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Welcome to eThekwini Mayors Blog. Read all about what is on your Mayor's mind.
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
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eThekwini Municipality > City Government > Council > City Mayor > Blog
October 03
Prioritising provision of decent housing

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 23
Keeping the City clean is a joint responsibility

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

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

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

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

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

September 09
All hands on deck to move our City forward

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 25
Mandela month should

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 16
Hands off our workers in uMlazi

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

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

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

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

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

July 01
Let us uphold Mandela’s values

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

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

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

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

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

June 13
Youth are the future of our country

THE month of June was a major turning point in the history of the struggle for liberation. However, unlike the youth of 1976, today’s youth are facing a different struggle all together. They are bearing the brunt of unemployment and are also on the receiving end of devastating social ills. It is concerning that institutions of higher learning continue to produce throngs of graduates but the majority of them battle to secure employment.

I urge youth to get qualifications for jobs that are in demand. With the scarcity of jobs, it is mainly graduates from vocational colleges who are able to survive this difficult period. Quite a number of them possess skills that are required by the private sector who has the potential to create employment.

It is a scary truth but it has to be aggressively communicated to our youth to be careful about what they study and the career path they follow. However, on a more positive note I am very grateful for the tremendous strides that we have made as the City to meet the needs of our young people.

This is despite thousands of them flocking to Durban daily in search of economic opportunities. Recently we hosted the KwaZulu-Natal Youth Employability Indaba and Career Expo that afforded thousands of young people the opportunity to be exposed to different life-changing careers. They interacted with numerous experts that guided them in choosing the right careers. We are quite certain that when they left, they did so more informed than when they arrived.

Our Youth Development Office is a living testimony that we care about young people in the City. The Office works in tandem with the eThekwini Municipal Academy and the City’s Business Support, Tourism and Markets Unit to facilitate scarce skills and business empowerment programmes. We are now beginning to reap the fruits of the existence of this Office as many young people are today employed while others are entrepreneurs that have created job opportunities for other young people.

The numbers of young people participating in our economy remains worrying. Hence we have allocated in excess of R2 million with the intention of producing young entrepreneurs. It is our conviction that not all youth should be job seekers. We need to have more young people in business. This is the only way that our country will move expeditiously to transform the economy that is currently in the hands of a few.

We are head and shoulders above other metros with regards to the recruitment of young people as interns. I am also proud to announce that we have budgeted over R100 million solely for the education of youth. We believe that by investing in education we are paving a way for South Africa.

May 30
Police killings must stop now

THE murder of our police officers continue to be a noose around our country’s neck. Recently we woke up to the sad news of the gunning down of Sergeant Fanifani Dladla, 61 and Constable Sonto Mhlanga, 40.

They were deployed to do protection work at the residence of Councillor Moses Zulu of ward 52 in Bambayi, near Phoenix. The integrated operation by our law enforcement agencies comprising the Hawks, SAPS and Metro Police following this gruesome murder, should be commended. We thank them for moving swiftly and arresting four suspects in KwaMashu in relation to this crime. One of them sustained gunshot wounds after exchanging gunfire with the police.

A firearm of one of our deceased members was recovered from the suspects. They are all facing two counts of murder and they have been remanded in custody. I would like to take this opportunity to send my heartfelt condolences to their families and the Metro Police community. As far as I am concerned, killing a police officer is tantamount to high treason and those responsible for such heinous crimes should rot in jail. We are calling upon the police investigating the case to leave no stone unturned and ensure that they have a watertight case that will eventually secure conviction.

We have also laid to rest one of the distinguished servants of the people, former Chief Whip of our council, comrade Stanley Xulu. He was the councillor for ward 11 in Umgababa for more than 11 years. Xulu was an unrivalled agent for change and we are poor without him. We visited his home and subsequently ensured that he was buried with dignity. We will continue to remember his family in our prayers and may his soul rest in peace.

Let me take this opportunity and congratulate President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was inaugurated in Pretoria. As the mayor of the third biggest metro in the country, I vow to throw my weight behind our president in his endeavour to grow our nation. We are grateful in that for the first time in our province, a young premier in the form of comrade Sihle Zikalala, has ascended to the throne. I commend him for appointing many women in his executive.

This is a testimony that women empowerment has been permanently elevated high on the agenda of our government. Our cabinet is very youthful and I am very optimistic that we are going to move with speed to accelerate the agenda of the national democratic revolution in our province to the benefit of the masses. Let me also wish our former Premier Willies Mchunu, a pleasant retirement. I thank him for his distinguished leadership that has catapulted our province to the world map.

May 16
City working tirelessly to restore basic services

FROM the onset, let me take this opportunity and apologise profusely to all our residents and the business community, for the unprecedented inconvenience caused by the illegal strike. I am grateful that we have finally reached an amicable solution that defused the impasse which was a bone of contention, between the employer and employees.

We are fully aware that in certain parts of the City garbage is still uncollected but we are working very hard to clear the backlog, prioritising life threatening solid waste in the inner-city and residential areas. I regret that the illegal industrial action was characterised by numerous acts of sabotage, leaving some residents without water or lights. Through private contractors we tried our level best to have these indispensable basic services restored expeditiously. I vow that as a political head, I will pull all the stops to ensure that any industrial action of this nature is prevented.

Our employees do have a democratic right to strike, but within the parameters of the law, and devoid of any form of violence and should not infringe the rights of other citizens. The behaviour of our employees was unbecoming. We did not expect that they would stoop so low and use Municipal resources to block roads. It was disturbing to see Municipal trucks laden with sand and rubbish, driven to the CBD and off loaded.

No amount of grievances can justify this barbaric behaviour. No right thinking citizen who love their country would dare to blockade the N3, a motorway that is the backbone of the country’s economy. I condemn this behaviour because it happened while negotiations were underway. The damage that was caused is estimated to be over R5 million, an amount of money that would have gone to service delivery. We have since taken a position to the effect that the union concerned will have to foot the bill. Employees found to have broken the law will have to account for their actions.

A big thank you to all delegates that attended the recent Africa Tourism Indaba at the ICC. We are very grateful that as the City our preparations for this spectacular event enabled us to meet the needs of all who attended. Let me extend my gratitude to all our residents who heeded our call to vote in the recent general elections. In as much as our Municipality has recorded a decreased voter turnout, we commend all those who saw it so imperative to exercise their democratic right.

It would be amiss of me not to thank all political parties for the maturity they have exhibited, and congratulations to those who have representatives at both provincial and national legislatures. To those due to be sworn in, be mindful that in as much as we have made tremendous strides to usher in a better life for all, we still have a long way to go to rid our country of the vestiges of apartheid.

May 06
Lend a helping hand to flood victims

THE recent torrential rains that have left a trail of damage in our Municipality, indicate quite clearly that our planet is warming at an alarming rate. The death toll is now above 70 and I would like to send my heartfelt condolences to all families whose loved ones perished in these rains.

It would be amiss of me not to extend my gratitude to our disaster management teams who had their hands full offering much needed help to our helpless residents. The search and rescue teams worked very hard combing through the rumble in their desperate quest to retrieve bodies buried underneath.

How can we forget NGO’s and other good Samaritans who went all out to lend a hand to scores of our people who were in need? From this human gesture, all of us should draw lessons and if we could continue doing so, our country would be way much better than yesterday. We have already met with our province’s executive and we have reported to them that our Municipality should be declared a disaster area. This meeting came hot on the heels of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s visit. The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu also came down with two trucks laden with relief aid.

The president made an undertaking that treasury will make funds available for us to deal with the aftermath of the disaster. The damage is estimated to be close to R700 million. We would like to sincerely apologise to all our residents for the disruption of the provision of basic services as result of this state of affairs. We are appealing to everyone to partner with us in helping the victims of this calamity.

This may be largely in the form of nonperishable food, sanitary towels, bottled water, clothes, blankets etc. Those willing to help are requested to deposit relief aid at the SABC offices at 100 KE Masinga road. While we were still licking wounds from this disaster, I was very disturbed by our workers who decided embark on an illegal industrial action at our various Water and Water Waste Depots. This happened while our City opened its doors for negotiations. This has resulted in many residents being without water for days. This is unacceptable because our employees are fully aware of internal processes that they should exhaust in the event of grievances than violent means.

On 8 May, I appeal to all our residents to go and vote. This is one of the most important general elections in the history of our country coinciding with the celebrations of 25 years of democracy. Let us be mindful of the fact that the right to vote did not come on a silver platter. Thousands lost their lives or us to be where we are today. To honour such sacrifice it is of paramount importance that we all vote in every election.

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