order to update the EDAMS System by placing the complaint in Stage 3 (Problem Found / Under Investigation) Once the official has seen to the complaint and confirms that the complainant is happy, the official is to send a written (email) confirmation to the JOC representative. The complaint then can be closed off by moving the complaint to Stage 6 (Job completed / No Further Processing Required).
The algae bloom that has proliferated within the new water body situated at the Kings Beach Upgrade site has been the subject of many phone calls and e-mails to me as the councilor for this area.
The water body is currently in the middle of a treatment protocol that has seen the introduction of a microbial product into the lake. The microbes are intended to compete with the same food source as the algae, ultimately resulting in the algae being starved of nutrients where after it will die.
Chemical or chlorine treatments were not an option as the water from the lake is also used for the irrigation of the grassed areas and would have been harmful to the turf.
The process has been quite complicated as the dosage has been difficult to accurately calculate specifically because the entire water body is turned over approximately every two weeks.
The treatment, whilst slow is finally beginning to show results and I am confident the correct balance will be restored, resulting in a clean pond in time for the Summer Season.
Two of the proposed pilot routes for the Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS) will link beachfront hotels with the airport.
A report to the Nelson Mandela Bay Council proposed that the “Airport Shuttle” should operate seven days a week between 6am and 8pm from the airport to 5th Avenue Summerstrand. In addition to the newly constructed stops, the buses will also use the existing curbside stops.
The shuttle will be in addition to the other seven routes linking the Port Elizabeth CBD with the Triangle, Coega, the university and airport, as well as the Uitenhage CBD with Des-patch and KwaNobuhle. The IPTS is scheduled to start in late October 2012.
The long term plan is for the IPTS to reduce pressure on these routes by taxis and busses, resulting in less congestion.
The Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism has given formal authorisation for the construction of a “seawall” and concrete refurbishment of the existing promenade on the Port Elizabeth Beachfront.
In issuing a positive Record of Decision, the Department said the promenade was “significantly degraded and is in dire need of structural repair. “If repairs are not affected timeously, there is a strong possibility that the promenade and adjacent road network will collapse.”
The Department notes that the new improved “seawall” had also been designed to take into account sea-level rise and storm surges. It noted that the rehabilitation of the promenade “will ensure the protection of Marine Drive from the sea as well as assuring continued safe access to the beach for the public. “The rehabilitation will also lead to improved recreational usage of the area of beach and improved tourism opportunities for the area.”
Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk announced the names of beaches that will be flying a Blue Flag over the summer season recently, saying that the number of beaches enjoying this status had risen from three to 36 over the past 12 years.
Speaking at the launch of the Blue Flag season, Van Schalkwyk said that as the number of qualifying beaches grew, “domestic visitors are increasingly exercising their choices in which beaches to visit and, as with international trends, our Blue Flag beaches are becoming ‘the beach of choice”.
The fact that this metro has seen a decline in Blue Flag status over the last three years from four to one is indicative of the continued lack of funding due to the ongoing mismanagement of resources within the metro and the lack of commitment to what is one of our biggest potential revenue earners and job creators – the beachfront.
Transnet plans to expand its vehicle export capacity by 338% over the next seven years to 648 000 units by 2018/19, the parastatal’s CEO Brian Molefe said at a Business Chamber briefing on 03 August 2012.
Speaking at a breakfast organised by the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber, Molefe said vehicle exports were projected to increase from 240 000 in the current financial year, adding later that the figures were based on interacting with the motor industry. He said there would be a “huge increase” in exports, adding that the industry itself was surprised by the strength of the export market.
With the Port Elizabeth Harbour a major exit point for vehicles, Molefe said that the terminal at the harbour would be expanded, occupying the space vacated by the manganese facility when it is relocated to the Coega Industrial Development Zone.
With regard to the export of manganese for which the construction of a dedicated export terminal at the Port of Ngqura is scheduled to start in January 2014, Molefe said the volumes would increase by 144% over the next seven years from 4.8 million tons a year to 11.7 million tons.
In total, Molefe said, R25.9 billion would be spent in the South Corridor over the next seven years, the vast bulk of it either in Nelson Mandela Bay or, as with the upgrading of the rail link with the Northern Cape, tied to developments in the Metro.
Transnet National Ports Authority is looking to appoint a Port Planning and Development Manager for the Port of Port Elizabeth who will look at, among other things, future land use proposals.
The provincial MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, MEC Mcebisi Jonas, has also provided funds for the municipality to carry out a study on possible future land uses, looking specifically at making a strong business case for a waterfront development.
The future use of the port is the focus of attention following confirmation that the manganese facility and oil tank farm will be relocated to the Coega Industrial Development zone by 2016/17. Port Elizabeth Port Manager Rajesh Dana told a public engagement meeting recently that the land on which both facilities stand would have been rehabilitated by 2019.
The possibility of a waterfront development has not been specifically ruled out, although Transnet envisages Port Elizabeth as the country’s premier automotive terminal (see article above) and one of the areas for which the successful candidate will be responsible is the development of new capacity at the car terminal.
The person will also be responsible for managing integrated planning with the Metro as well as provincial and national government and Transnet and “ensuring that port developments form part of broader economic planning”.
Tenders have been called for the next phase of the upgrading of the Bayworld Complex.
The Eastern Cape Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture Department has provided R10 million for the next phase of the work that will be used for the revitalisation of the snake park and the “new reduced footprint of the aquarium”. Museum exhibitions will be upgraded and the display hall refurbished.
In addition, the R10 million will also be spent on:
- Revitalising the exterior and interior of the museum building
- Upgrading electrical systems
- Refurbishment of infrastructure and the upgrading and expansion of the education programme
- Restoration and expansion of re-search infrastructure and equipment, and
- Expansion of tourism partnerships to improve PR and marketing.
In order to make the facility more attractive to the public, Bayworld will spend R3.3 million on large tank aquaria, providing for underwater viewing of sharks.
It also plans to improve the penguin and seal display; expand the dinosaur park, constructing and installing robotic dinosaurs, and upgrade the palaeontology gallery and display on global warming.
The future of the Bayworld Complex was recently been placed on the agenda for the sitting of the Bhisho Legislature and a Nelson Mandela Bay Council meeting on October 11.
In questions submitted by Bobby Stevenson MPL for reply by the MEC for Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture, MEC Xoliswa Tom was asked whether an agreement had been signed between her department and Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism for the future administration of Bayworld.
The agreement would transfer administration of Bayworld to Economic Development in terms of its development as a tourist attraction and employment generator. The intention is then for the Mandela Bay Development Agency to drive the re-development of the complex.
Questions were also put on the Council Agenda with regard to the current status of Bayworld and what the causes of the delay were in finalising the agreements between the Province and Metro.
In addition, Acting Municipal Manager Themba Hani was asked which department in the Metro is responsible for finalising the process and when will authority would be delegated to Nelson Mandela Bay to engage the MBDA as the implementing agent.
Landslide win for for DASO in NMMU SRC elections
On Wednesday 19 September 2012, the Democratic Alliance Students Organisation (DASO) won a landslide victory in the student elections at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
In this election DASO increased its seats on the SRC from 11 to 16 out of a possible 21 seats. DASO secured victory on every campus and faculty positions with 7 out of the 8 Oppidani Council seats. The election witnessed the highest voter turnout in the University’s history with more than 6000 students turning out to vote to guarantee DASO’s re-lection.
The magnitude of the DASO win shows that young South Africans have embraced a future that offers them hope and opportunity. This result will send political shock waves throughout the Eastern Cape because it clearly illustrates that young South Africans have turned their backs on the ANC aligned South African Students Congress (SASCO).
What started out as a peaceful election was disrupted by SASCO when their supporters stormed the “student kraal” and grabbed one of the ballot boxes. IEC officials and other students were intimidated and university property was damaged. SASCO’s disgraceful response to democratic free and fair elections is a symptom of their attitude of entitlement to leadership at tertiary institutions across the country. This undemocratic behaviour must be condemned in the strongest possible terms and disciplinary action must be taken.
This election also illustrates massive support for DASO’s delivery whilst in office and it is hoped that this result will inspire students across South Africa to rally behind DASO to make a meaningful difference, not only in the lives of students on campuses, but also give them the hope that change is on the way.
The Final Scoping Report for the manganese export terminal at the Port of Ngqura and associated infrastructure in the Coega Industrial Development Zone has been published for comment, marking another step in the process that will see the existing facility in the Port Elizabeth harbour relocated to Coega.
Port Elizabeth Port Captain Rajesh Dana told a community engagement meeting that the initial date for relocation of 2016/17 “will be met”, with the new export terminal at the Port of Ngqura and other infrastructure operational by the first quarter of 2017.
He said the new facility would be able to handle up to 22 million tons a year. Rajesh said decommissioning of the existing facility in the Port Elizabeth Harbour and rehabilitation of the land would take 21 months, adding that the NPA was “very confident that the land will be available in the second quarter of 2019?.
That coincides with the timeframes within which the land on which the current tank farm stands will have been rehabilitated. The Basic Information Document for the project states that the construction and commissioning phases of the project will take approximately 36 months.
Manganese will be ferried to Coega from Hotazel with the rail line being upgraded to be able to carry heavier
The new manganese terminal to be constructed at the Port of Ngqura would be completed by the 2016/17 financial year according to Transnet CEO Brian Molefe.
Speaking at the presentation of Transnet’s Annual Results, Molefe confirmed that the current facility in the Port Elizabeth Harbour is to be relocated in 2016.
On the decision to have a dedicated rail link between the Northern Cape and Coega Industrial Development Zone for manganese, Molefe said a study had shown that a maximum volume of 92 million tons a year could be ferried on the line between Sishen and Saldanha – this would have to be shared between iron ore and manganese.
This would mean that the volumes of iron ore would be limited. It therefore made sense to have a dedicated manganese line linking Coega with the Northern Cape, he said, adding that the cost of having a separate line was in fact less because of the volumes that could be carried as a result. It was necessary therefore because of the volumes that had to be ferried.
Ratepayers will be advised on the new valuations on their properties in February next year, according to a report submitted to the Budget and Treasury Committee.
The tender for the next General Valuation was awarded in January to e-Valuations and the contract signed in March this year. The report says e-Valuation has now “moved on site” and started with the General Valuation. The first phase, which will run until the end of September, involves the compilation of a market report and the conducting of sales reviews – the field review for non-residential sales is 70% complete and that for agricultural 85%.
Further, data collection of all non-residential properties is 50% complete and for single residential properties 33%. Verification of sectional title properties has also started.
The second phase will start in October and entails the submission of the Draft Valuation Roll; final calibration of Computer-Assisted Mass Appraisal models; value reviews and quality assurances. The Final Valuation Roll will be submitted on February 1.
Metro Budget and Treasury estimated it would still take another four months before the review process that is part of the 2008 General Valuation is completed. In a report to the Budget and Treasury Committee in early August, the Directorate stated that 382 cases were reviewed in June and on this basis it was assumed it would take a further four months to complete the 1 694 cases still outstanding.
The Directorate said that the Appeals Board does not meet on a regular basis which has contributed to the limited progress made. It has suggested that consultation with Mayor Zanoxolo Wayile ahead of the appointment of the next Appeal Board should be used to ensure it operates differently with the 2012 Valuation process. Illegal Dumping at Telkom Park – Update, area cleared
The sudden recent proliferation of illegal dumping at the rear of the Telkom Park boundary in Strandfontein Rd has been cleared.
In addition, plans are underway to close off access to this rea to prevent further dumping from taking place and town rangers will be patrolling the area and making use of CCTV monitoring to ensure that anyone responsible is caught and prosecuted.
Traffic matters are dealt with on an ongoing basis – should you have any specific areas of concern, please bring these to my attention so that I can assist. Problem areas currently receiving attention remain the entrance to The Boardwalk casino, taxis and speeding along Beach Rd and La Roche Drive.
I still undertake regular ward inspections with representatives from metro parks, traffic, electricity, beach office, metro environmental. During these inspections various problem areas continue to be raised and possible solutions and interventions considered for implementation.
Should you have anything that you wish to include into the ward tours, please let me know and I will include your concerns into my interactions with officials.
Thank you as always for your interaction and for bringing ward matters to my attention.
I must extend a special thank you to seasoned journalist Patrick Cull for his excellent daily publication, Metro Minutes, from which much of the material for this newsletter was sourced. METRO MINUTES is an electronic up-to date daily newsletter sent out between 12 noon and 2pm from Monday to Friday on decisions taken by the Nelson Mandela Bay Council and its committees, in addition to business developments within the Metro.
It is available on a paid subscription basis at R50 a month or R500 for the year. To receive this newsletter, send an e-mail to: email@example.com
Please advise if I can assist with any Council or Ward matters.
Cllr Dean Biddulph
Article source: http://mype.co.za/new/2012/10/ward-2-news-october-2012/