The 2012/2013 budgetary process is already in full swing and I would urge you to take part in the public participation processes rolled out by the metro therein. Please remember that it is YOUR money and that YOU have every right to voice your opinion as to how it should be spent.
Nelson Mandela Bay Metro: Minister must step in to end chaos in transport system
The following press statement was distributed at a press conference hosted in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro on 20 April 2012 by DA Shadow Minister of Transport Ian Ollis MP, DA Nelson Mandela Bay Metro Caucus Leader Leon de Villiers and Caucus Spokesperson Knight Mali.
“…The Minister of Transport, S’bu Ndebele, needs to step in to end the chaos surrounding the implementation of the Nelson Mandela Bay Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS). Significant public funds have been invested in the IPTS in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro. An initial grant of R520 million was provided through the Public Transport Infrastructure and System Grant programme in the run-up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The 2011/12 to 2013/14 budget of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality allocated R985 million to the IPTS.
Despite this injection of funds, the full implementation of the IPTS system continues to be delayed and the inappropriate infrastructure that has been put in place has become a source of frustration for businesses, drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
Metro Mayor Zanoxolo Wayile is blocking all efforts from the Democratic Alliance and civil society groups to get information on the reasons for the continued delays in the roll-out of the system and the possible rehabilitation of unsuitable infrastructure.
The IPTS system is currently being run as a “mayoral project”. But because national funds have been invested in the IPTS system in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, and large budgets continue to be allocated to the project, we believe that it is time for the Transport Minister to institute a ministerial inquiry into the matter.
During my visit to the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro today, I saw examples of traffic lanes that have been obstructed by IPTS infrastructure and the lack of space for trucks to turn and do deliveries in the North End business district. I was also struck by the vacant buildings that have become characteristic of the Govan Mbeki area, where many labour-intensive businesses have been forced to relocate as a result of disruptions caused by IPTS construction processes and their disastrous outcomes.
The majority of buses that have been purchased for the project remain mothballed as the project continues to stall.
The DA Caucus Leader in the Eastern Cape, Leon de Villiers, has consistently called for greater accountability on the IPTS project. The Council has to date refused to debate the issue, with the mayor himself blocking DA questions on the matter.
Reports indicate that the Infrastructure and Engineering Directorate told the Council last week that only 4% of the R200 million capital budget for the IPTS had been spent by February 29 – four months before the end of the financial year. Budget adjustments still to be approved by the Council reflect the roll-over of R125 million of this budget to the next financial year. The risk of wasteful expenditure remains high as officials will likely scramble to spend the remaining budget of R67 million.
Without appropriate public participation and greater transparency on implementation the weaknesses of the current system are likely to remain.
The Municipal Public Accounts Committee has called for a report on the IPTS, detailing the consequences of the delay, potential subsidy losses and a recovery plan to be submitted to the Infrastructure and Engineering Committee by 31 May.
Minister Ndebele must ensure that this plan answers key questions relating to the project, including:
- The reasons for the delays in the implementation process;
- processes followed in appointing contractors and steps taken to avoid potential conflicts of interest; commissions paid and budgeted;
- new timeframes for completion of routes and stations;
- the programme for public consultation; and
- what remedial steps will be taken to ensure more efficient roll-out of the BRT system.
If the deadlines are not met and important questions left unanswered, it may be time for the Minister to call for a formal inquiry into the matter.
Minister Ndebele cannot stand idly by as millions of rands in public money are injected into a project for which there seems to be no effective oversight and that has not created any clear benefits for citizens.
The Minister must ensure that this project is run transparently, that there is sufficient accountability and that it contributes to quality and affordable transport for all. If it does not, the responsible parties must be brought to book…”
Acting Municipal Manager’s Contract Extended
Acting Municipal Manager Themba Hani’s contract was extended for a further three months at the beginning of February 2012. The extension was requested by Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Zanoxolo Wayile. In a letter to Wayile, MEC for Local Government and Traditional Affairs MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane states that he has approved the extension, adding that his department will continue paying Hani’s salary during his secondment with the municipality making up the difference between this and the amount earned by a municipal manager.
Water – Stepped Tariffs Remain
Residents are allowed to use hose-pipes and sprinklers to water their gardens only between 16:00 and 10:00 daily. In addition, the washing of driveways, cars, roofs and buildings may be undertaken but only with a high pressure cleaner. The metro has taken a decision that stepped tariffs will remain in place to encourage users to remain frugal with their consumption as we are in a water stressed region. I have included the latest tariffs for your information at the back of this report.
Electricity Tariffs up 11.03% in Metro Draft Budget
The electricity tariff in the metro will increase by an average of 11.03% from July 1 this year, in terms of the draft budget proposals to be presented. Property rates and water, sanitation and refuse tariffs it is proposed, will increase by 13% from the same date.
Total operating revenue for the next financial year increases by 11% or R728 million to R7.3 billion compared to the Adjustments Budget for 2011/12. For the outer two years of the three-year Medium Term Expenditure Frame-work (MTEF) period operational revenue increases by 5.1% to R7.7 billion and 11.4% to R8.5 billion. Total operating expenditure for the next financial year amounts to R7.6 billion resulting in “a budget deficit of R320 million”.
The major operating expenditure items for 2012/13 are employees costs at 24%, bulk electricity and water purchases (30%), general expenses (12%), grants and subsidies paid (5%), repairs and maintenance (6%) and depreciation (10%).
The capital budget for the next financial year is R1.8 billion which is 46% more than that 2011/12 Adjustments Budget.
Probe into aborted Ward Committee Elections
A formal investigation into the aborted ward committee election process is underway and is expected to be concluded by March 2012. The probe is being conducted by an independent investigator. A report to Council stated that the investigation will determine “who was responsible for the failed ward committee nomination and election processes and who should be held accountable for fruitless and wasteful expenditure”.
Further, the investigator will be required to make recommendations on what disciplinary steps should be taken, including formulating a set of charges, and make “appropriate determinations” for financial misconduct and recovery of expenditure on the failed process.
Rezoning Process Explained
A Charlo resident recently received a letter from the NMBM in respect of a nearby rezoning application. The resident concerned requested that I explain the rezoning process to him including his right of objection.
The applicant will firstly summit his application together with the prescribed fee to the Metro. The application is thereafter advertised in the local media. The Metro is compelled to issue notices to interested and affected parties such as surrounding residents and the ward councillor.
Interested parties have the right to submit their objections or letters of support to the Metro within the stipulated time period. Thereafter the application will be considered by officials within the Housing and Land Directorate, taking into account all representations received. The department then makes a recommendation in respect of the application which is subsequently forwarded to the Housing and Land Portfolio Committee for consideration.
The Housing Land Standing Committee have the responsibility to approve or decline any application after due consideration and have the authority to overrule recommendations made by the department. Once the matter has been dealt with at standing committee level it will be referred to the Mayoral Committee for consideration before the matter is finally put on the Council Agenda.
In my experience it is extremely unusual for any decision taken by the Mayoral Committee to be overturned at a Council level. Should any councillor be unhappy with the decision taken by the Mayoral Committee he or she has an opportunity to address council in calling for a review on such an item. If the majority of Council supports the review, the matter will be referred back to the Mayoral Committee. If the review is not supported, the item shall be approved and a letter to the effect shall be sent to the applicant.
The only avenue still available to any objector after the approval of an application for whatever reason would be to appeal the decision taken by Council with the office of the MEC for Eastern Cape Local Government and Traditional Affairs in Bhisho.
The whole process should generally be finalised within a matter of months. However certain appeals have been known to drag on for a considerably longer period.
WASTE DISPOSAL GUIDELINES
Discarding, placing or leaving waste on any land or road other than a disposal site approved by the Municipality is AN OFFENCE. (A fine of up to R2000 can be imposed for illegal dumping.) Waste may only be disposed of at one of the licensed landfill sites or approved municipal drop-off centres/transfer stations.
Please contact the Waste Management Depot closest to you for a list of the approved landfill sites or drop-off centres or to report illegal dumping:
- Harrower Road (PE City Area) – 041 506 2018
- Gail Road (Northern Areas) – 041 452 2006
- Struanway (Ibhayi) – 041 453 0089
- Addo Road (Motherwell/Bluewater Bay) – 041 506 2521
- Cuyler Street (Uitenhage/Despatch) – 041 994 1137
- WAR ROOM on Service Delivery – 0800 20 50 50
- Environmental Helpdesk – 041 506 5412
- Operating hours of drop-off centres – 7 days per week
- PE area: 7h30 to 17h30
- Uitenhage area: 9h00 to 17h30
Accepted at drop-off centres:
- A maximum of a one-ton bakkie-load per day
- Normal garden refuse only
- Household junk (e.g. stoves, prams, etc.)
Not accepted at drop-off centres:
- Loads bigger than a one-ton bakkie per day
- Branches longer than two metres and tree stumps
- Building rubble, sand and rocks
- Kitchen waste, i.e. food scraps
- Waste generated by garden services
- Commercial/Trade/Business waste
- Anything causing a bad smell, i.e. household waste
Loads or items NOT accepted at these sites MUST be disposed of at Arlington or Koedoeskloof Waste Disposal Sites.
NEWS IN BRIEF
- The Parks Department notified our office that the last public open space grass cut the current financial year will commence during the latter part of May.
- The ward office received numerous complaints regarding faulty streetlights in our area.
- The Electricity and Energy Directorate advised that most of the outstanding complaints should be attended to by the 3 week of May.
- We have been sending out letters to all current DA members requesting them to renew their membership. Should anybody else be interested in becoming a member of the DA, please do not hesitate to contact my office for membership forms. A R10.00 membership fee must accompany the form. All forms to be send back to the office on or before 29 May 2012.
- The 2012 / 2013 IDP and Budget Public Participation Meetings have commenced.
Article source: http://mype.co.za/new/2012/05/ward-6-news-may-2012/