MEMBERS of the Executive Committee (EXCO) have, on Tuesday 13-08-2013, undertaken a tour to inspect agricultural projects at the Marianhill Monastery and Northdene Research and Development Centre.
 
The projects include the Edamame (Vegetable Soybean) Programme and aquaculture systems used to breed fish. Both programmes, which fall under Infrastructure Management and Socio-Economic Development Department (IMS), are aimed at ensuring food security and creating employment.
 
The visit took place ahead of the weekly EXCO meeting held at the Northdene Centre.
 
Mayor James Nxumalo said EXCO appreciated the work that has been done in the field of agriculture that benefit communities in terms of poverty alleviation and job creation.
 
“We want to expand these programmes to various other Wards in eThekwini especially in rural areas and townships. We know that some of these programmes, including fish farming are already operating successfully in a number of areas. As EXCO we have committed ourselves to visit programmes like these at least once a month to have first hand information on what is happening on the ground,” Nxumalo said.
 
The Edamame programme is based at the Marianhill Monastery and has recently been leased by the City through the Economic Development Unit. The programme is aimed at establishing research and processing site that will be a national headquarters for vegetable Soybeans in South Africa.
 
The IMS Department is currently involved in the rollout of food gardens into rural areas of eThekwini. Linked to this is the provision of fish, specifically Mozambique tilapia, as an additional food source. There are different aquaculture systems that have been designed and are being tested at Northdene Hub. There is a basic recirculating plastic lined pond, a six tank system that can be used when minimal space is available and a concrete based tank system for the grow out of fish which is also referred to as a commercial system.
 
Construction of the rural ponds is being completed at five sites. There are two on the banks of Inanda Dam, one in Umbumbulu, KwaNdengezi and KwaDabeka.
 
 
TECHNICAL SUPPORT FOR IRPTN
 
At its meeting, EXCO agreed to support the use of Regulation 36 to appoint 2 technical advisory teams to advise the taxi industry and small bus operators during the implementation of the Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network (IRPTN) in eThekwini. The Municipality is rolling out the implementation of the IRPTN which is set to link various modes of transport across eThekwini by 2020.
 
City Manager Sibusiso Sithole explained that the taxi industry wanted to have their own advisors that they could trust to guide them on the IRPTN. However, these would be appointed through normal Council processes.
 
“Bus and taxi operators are crucial role players in making the IRPTN successful. In order for this process to be successful it is important to ensure that there is trust between all parties involved, hence it is important that we have technical experts that the industry can also be comfortable with. These experts will advise the industry and the City on implementing the IRPTN,” he said.
 
EXCO also endorsed the appointment of a technical specialist for the implementation of the IRPTN Fare Management System (FMS). The City is in the process of rolling out the Muvo Smartcard, which is a system used to manage fares in the existing public transport services namely Durban Transport, Mynah and People Mover buses and is the first of its kind in South Africa. The system is expected to be rolled out to other modes of transport as part of the IRPTN. The technical specialist will continue the roll out of the FMS to suit the needs of the IRPTN and other related projects.
  
Issued by the eThekwini Municipality's Communications Unit. Contact Thabo Mofokeng on 031 311 4820/ 0827317456 or email:thabo1.mofokeng@durban.gov.za or Silindile Maluleka on 031 311 4811/073 332 639 or email: silindile.maluleka@durban.gov.za