State of The City Address
The State of the City Address by Executive Mayor Mzwandile Masina,
27 March 2019 at the City of Ekurhuleni New Council Chambers, Germiston Civic Centre
Madam Speaker, Cllr Patricia Kumalo
The Chief Whip of Council, Cllr Jongizizwe Dlabathi
Members of the Mayoral Committee;
Chair of Chairs and Chairpersons of Oversight Committees;
Leaders of All Political Parties in Council;
City Manager, Dr Imogen Mashazi,
Senior Management of the City;
The Leadership of Business, Labour and Civil Society;
Fellow residents of Ekurhuleni;
Members of the Media;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
We extend heartfelt greetings to you all and thank you for honoring this important occasion.
It is with great honour that we as the Executive once more step onto this podium to deliver the State of the City Address. We are grateful to the Council and people of the City for again giving us an audience - allowing us to account for the progress of the previous year and to unpack our plans to accelerate service delivery in the year ahead.
We deliver this State of the City on the 25th anniversary of the birth of our democratic nation – an important moment where we reflect on the journey we have undertaken as a people. It is a journey that has been characterised not only by the pain and suffering that our people have endured, but by their collective indomitable spirit and relentless pursuit for the fashioning of a higher civilisation – a South Africa anchored on the pillars of non-racialism, non-sexism and democracy.
We deliver this State of the City Address six days after Human Rights Day - a day that is etched in the archive of our collective memory, in which we remember the brutal massacre of our people in Sharpeville and Langa, killed for protesting against a savage regime that had no regard for the value of human life. This day in our history must serve as a reminder of what we have overcome – of what we should never again become.
We deliver this State of the City Address just over two weeks after the catastrophic crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 near Addis Ababa – a crash that claimed the lives of all 157 people aboard. This unimaginable tragedy has left the entire world reeling and has touched the heart of every South African. We hope that the families will find closure on this painful incident and we too, would like to extend our most sincere condolences for their loss.
Sincere condolences are also passed to the families and loved ones of the victims of those killed by the devastating Intense Tropical Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Madagascar. With at least 762 fatalities at last count, the impact of this cyclone is immeasurable. We recognise and are grateful for the efforts of President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has stepped in to deploy the South African National Defense Force to assist with recovery efforts, amongst other interventions.
This session also convenes about four days before we cross over to the month of April - which we recognise as our Heroes' Month. The month of April serves the important function of reminding us that we walk behind the legacy of men and women who volunteered themselves to the course of the freedom of all humanity. We come after successive generations of African leaders who took it upon themselves to carry the aspirations of an entire people and struggled until their dying days for the realization of these aspirations.
Among these great men is a son of Ekurhuleni, a true revolutionary about whom history will always tell a story of selflessness, commitment to the liberation struggle and unwavering love for our people. The month of April marks the 26th anniversary of Chris Hani's brutal assassination – an assassination so devastating to our quest for liberation that it threatened to plunge our country into a civil war. We commemorate this anniversary with heavy hearts – cognisant of the reality that the South Africa that Hani had fought so hard for is not yet born but determined to ensure that his death was not in vain.
April also marks the 50th anniversary of the Morogoro Consultative Conference that was held from the 25th of April to the 1st of May 1969 in Tanzania. It was a watershed not only in the history of the African National Congress and its Congress partners, but in the history of South Africa as a nation. Resolutions taken at the Morogoro Conference shaped the trajectory of our struggle – a struggle that would ultimately lead us into a hard-won democratic dispensation.
Madame Speaker, we are also a little more than a month away before the fifth General Elections since the establishment of our democratic Republic. With the year 2019 being the 25th year of our democracy, these general elections are a critical period of coming of age in the life of our nation. The past 25 years have taught us numerous lessons that we have to internalize as a country and use them as a platform to consolidate on our strengths and to overcome all our weaknesses.
We therefore take this opportunity to acknowledge the important role that all our political parties play in deepening our country's democratic project. It is on the back of our collective leadership that we have made it this far as a country. It will be based on our collective leadership, too, that our country will grow into a better future defied by non-racialism, non-sexism and economic justice.
It remains our duty to mobilize all the people of South Africa who registered to vote to show up at the polling stations and reaffirm their natural right to choose their own government and determine the issues of governance that must shape our days. We urge all registered voters to go to the polls on the 8th of May to define for themselves a future they deserve by choosing their own government.
This year's State of the City Address is themed: Building a local economy that grows in the hands of the people. This is in recognition of the fact that sustainable economic development can only be achieved when the economy is in the hands of the people – for an economy that thrusts the people at the edge of the periphery is an economy that is incapable of bringing about genuine transformation.
This occasion of the 2019 State of the City Address doubles as our mid-term report since the start of our term of office in 2016. Accordingly, we would like to commence with an overview of the progress we have made since we came into office. In doing so, allow me to recall the exact commitments that we made so that we can locate our progress in its original context.
In commencing with our term of office, we outlined a clear programme of action to advance a pro-poor agenda as our guiding philosophy. We defined this agenda as a deliberate and systematic bias to rollout service delivery and economic development opportunities in a manner that uplifts the poorest sections of Ekurhuleni.
As an action plan to achieve this outcome over 5 years, we said we would:
- Improve service delivery through visible, impactful and optimal programmes supported by Capex spending;
- Electrify all informal settlement;
- Construction of 100 000 housing units;
- Provide 59 000 service stands;
- Make informal settlements more habitable through the upscaling of services;
- Promote preservation of water usage and continue investing in water infrastructure to ensure security of supply;
- Establish a commission to fight fraud and corruption;
- Build an Ekurhuleni Power Station;
- Build internal capacity to minimize outsourcing of key Municipal Services;
- Increase the number of local clinics piloting the 24-hour health care programmes;
- Launch an app for communities to report services delivery challenges;
- Launch the BRT;
- Accelerate Wi-Fi rollout;
- Create a signature mega arts and culture festival for the city; and
- Strongly pursue the issue of the establishment of an Ekurhuleni University.
In 2016, the administration adopted an interactive approach for the Executive and senior managers to be more actively engaged with the residents of the City. The initiative, called the Siyaqhuba Mayoral Outreach Programme, was initially intended to be a programme specific to the first 100 days of the administration. However, owing to its success and the demand that it generated, it was extended and
has become a programme of the City.
You will recall that in early 2017, a young boy unfortunately passed away after falling into a disused mineshaft in Jerusalem, Germiston. Following this tragic incident, the City, through the Siyaqhuba Mayoral Outreach Programme, approached the Council for Geoscience and the Department of Mineral Resources with a request for assistance to close all unused mineshafts in Ekurhuleni. We are pleased to
announce that by end of this year, 6 mineshafts around the City will officially be closed.
Madam Speaker, we were clear from the onset that our only chance at success would be to put in place a solid management team in the administration to carry out the operational work required. The key objective here was to build an efficient, clean, accountable and innovative administration that works firmly within the guidelines of legislation.
This is in line with the short-term objectives of the Growth and Development Strategy (2055) which enjoins us to build a city that is managed, efficiently resourced and financially sustainable with no service delivery challenges.
This required that we professionalize and align our governance structures, recruit qualified and energetic personnel and senior management and to fill up as many vacancies as necessary.
The City has developed a Knowledge Management Strategy and Policy that was approved by Council.
We have institutionalized a set of policies intended to regulate and underpin our governance operations.
These include the Standard Operations Procedure for Performance Monitoring and a Delegation of Powers policy, Integrity Management Framework, Business Continuity Management Policy, Occupational Health and Safety Policy and Systems of Delegation which were all approved by Council.
We introduced a stage gate tracking for planning and Capex War Room to assess Capex performance as well as getting panel of service provider. We also stablished systems to reclaim a Clean Audit and to ensure that previous Auditor General findings are cleared. This is done through quarterly management meetings championed by Internal Audit.
As a result of these interventions, we have received 2 unqualified audit outcome with no unauthorised, irregular and fruitless expenditure, and a clean audit on performance information. This means that, having assessed the state of our finances, the Auditor General's judgment is that the City's financial statements are fairly and appropriately presented, without any exceptions, and in compliance with accounting standards. This provides a good basis upon which we will continue striving for clean audit outcomes.
True to the success of our revenue collection and financial management systems, we have registered profound progress in the period under review. Our capital budget increased by an average of 10.5% per annum from R2.3 billion to R6.5 billion. For the last financial year, the City funded its own CAPEX – a testament to our financial health and credibility.
We maintained our Moody's grading of BAA3/AAA.za. This is an investment grade. A bond is considered investment grade if its credit rating is BBB- or higher. These bonds are judged by Moody's as likely enough to meet payment obligations that banks are allowed to invest in them. This rating is not only a vote of confidence in the finances and governance of the City, but it also makes it easier for the City to raise funds for CAPEX projects.
The City conducted employee audit - 99.5% of the 17 272 employees attended the verification process in February 2018. There will be a second round of audit for contract employees before the end of the year.
Madam Speaker, in pursuit of building the requisite human capital, the City has rolled-out the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) system to evaluate, align and accredit skills acquired over a long period of service within the institution. This will benefit low-skilled employees in the City. This is done in order to ensure that the City's human resources is adequately equipped with the necessary skills to maximise service delivery capacity.
In the first year of the current term-of-office, a total of R438 million was budgeted for the holistic salary scale review of C1-C14 for the purpose of equal work and equal pay principle. Since this decision was taken, it has assisted us to ensure institutional stability, which is fundamental for the effective functioning of the City and delivery of services to our people.
The City appointed the first female City Manager, Dr Imogen Mashazi. There are only 5 vacancies within top management of the City, namely Heads of Departments of Health, Human Settlements, Risk, City Planning and Transport.
The recruitment process is underway for the appointment of the said HODs, and we are confident that these vacancies will be filled in due course. We will ensure that there is a balance of gender and prioritisation of locals in order to deepen our commitment to building a local economy that grows in the hands of the people.
The City of Ekurhuleni is now Level 4 Risk Compliant, this was confirmed by independent auditors, this means the level of risk maturity is quite high. We won numerous awards in the 2017/18 Financial Year: The Job Creation Award within RSA Metros, The Risk Compliance Award and the Human Settlements Award amongst others. This is a testament to the progress that we are making as a City in creating jobs and providing services in pursuit of a better life for all.
In May 2018 the National Treasury reviewed the budget processes of all municipalities looking at their financial stability, alignment of IDP with National/Provincial imperatives. Out of that process the City of Ekurhuleni emerged on track and is complying with all the benchmark indicators. Service delivery is sound and our financial health, the institution and governance are all stable. In comparison, other Metros are not doing as well in all four indicators. This is a testament to our extraordinary efforts in ensuring that we run a metro that is stable and secure in every sense of the word.
Recognising that the restoration of trust and integrity in our institutions is dependent on fighting corruption and its corrosive effects, we have also strengthened our anti-corruption systems by establishing, among others, a Commission on Fraud and Corruption. An Anti-Fraud Campaign that scrutinizes senior officials has already been rolled out. To date 95% of senior management have disclosed their financial interests during the period under review.
Our investment in Information Communications Technology, through the introduction of mSCOA, My Ekurhuleni App and the Online Recruitment Initiative, is changing the way the City communicates. The My Ekurhuleni App has made it easier for communities to be able to report service delivery related queries with a click of a button – thus fast-tracking service delivery. This intervention is not only reflective of the march towards digital transformation but goes a long way in reducing the cost of doing business while simultaneously enhancing performance and improving resources to our employees and citizens.
The City is now in the process of implementing a state-of-the-art ICT system that will ensure that the City operates as one entity – doing away with the current fragmented and paper-based work environment.
With the urban pressure increasing year by year, the Smart City concept has been developed as an approach to sustainable urban development. The City is moving ahead with building a Smart City via an array of impressive cutting-edge technologies. These technologies aggregate, share and converge citywide resources to provide real time efficient and intelligent information services.
The City will be implementing the Safer Cities Plan focusing on public safety via a unified Command Centre System that will provide communication, command and control means to deal with policing and Emergency Management Services and transportations.
Our commitment to advancing a pro-poor agenda has always been anchored on the belief that the only way to meaningfully redress the injustices of a past that was characterised by separate development and the dehumanisation of the majority of our people, is to strengthen our efforts in providing services that would not only level the playing fields for them, but also ensure that they live a life of dignity.
In this regard, we said in 2017 "It is the Nthabelengs, the Thembas, the Gog' uMaNhlanphos and Ntate Mokoenas [of our communities] who are at the heart of hardship and neediness."
We proposed a scenario in which Nthabeleng and Themba were two hypothetical citizens of Ekurhuleni residing in one of the 119 informal settlements. We also added that they must be assumed to be pregnant with their first child. Central to this hypothetical scenario was our determination to plan our policies and service delivery choices in a manner that maximizes impact on the lives of the poorest citizens and communities of our city.
We therefore spent the last two and a half years working very hard to ensure that we improve the living conditions of Nthabeleng and family. We can boldly claim that we are on the right course. But more than this, we can confidently demonstrate enough evidence to affirm that indeed we are changing their lives for the better.
At the commemoration of the Sharpeville massacre on Human Rights Day, President Cyril Ramaphosa reiterated that electricity is a basic human right. This was in recognition of the fact that electricity is not vital only for the running of businesses and the maintenance of households, but for providing people with the dignity that they require.
In the past 24 months, we rolled out an informal settlement electrification programme which led to the installation of 33 236 photovoltaic lighting during the period under review. So far, the City electrified 8 981 households in the informal settlements of Langaville, Winnie Mandela, Gugulethu, Zamaland, Gugulethu, Everest, Peter Mokaba to mention a few. This brings the total number of connected households in informal settlements to 15 590. An additional 6 926 informal households will be electrified by the end of June this year. This will go a long way in ensuring that our residents in informal settlements are able to generate meaningful livelihoods.
During the period under review, additional 20 mega litres storage capacity was created and construction for additional 45 mega litres will be complete soon. As part of the integration of informal settlements, the new administration reduced the household ratio of chemical toilets from 1:10 to 1:5.
What this means is that while Nthabeleng and Themba were born at a time when ten informal households relied on one toilet, their own child will share the toilet with only 4 other households. This improvement is not a great leap only in terms of service provision, but a demonstration of our unwavering commitment to giving dignity to our people.
These chemical toilets are regularly serviced, and we are looking at ways to improve the efficiency of this service at a contained cost. In responding to the communities' request for better improved toilets, we will soon be investing in an alternative sanitation programme.
The Aqua Leap program is aimed to address the water infrastructure failures and address the water capacity constraints that are caused by the unmatched growth demand in the City. The current existing reserves capacities in some areas like Benoni, Germiston, Brakpan, Springs, Edenvale, Kempton Park and Tembisa can only supply between 2 to 10 hours if the City experience any water interruptions where there is no inflow into the reservoirs, which is less than the normal standard of 24 to 48 hours.
The City of Ekurhuleni has embarked on building 29 Reservoirs from 2018/2019 to 2021 with a storage capacity of 550 mega litres, which is equivalent to 550 million litres of water. Thus far, 3 water storage reservoirs of combined capacity of 55 mega litres were constructed, namely the Nigel Tower, Palm Ridge Reservoir and Kempton Park Reservoir. 9 reservoirs with a combined storage capacity of 140
mega litres will commence before June 2019.
The construction of these reservoirs is significant because it will ensure security of supply of water and inter-link the water supply from one zone to another.
We have managed an additional 11 323 new connections for water and sewer to formal dwellings has been achieved. This was accompanied by the installation of 23 483 new water meters and as well as a meter refurbishment initiative for the old one. This investment helped in ensuring that water losses in the past 12 months has improved to 30,85 % which is lower than the previous financial year loss of 34.3%.
The installation of water metres and maintenance of old water networks has assisted us in the reduction of non-revenue water wastages. A total of 12 537 water service points were installed in informal settlements to-date to improve access points and to reduce distance travelled to collect water. In a water scarce country that is battling water shortages, this is a significant intervention that will go a long way in contributing to the saving of water.
Because we are a City that is not ashamed to take responsibility and are frank about our limitations and the challenges that confront us, we are able to stand before you today and report that we have been plagued with reports from citizens about the lack of waste collection, in Kempton Park in particular. This naturally has adverse implications for the environment and the health of residents in the said community.
It must be clear to our people that we are not only aware of this problem, but that we are working very hard to ensure that a comprehensive turnaround strategy that can ensure a quick and lasting solution is being developed. Our commitment to ensuring a clean City is evidenced by the efforts that we have been making in upgrading waste disposal sites in Weltevrede, Bedfordview, Benoni, Boksburg, Edenvale, Esselen Park, Germiston, Kempton Park and Nigel.
As of March 2019, there is a campaign aimed at the eradication of all illegal dumping hotspot areas in all wards. Placement of walk-in bulk containers has commenced in selected informal areas throughout the City. This programme will be rolled out to strategic areas in all informal settlements by June 2021.
The intention is to provide an upscaled, once a week waste collection service.
For community-based recycling co-operatives, tuk-tuks are being distributed across the City. We have acquired 70 tuk-tuks to assist us with our waste management programme.
These tuk-tuks are not only cost-efficient, but they also assist with the reduction of the carnage on our roads, exacerbated by a high number of reclaimers on the roads. Tuk-tuks deal with the waste management in informal settlements, where mini-disposal centres will be established. But more than this, they will create a sustainable source of income for the trained operators who will be driving them, thereby making a meaningful contribution towards the local economy.
In intensifying cleaning campaigns and access of households to refuse removal, the City delivered 240 litre bins to 209 297 households. We have also conceptualised a plan of integrating the Clean City Initiative into a new program which is already being implemented in the current financial year.
Since 2016, the City has completed 5 community parks and 1 ideal park. These community parks are Phake Park, Atlasvlei Park, Actonville Park, Dersley Park, Ukusuka Park and the Barcelona Multi- Purpose Park.
Barcelona Multi-Purpose Park is a new generation park, one that is equipped with facilities such as an outdoor gym, a mini amphitheatre, a multi-purpose court and leisurely facilities. It combines leisure with vital healthy-living, contributing meaningfully towards curbing the crisis of sedentary lifestyles that give rise to many diseases and illnesses.
Additionally, the Boksburg Lake Regional Park is completed and will be unveiled by June 2019. 3 additional ideal parks, namely Welgedacht Park, Palm Ridge Park and Bunny Park, will be completed by end of June 2019. These will go a long way in creating a healthy environment for our residents.
Madame Speaker, the progress above expresses that although households within informal settlements are entrapped in poverty and underdevelopment; we have made strides to gradually improve their conditions.
We will be expanding cemeteries to ensure that in spite of the land availability challenges that confront the province as a whole, we continue to fashion an environment in which our people can practice their traditional customs and practices as it relates to burials.
But to cater for those seeking the service, crematorium sites will also be constructed across all the subregions within the City. This alternative method of burial will ensure that families who seek the service are not disadvantaged.
It was our icon, tata Nelson Mandela, who once stated that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. Indeed, although we have not achieved a 100% record of transforming informal settlements, we are on course to achieve great outcomes in the next two and a half years.
Accordingly, it is clear that the family of Nthabeleng and Themba - although not fully liberated from poverty - is at least struggling in conditions of improved dignity and that by 2021 their condition will be better improved.
Our pro-poor agenda has short to long term objectives that feed into each other. The work of upgrading informal settlements, providing water and electricity, installing street lights and delivering waste services are all short-term interventions. It is to give a sense of hope to struggling households - to reassure them that, in the case of a pregnant Nthabeleng and Themba, their newborn child has a better future.
It is in that context that we have a longer-term plan to work hard to see the delivery of 100 000 housing units and 59 000 serviced stands over the 5-year term. This is a very large number that could be dismissed as overly ambitious – but we did not make this commitment unaware of what it would demand of us. We made this commitment in recognition of the need to resolve the housing challenge that is
embedded in the broader land question that our country has been historically battling with.
The City is deeply committed to the struggle for the provision of housing units and service stands, because we recognize that these are closely tied to the quest of dignity for our people that has always been the central anchor of the work not only of the City, but of the democratic government.
Over the past few weeks, the ANC-led government has been embarking on a programme of accelerated land reform and has held several land-handover ceremonies, including one in the Gauteng Province three weeks ago, where families and communities from Ekurhuleni were part of the beneficiaries. This recognition of the centrality of dealing with the land question, inter alia the question of human settlements, is fundamental to the democratic government.
Housing is not only a basic human right, but a foundation on which human dignity is built. The City is deeply passionate about resolving the housing backlog that it is faced with, hence the ambitious goal we have set for ourselves – a goal we have no doubt we can accomplish in the next two and a half years that you have entrusted us with.
During the period under review, the City acquired 12 382 service stands. In the first year of our term the City acquired land for housing opportunities to be rolled out through 6 Mega Human Settlements Projects.
A total of 26 000 low cost houses were completed in the past 24 months by the City of Ekurhuleni and the province provided an additional for 7 058 housing opportunities within the City in the current financial year. Germiston Social Housing Phase 1 and Delville Ext 9 were completed, with a combined yield of 256 units. We intend to complete an additional 200 units by year end.
The City is in the process of constructing 3 Mega Projects, namely John Dube, Daggafontein and Leeuwpoort with a combined total yield of 50 571 units.
Additionally, the City is also building more units in various areas, namely Clayville, Chief Albert Luthuli Ext 6 and Tsakane Ext 22. The combined delivered RDP units is 4 754 while 5 647 serviced stands have been provided. The combined total yield of these is 27 154.
The idea behind this approach to human settlements - delivering a combination of subsidized, low cost and rental stock - is to advance the life chances of people like Nthabeleng and Themba and give them options within their means. We provide them with free housing when their economic means are dire, we offer them rental stock when they have slightly improved and will also encourage them to graduate into bonded houses in an area of their choice when their economic fortunes have increased.
The work of the City in the provision of dignified human settlements has drawn investment from the private sector. At present, construction of the Green Reef development, with a total yield of 20 000, is ongoing. 6 other developments with a total yield of 54 721 are in the design and planning stage. These include Riverfields, Mapleton Extension, Watervaldspruit, Nigel Prasa Rolling Stock City, Carnival Junction and the Windmill Park Node.
This investment will not only create job opportunities for the residents of our City, but will also generate significant revenue that will enable us to do more work, to build an economy that will grow in the hands of our people.
The City has accelerated its provision of land available for large scale investments through the unlocking of dolomitic land. To date, the City has unlocked 123 842 hectares of dolomitic land for major developments such as proposed township establishment.
Since 2016, the City has embarked on the regularisation of townships. This project assists with the conversion of leasehold erven to freehold erven, thereby providing residents with title deeds of their erven and in this manner, ensuring their ownership.
In the year under review, the City has accomplished its target of township regularisation of 39 townships.
The 39 townships will yield 32 559 titled deeds to be distributed to the beneficiaries. Title deeds are not only legal documents used as evidence of home ownership – they are a source of security for people who for many decades have lived in a state of insecurity.
The City has refurbished hostels and flats in Daveyton, KwaThema Hostel and Karatchi Court during the period under review. To date 6 047 title deeds have been issued to deserving beneficiaries and we are aiming to double this number in the next financial year.
The City's provision of dignified housing is greatly dependent on the resources that it is able to access.
We are committed to sourcing the much-needed funds to ensure that we double our efforts in the roll-out of human settlements that reflect the kind of City we are striving to build – one that is anchored on a better and dignified life for all.
The principles of healthcare services that inform our strategy as a City are consistent with those of the National Health Insurance scheme. Our objective is to provide access to quality healthcare services to all citizens of the city, regardless of race, class position and wealth profile.
At any time of day, we want Nthabeleng from an impoverished household to enjoy the certainty and comfort of quality treatment for any ailments and the required prenatal and postnatal support during pregnancy. This kind of quality healthcare is not a market commodity and should therefore not be available only in private health facilities.
It is on this pursuit of equitable healthcare that we currently have 9 Clinics that render 24-hour services within the City of Ekurhuleni. Furthermore, 2 Clinics render 12-hour services while 18 Clinics render Saturday services.
An additional 3 and 2 Clinics are planned to render Saturday services in 2019/20 and 2020/21 respectively; and 6 Clinics earmarked for 12-hour services in 2019/20, 2020/21 & 2021/22.
All 93 clinics within the City of Ekurhuleni were assessed in terms of the National Core Standards and achieved Ideal Clinic Status as follows: Platinum Status 18, Gold Status 55 and Silver Status 20.
The City of Ekurhuleni achieved position 1 in the Gauteng Province and overall position number 2 in the country on the Ideal Clinic Realisation and Maintenance (ICRM), an initiative in preparation for the National Health Insurance (NHI).
This is a significant achievement whose significance must be understood in its totality. The City of Ekurhuleni is a unique metro in that it comprises of a very high number of informal settlements. This indicates that the City has a high number of people who do not have adequate means. The provision of superior healthcare services to our people is therefore not only something we tick off our to-do list but is a commitment that is made precisely because we are dedicated to ensuring that our people, regardless of their class positions and background, have a life of dignity.
In a country that is battling with structural inequalities, the City of Ekurhuleni is committed to ensuring that the poor are not thrust at the edge of the periphery – that they do not exist at the margins where their basic human needs are of little significance. It is for this reason, among others, that we strive to be a Metro that does more.
On an annual basis, we continue to intensify awareness campaigns with a view of increasing the number indigent households in all the Wards, including Mass Indigent Registration Campaigns. The awareness campaigns also prioritize the low-paying Wards and Wards with low indigent up-take.
The overriding principle here is to provide a reliable social package to all people of destitute means. To live and function as a city we need to be bound together by a common empathy for struggling households by providing them with free basic services of our indigent policy.
This is to ensure that we break the generational trap of poverty and that we create better living conditions of children from poor households such as that of Nthabeleng and Themba and enable those kids to have positive dreams that transcend their immediate poverty.
The implementation of the electronic Indigent Registration System and use of the Handheld Devices is improving efficiency in terms of application turnaround times, and validation of physical verification process by field workers.
The approval of the revised Indigent Support Policy by Council in May 2018 with a joint income qualification threshold to R5 090 has resulted in a larger pool of indigent applicants being registered.
To date, 139 742 Indigent households have been registered of which 46 185 were registered through Indigent Management System and 93 557 qualified through the deemed Indigent Policy.
Since 2016, 2 fire stations have been opened in the City. These are the Thokoza Fire Station and Germiston Central Fire Station, opened in 2017 and 2018 respectively. In addition, 17 specialised firefighting and rescue vehicles were acquired, adding to the existing capacity of the Disaster and Emergency Management Services department.
The direct impact of this capacity was demonstrated last year when our firefighters assisted in the blaze that engulfed the Bank of Lisbon building in Johannesburg. It was through the dedicated staff and equipment used during the blaze, particularly the hydraulic platform vehicle that managed to extend to heights where other equipment could not reach, that the damage was significantly lessened.
In 2018, the High Volume Water Relay System was launched. The system is used to provide additional water from open water sources such as lakes and streams to augment fire-fighting water at large and long duration incidents. The operating capacity of the system is 12 hours. It is one of a kind in the country and in Africa as a whole.
This is demonstrative of the capacity of the City to deal with any possible future disasters that might occur.
Crime levels in the City are reflective of the growing crime rates in the country in general. Crime has become a serious challenge, impacting negatively on the sense of safety of our residents and local businesses. Trio-crimes, namely hijacking, robberies and business robberies are the main crimes in Ekurhuleni.
Understanding the ramifications of crime in our communities and on the economy, we have come up with a targeted response that is already yielding fruit. The Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department has 1 597 operational members and over 800 traffic wardens. The former conduct point duty at areas like schools and assist with visible policing and the enforcement of by-laws.
There are presently 247 cadets who are going to pass out at the end of June 2019. These will be adding to the capacity of the operation of the EMPD. We are in the process of recruiting 500 cadets for our learnership, who will be enrolled on the 1st of July.
The City has procured 7 armoured troop carriers (nyala). These will be delivered by the end of June.
These vehicles are particularly important because they are highly advanced, second generation nyalas, and are the first of its kind in the metros.
Since 2016, the City has established 3 EMPD precincts. These were established in Zonkizizwe, Thokoza and Bonaero Park. These have increased the capacity of the City's responsibility to maintaining community safety, aiding in reducing crime and related incidents, among other interventions. The Kempton Park and Tembisa Precinct Stations will be completed by the end of June 2019.
Construction of a Specialised Services Precinct in Boksburg. This Precinct will have specialised units such as the Dog Unit, the Community Liaison Unit, Public Order Policing Unit, the K-9 Unit, the VIP Unit and the SWAT/Intervention Unit. This Specialised Precinct will be completed by 2021.
Madame Speaker, the success of our pro-poor philosophy of governance and service delivery was confirmed by the results of the 5th Gauteng City-Region Observatory Quality of Life Survey released in October 2018.
The GCRO survey is a researched and evidence-based assessment of the successes and failures of policy interventions in the eyes of the citizens of Gauteng. Simply put, the GCRO survey reflects the views and sentiments of the likes of Nthabeleng and Themba on how they feel about the work that we do for them.
It is important to pay attention to this Quality of Life Survey because it presents us with an opportunity to reflect on how the recipients of our services feel about the quality of life we strive to improve daily. This is particularly important for the most disadvantaged members of our communities.
Accordingly, the Survey has affirmed the positive impact of our pro-poor governance strategy because the citizens of Ekurhuleni have actively given us a thumbs up and pointed us towards areas of improvement where they are still not satisfied.
Overall, we are doing better than almost all municipalities in Gauteng. More instructive is the fact that we are a leader a of our peer-group of Metros. We have performed better than all the other Metros in terms of the level of citizen satisfaction in the Quality of Life assessment.
In light of the fact that we are the youngest City and with a much more pronounced spatial legacy of apartheid, we should all be proud that we are now ranked as the City affording its citizens with the highest quality of life in comparison to other Metros in the province.
Specifically, we are outperforming the other Metros in the areas of delivering:
- Water Services
- Sanitation Services and
- Renewable energy
We characterise ourselves as a City at work because we understand the huge task that lies before us – the task of meaningfully transforming the lives of people who have been on the receiving end of the worst forms of exclusion and marginalization by the apartheid regime whose legacy continues to shape our existence in the democratic dispensation. When we define ours as a City at work, we do so with the full confidence that our people recognize and acknowledge our efforts in providing them a better life. For this, we express the sincerest gratitude.
During the period under review, a total of 102.2 kilometers of roads were constructed and a total of 27 108 storm water systems were maintained. Furthermore, a total of 9 146 kilometers of road was maintained over the same period. The City has so far managed to construct 16.71 km walkways in Vosloorus, Daveyton, Springs, Tembisa and Duduza in the last 24 months.
Madame Speaker, one of the core structural challenges of our City is that majority of poor settlements are far away from the places of economic opportunity due to no access to public transport. This type of urban form promotes the use of motorised and private transportation rather than a sustainable integrated public transport solution. Since private transportation is expensive, it renders mobility nearly impossible if not excessively strenuous to many of our citizens.
In our commitment of a transformed public transport, we have analysed the overall public transport system which seems to be fragmented and disintegrated. We came up with plans to develop an all-inclusive and Integrated Public Transport Network System (IPTNS) wherein all land transport modes, namely; trains, buses and minibus taxis will be integrated in operations.
Our relationship with the Ekurhuleni Taxi Industry (ETI) is cordial and has made it possible for the City to implement its public transport transformation programme. Engagements with the ETI are ongoing.
The already implemented BRT system will form the basis of a 20 year Integrated Public Transport Network (IPTN) plan which is being developed. Focus is more on maximising the operations of existing infrastructure as compared to only providing dedicated public transport infrastructure as it is with the BRT System. IPTN will enable for a much more capital cost effective and rapid roll-out of the system which seek to advocate:
An Integrated Ticketing System (different land public transport modes)
Park and Ride facilities
Car sharing among road users
Public Transport along key strategic nodes
Transfer nodes along the network
Our process of developing an Integrated Rapid Transit Network that will assist to make connecting the people of Ekurhuleni with their jobs, friends and families etc, more convenient, accessible and affordable is underway. Though the project has, over the years, experienced significant delays, there is now significant progress that has been made.
Our BRT system, Harambee, has been extended from Tembisa to OR Tambo International Airport and we are now at the point of extending it to East Rand Mall. We have also started the process of seeking to construct 8 bus stations. The supply and installation of road lighting of IRPTN on Areas 1A, 1B, 2A and 3A is also under way.
Phase 1B stretching from Kempton Park to Boksburg Civic Centre and Phase 1C stretching from Boksburg Civic Centre to Vosloorus Hospital will be operated by the end of the coming financial year.
We are concluding on the testing phase of the Euro Master Visa (EMV) ticketing system card for roll-out by end of the year. The ticket will enable users to do periodic loading of funds for easy travelling and efficient budgeting by commuters.
Our BRT buses are universally accessible, including for disabled citizens who are often subjected to challenges of mobility due to transport infrastructure that does not cater for the needs of people with physical impairments.
Madame Speaker, the central role of a city is to provide an ecosystem of economic, social and cultural values to its citizens. In our context, it means we have to build this ecosystem in a manner that gives hope and practical life chances to the impoverished households of people like Nthabeleng and Themba.
We have a moral duty to create conditions for the realization of the economic aspirations of everybody, as a starting point. Since all of us as citizens of the city have material needs that can only be satisfied economically; we have to think of ways by which we can build and grow the economy of our city in the interests of the Nthabelengs and Thembas of our communities and with the view of their children in mind.
Over time, the structure of the Ekurhuleni economy has changed. Labour intensive sectors such as mining, manufacturing and agriculture have experienced a steady decline in the 15-year period from 2000 – 2015. There has been a shift in the contribution of various sectors to the economy, with sectors such as manufacturing and mining giving way to business services and construction.
The nature of work and industry is changing globally, and each city must position itself to take its citizens forward. In the shifting of economy, the City finds various resources lying fallow, while other resources are strained as demand increases.
We are now thinking of how best the city can support investment in a way that takes advantage of various potential resources that we have and refashions the use of abandoned resources. It is critical to engage policy towards attracting investment into infrastructure and economic growth that is anchored on job creation initiatives.
This understanding had led us to think about a strategic framework of Big Ideas for Development that must underpin our efforts for coordinated and impactful interventions to boost our local economy.
The framework for our Big Ideas for Development initiative articulates a broad approach that prioritises short to long-term reforms in:
- Job creation initiatives
- Increased private investment in the local economy
- Transportation infrastructure
- Improved urban settlement planning
- Cultural dynamism and
In addition to our systematic programme to invest in strategic fixed infrastructure as guided by the Capital Investment Framework, in the areas of energy, water, roads, we have also paid particular attention to areas of basic service delivery to our economic sectors which play a central role in how third parties view our city as an ideal location for investment, trade and tourism.
Furthermore, our engagements with commercial industries over time have given us projected R300 billion Investment Pipeline for Ekurhuleni. We have resolved to consolidate our approach towards this investor sector of the economy by consolidating offerings from all spheres of government into a comprehensive investment strategy.
Last year we announced our intention to explore an incentive strategy to attract investment. This has been an ongoing process. Among the instruments to unlock this investment pipeline, we are looking at the potential of using rebates in rates and taxes as part of our incentive strategy to boost employment opportunities. In this regard, our investment approach is centered on an integrative platform wherein the following action plan is prioritized:
- Partner with local and international chambers of commerce & industry associations to entice, facilitate & retain inward investment by creating a dedicated fund through the EDA.
- Development of the Ekurhuleni Investment Book by combining both public & private sector driven projects.
- Operationalize a consolidated Investment Incentive Policy Framework as enabled by the SPLUMA By Law.
- Adopt a funding model towards SUDs and mega developments through a dedicated funding regime for bulk engineering services.
- Consolidate partnerships with private sector operators to register PPPs for strategic infrastructure development with the National Treasury and GTAC.
- Centralize the engagement with investors & developers through the Investment clearing Committee of the Mayoral Committee.
- Host the Ekurhuleni Infrastructure Finance Summit in 2019 & Ekurhuleni Investment Conference in 2020.
- Reconfigure Investment facilitating processes to eliminate administrative blockages that are a stumbling block to investments by introducing a KPI on all MMCs, CM, COO & HOD to enable investments by eliminating barriers that their administrative processes impose.
Another very key intervention that is underway is the release of the following land parcels:
- 52 x Agricultural Farms by June 2019
- 115 x Township Business Sites by year end
- 32 x Industrial Sites by year end; and
- 40 x Strategic Land Parcels by year end
Agricultural farms play a significant role not only in dealing with the pertinent question of land ownership that the City and the democratic government is trying to resolve, but with the equally important question of agrarian reform and food sovereignty.
In line with our guiding theme, Building a local economy that grows in the hands of the people, the establishment of township business sites will go a long way in ensuring that resources of the City are used meaningfully to develop the capacities of its people.
In short, we are resolved to ensure that our city is investor-friendly and remains open to new large-scale investments through making it easy to conduct business within the municipal boundaries. We have already started to see the fruits of our efforts.
GZ Industries Group, a can manufacturing business with investments in Nigeria, Kenya and Mauritius, just entered the South Africa market via a subsidiary by establishing a manufacturing facility in Ekurhuleni.
Once fully operational, it will be the second largest facility in the country.
The City of Ekurhuleni is at the heart of the Fourth Industrial Revolution that is changing the ways in which technology is used to ensure a better life for all. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is a march towards an age of advanced technology, where cyber-physical systems radically transform every industry in the country with new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), additive manufacturing, robotics and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) among others.
Teraco Data Management Centre, the largest data management facility in Africa, is completed. This data warehousing facility, which has R2 billion in total investment and R600 million in the 2018/19 financial year, will have significant benefits for the telecommunications, banking and retail industries.
We urge the Council to expedite the public participation process that will culminate in the possible approval of the SPLUMA by-law, which remains a key ingredient to unlocking financial and non-financial incentives that are vital to enhance the locational advantages of the City to potential developers and investors alike.
Our Aerotropolis Masterplan recognizes the immense potential of the City as home to the OR Tambo International Airport. The volumes of cargo and human beings that pass through this airport provide a strategic opportunity for regional development and an economic value-chain that is geared towards export markets.
About R5,6 billion is the contribution by OR Tambo International Airport to the GDP of South Africa, and about 5 480 jobs are created by the airport, assisting in slowing down the rate of unemployment.
The Air Cargo Africa event was held in Ekurhuleni and attracted a record number of 80 international exhibiting companies, more than 500 global industry decision makers and brought in more than 3 000 trade visitors from across more than 60 countries including from 30 African nations.
Air Cargo is central to the development of the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis as a direct contributor to job creation. In the medium to long term, plans for a midfield cargo terminal are afoot and are aligned with the Airport Master Plan as oriented around the Aerotropolis Master Plan.
Apart from this, there are new developments in the pipeline, starting with the development of the Western Airport Precinct, which is a mixed-use development inclusive of office, retail, hotel and other profit generating uses.
We envision a future partnership with ACSA and private investors that could provide capital for the building of an International Convention Centre within the Western Airport Precinct. This is an important idea that we will spend a lot of our energies and research work in trying to bring to life.
The idea of an ICC in Kempton Park is part of our broad vision of a tourism network that includes a Liberation Heritage route within the City. This tourism network is an important feature of our City's identity in respect of the fact that we have been home to various historical personalities and events that contributed significantly to the political shaping of modern South Africa.
Already, the OR Tambo Precinct in Wattville and the Chris Hani Museum have been existing as focal points of the Liberation Heritage Route. We are now planning to incorporate into this route the site of the CODESA negotiations which were held at the World Trade Centre here in our Kempton Park.
The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), in joint venture with Gibela Rail Transport Consortium (Pty) Ltd, has embarked on a refurbishment and replacement campaign in order to transform and modernize all of its current rolling stock.
Gibela has been awarded the contract by PRASA to build and deliver 600 trains to South Africa's Metro Rail network between 2015 and 2025. Prasa-Gibela has established a rail manufacturing plant (106 ha in extend) for the manufacturing of the new rolling stock of approximately 3 500 train carriages.
The Train Manufacturing Plant in Nigel was officially launched by president Ramaphosa on the 25th October 2018. The project will improve the current state of trains in South Africa and will allow Prasa to provide an excellent service that is safe and secure. In the process, job opportunities will be provided to residents of Ekurhuleni. Prasa will replace all or part of the current fleet over the next 10 to 15 years.
The core issues of policy that we have worked around to turn this situation around pertain to intervention on education and business support initiatives. Our policy strategy has been to boost skills development within the city and give financial and other support measures to small businesses that can get us going in the creation of jobs.
We allocated up to R150 billion of actual expenditure on economic initiatives and an additional R570 million for the Aerotropolis Masterplan Implementation. Of that total amount, R20.3 billion went to work done by Women, HDI and Youth owned enterprises.
The overall yield from those investments assisted 10 000 previously unemployed youth through empowerment and the creation of 14 043 work opportunities. To date, we have 379 SMMEs that have been incubated in various fields.
Our business support programmes have also been giving us some much-needed economic relief. We have 102 learner contractors and 102 learner supervisors to the EPWP Vukuphile Programme at the tune of R500 million per annum over three years.
We also received R44 million from the national fiscus for job creation and the proposed new EPWP policy which ensures that capital projects generate jobs for local labour. Our Grant-In-Aid programme has produced 1521 beneficiaries at a total allocation value of R100 million.
The Grant-In-Aid funding has been one of our most impactful funding mechanisms for small businesses.
This is confirmed by Carol Madumo, one of the recipients of assistance from the Grant-In-Aid funding. In her own words, she told us that:
I have been running training workshops but always had a dream to open my own cooking school and thanks to the funding from Ekurhuleni, I now have the financial muscle to plough back to the community with the hope that they too will impart the knowledge they get to other aspiring chefs.
The financial support granted to Carol has equipped her to train aspiring chefs on food handling at her newly launched Carol Madumo Project (CMP) Catering School. The grant-in-aid not only equipped her to buy uniform and cooking material, but it also helped her to hold a graduation ceremony for her class of 2018. She has already enrolled a new batch of students who are now paying to be taught at the Carol Madumo Project (CMP) Catering School based at the O.R Tambo Cultural Precinct in Wattville.
In advancing our skills development project, we increased our education allocation to R100 million community bursary fund. This is a 10-fold increase from the previous years when the bursary fund was at R10 million. The net effect of this investment has been an increase in the number of beneficiaries from 297 to 1850 with an intention to increase it 3-fold in 5 years.
This increase in our bursary allocation has enabled us to help many young people to realize their dreams of pursuing academic training in different career fields. One outstanding recipient of this bursary assistance is a young lady by the name of Dr Naledi Mashishi.
Dr. Naledi Mashishi is bursary recipient of the City of Ekurhuleni who graduated with a degree in medicine in 2018. She is currently doing her internship at the Far East Hospital and sits on the board of Silence Violence - a non-profit organisation dedicated to developing leadership and educational skills in Mannenburg.
In reflecting about her post-schooling journey, she says: When I sat for my matric, I had no idea where the money to continue with my studies would come from.
All I knew was that I had to work hard as I had done through my high school by always being in the top 10 of my class.
Through this bursary programme we have been working systematically to boost the enrollment of as many young people as possible in the scarce skills fields. We have funded the enrollment of students into mathematical, computational, engineering, medical and aviation studies among others.
Jabulani Mthembu from Vosloorus and Nathaniel Netshidzivhani from Germiston are bursary recipients who enrolled at the Elite Aviation Academy, at the Rand Airport in Germiston. Both gentlemen have already received their private pilot licenses which required 100 hours of flying.
Nathaniel has already completed his 200 hours and is now officially a commercial pilot. Jabulani Mthembu is still working towards his 200 hours. We wish him all the best in completing his required hours.
We received a special letter of gratitude from Nkululeko Sokweba - one of the recipients of our bursary scheme. I would like the opportunity to read out this letter, in order to demonstrate how the lives and futures of beneficiaries of this bursary are impacted.
I hope this email finds you well
I was awarded the EMTAF in 2016 during the most difficult time in my life, having had completed my Pilots licence with no luck in getting employment. I wrote to more than 25 sponsors, getting a regret letter each time. I felt optimistic about receiving favourite considerations.
I spent the last two years of my life garnering the hours needed for me to become well sought out. You opened doors for me to spread my wings – literally – and fly. I was able, through your most appreciated help, to travel South Africa and taste a bit of my dreams flying to places I never imagined existed.
I came out of the evergreen cycle of stigma that I wont amount to anything, and that I was bound to die in the same shack I was born in. I did all that not because I was smart or had achieved good grades at school, it was because of your big heart that saw me break boundaries that had defined my kind in our society.
I am now employed as a Flight Instructor at Wonderboom Airport in Pretoria. I had articles written about me and in every single one of them I sing praise of your esteemed values of seeing people like me rise above all odds. You did not only sponsor me as an individual in getting the hours that I needed to become employed – you helped my entire family to believe that poverty has its days numbered.
It is such letters from young people like Nkululeko which give us a sense of hope that our efforts are not in vain. The work that we are doing has far more profound impact than we can imagine on the lives of the ordinary people in our city, for access to education is not only about one's own upward mobility, but about the empowerment of entire communities, because graduates plough back not only in their families, but in the society at large.
We have also managed the placement of 1 500 unemployed youth in internships over and above the 3 513 who are already in the system. Furthermore, we have afforded learnerships to an additional 315 learners over and above the 275 already in the system.
We commissioned a feasibility study on the University of Ekurhuleni to focus in the areas of applied engineering, logistics, science, aviation, tourism and hospitality. That study gave us the understanding that indeed there is a need and immense potential for a University within the city.
Consequently, we started the process of lobbying national government for the establishment of a University. So far, we have reached a common understanding with the Department of Higher Education and Training and have an in-principle agreement that this University can be establishment. We are still negotiating modalities of what shape and form it will take and over what period will it come to life.
The significance of building of a university in the city will not be limited only to the area of education. A university is a complex institutional setup that broadly impacts urban development. It will concentrate high numbers of people in a central area which will produce new human settlements, commercial enterprises and transportation networks that will all produce a dynamic urban center. This will inform the development of many business ideas that straddle the business, artistic, cultural and entrepreneurial value chains.
Our commitment to the development of young people extends to more than the provision of bursaries and scholarships. Council also took the progressive adoption of a resolution to support youth set-asides in our employment strategy. The decision to give a minimum of 40% work opportunities to unemployed and skilled youth is an important milestone. It gives impetus to our fight against poverty, unemployment and general youth underdevelopment.
Madame Speaker, the construction of a city is not just in the realm of the material. There are symbolic and spiritual values that underpin a sense of belonging and displacement within cities. This is more pronounced in polities with a complex and violent history of colonialism such as ours.
The idea of a city such as ours is a historically contested idea. Colonial powers imposed a certain value system upon our society and buttressed it with a set of symbols that denoted who belonged within and outside that civilization. This dynamic is articulated clearly by the names given to our streets, settlements and buildings across the city.
We must build a city whose landmarks, highways, streets and intersections bear a resemblance of all the people who make up its population. The collective identity and moral image of the city must be drawn from within the histories of the whole population. The children of our city must grow up in an environment that bears names that are familiar to their home languages and of people they interface with in their everyday lives.
It is undesirable, and indeed unjust, for the city's landmarks to bear the names that speak to the histories of one section of the population. Similarly, we cannot dwell in a city whose landmarks bear names whose histories move counter to the democratic post-colonial society we are actively building in this country.
We have therefore embarked on a process of renaming especially roads and streets within the city.
Central to that project is the desire to uproot the colonial histories embodied in the geographical naming of the city as a collective space with an inclusive, non-racial and democratic value proposition to future generations.
We continue to commemorate the lives of the stalwarts of the liberation struggle of our country precisely because we want to inform a new value system within our City. In 2017, we commemorated the centenary celebrations of the life of Oliver Tambo who served as the primary leading personality of the liberation movement in gathering international support against the apartheid regime. This was followed in 2018 by the joint commemoration of the lives of Margaret Gazo, Albertina Sisulu and President Nelson Mandela in their shared centenary year.
Similarly, the City of Ekurhuleni profiles itself as 'Smart, Creative and Developmental City'. In order to position the City as a cultural, creative city as well as a preferred tourism destination, it is imperative that the City invest in an annual signature event that is locally, nationally and internationally recognised and that will position the City and yield economic spin offs for the region, local artists and its communities in general as well as contribute to improved balance between work and play - quality of life.
The City implemented a very successful Signature Event Community Development Programme in 2016/2017 in an attempt to identity the level of artistic expression available in Ekurhuleni. The programme entailed performing arts, film, crafts, design and theatre. The concept has also been workshopped with stakeholders and there is broad consensus on the approach to the staging of this programme.
As the first project of the coming financial year, the Department will now proceed with a public process of Request For Proposals that will culminate in the appointment of a service provider to design, conceptualize and implement the programme commencing in the 2019/2010 financial year. It is envisaged that the service provider will be appointed by end June 2019.
Already, we have been investing seriously in the development of sporting and recreational capabilities within the City. We have hosted successive Mayoral Diski Games whose aim is to sustain Ekurhuleni's contribution to national sports by producing local talent that goes on to represent the country at national level.
We are planning to build a 20 000-capacity multipurpose seater in Kempton Park within the next 3 years.
We also intend on building an Olympic size swimming pool in Tembisa within the same period. A community swimming pool in Eden Park was completed and opened two weeks ago. In the coming year we will be opening more swimming pools starting with one pool in Duduza by June.
The establishment of pools in our communities give young people a meaningful extra-mural activity that takes them off the streets while simultaneously engaging them in physical exercise, which is imperative in our fight against obesity and other lifestyle related illnesses that afflict millions of people in our country.
But the benefits of community pools are also deeply political. Due to our history of separate development, township communities have been deprived of many resources, such as pools, which impede on the potential of young people to become water sports professionals, which necessarily depends on access to such infrastructure. Such initiatives are an attempt at redress, at seeking, as far as possible, spatial justice.
Madame Speaker, there is a lot of scope for us to utilize sports and recreation as a mechanism to intervene on social problems of drug abuse and unemployment. This is why we organized a youth camp programme from 28 January to 01 February 2019. This programme targets unemployed youth and vulnerable children within the City of Ekurhuleni.
The initial focus was on youth within Ekurhuleni who had volunteered in all our recreation programmes who are currently unemployed. It is for the first time in the current financial year that we accommodated youth at risk, recovering drug addicts, which was a concerted effort with the national Department of Social Development.
Madame Speaker, this is our first policy statement as we start the second Medium Term Revenue and Expenditure Framework. This MTREF is the last lap of the 2016-2021 political administration of the City of Ekurhuleni. We have given ourselves to the task of acting with speed, determination and courage to improve the living conditions of the people of the City. This is a commitment to which we remain true and will sustain until the end of our tenure.
In commencing with our term of office, we outlined a clear programme of action to advance a pro-poor agenda as our guiding philosophy. We defined this agenda as a deliberate and systematic bias to rollout service delivery and economic development opportunities in a manner that uplifts the poorest sections of Ekurhuleni. This arose from the reality that, in our city, the demographic tension that binds race, class and gender - in the context of stubborn and diabolical apartheid spatial planning- is dramatically defined.
We have therefore kept out eyes focused on the goal of dismantling the systemic crises of racial, class and gender oppression. The successful resolution of these systemic problems will produce a social system in which ordinary people of Ekurhuleni and the country at large have access to a future that enriches their human development without the trappings of race, gender and class hierarchies.
In that future, ordinary folks who bear names such as Nthabeleng and Themba together with their children with names such as Nkateko will be free to dream and live a life that is better than the current conditions in our informal settlements. This is the future we envision, and which informs our pro-poor agenda.
Today we have given an account of how much progress we have made in pursuit of the objectives of our pro-poor agenda. We have also outlined concrete plans for the next two-and-a-half years that remain in front of us. These plans are informed by the experience we have from the previous MTREF and we have seen areas of improvement that will require maximum attention from all of us.
This state of the city address is our key policy instrument for mobilizing all sectors of our society in the city towards a common goal of growth that benefits all out people. It is our view that we now need coherence and unity in action towards building a robust local economy that grows in the hands of the people.
The MMC of Finance Cllr Doctor Xhakaza will be tabling before this Council our proposed budget for the medium-term revenue and expenditure framework that is about to commence. It is that budget that will provide the financial plans we have put in place to achieve the policy commitments that we have outlined in this State of the City Address.
In principle, we have continued to engage in a counter-cyclical fiscal policy strategy to counter the effects of the structural problems that confront our City. The pressures on our revenue are real but have been met by an equally realistic planning capability on our part to intervene in a manner that reverses the decline in our revenue base without shifting the pressure to households as clients of the City.
Otherwise, all our efforts will amount to nothing if we do not dent the structural inequalities that are viciously biased against the people in our townships and informal settlements. These are mostly African women and youth who are locked in conditions of hopelessness.
The Growth and Development Strategy (2055) of our city instructs us that we should be consolidating the work of building a capable City from 2020 to 2030. Central to this vision of a capable City is the building of an efficient local economy that addresses the material needs of our residents.
We will be engaging with local entrepreneurs to assess the state and sustainability of their businesses in order to extend the necessary financial and technical support. Businesses that will benefit from this initiative will be chosen on merit. We will prioritise businesses owned by young people, women and persons with disabilities, to ensure that resources are channeled towards businesses that will contribute meaningfully towards building a local economy that grows in the hands of the people.
This initiative will complement the Pitching Booster, a government program designed to attract young entrepreneurs who have innovative ideas to solve their community/ country problems whilst generating income for their businesses. Key objectives of the Pitching Booster are to:
- provide financial support needed to small businesses as funding remains a key barrier to entrepreneurship,
- deliberately transform sectors which were previously marginalized by providing requisite accreditations and registration to Black-owned manufacturers and producers to ensure access to formal markets,
- provide formal training and incubation to winning pitches; and to
- inculcate the spirit of entrepreneurship amongst township businesses, encouraging customer orientation and professionalism.
Our commitment to building a sustainable local economy is top priority to us.
We have outlined our plan to achieve this noble goal with this state of the city address and will provide the resource plan through the budget speech in the coming period.
We dare not linger in the quest to provide practical relief to the most needy and poor people of our City and it is to their plight that we should be more sensitive, for our very existence in this chamber is made possible by these masses.
It is their lives, wishes and aspirations that must guide our thinking and inform all the choices that we make. This is the spirit that has kept us going since the start of our term of office and we will continue holding on to it.
We are determined to surmount the courage and fortitude to lead the City of Ekurhuleni till the last day of our term of office. Our leadership is geared towards achieving the political objectives of a transformed City that we set for ourselves since coming into office.
In conclusion, Madame Speaker, I want to highlight that the progress we have made has been achieved within the context of what was an unusual political setup. We have worked within the context of a coalition government owing to the indefinite electoral outcomes of the 2016 Local Government Elections. But history will record that we have been able to make use of this situation in the best manner possible; with the interests of the people of Ekurhuleni forever taking priority.
We owe an indelible debt to our coalition partners who have walked along with us since day one. It is their commitment to the principles of good governance, people-centered service delivery and the maximization of the democratic dividend that has carried us to this point. We thank the rigorous support that we receive from Council in our collective bid to fulfil our respective mandates.
We are grateful to councilors with whom we have been working to ensure that ours is a City that works.
Their selfless dedication to the people of Ekurhuleni is immeasurable.
I must also thank the African National Congress Caucus and the political leadership of the Regional ANC
for the overall guidance and support.
I also wish to thank my family, in particular my wife, who continues to be a pillar of strength and to support me in my work.
Today, in delivering this State of the City Address, we are restating our commitment to building a local economy that grows in the hands of the people. We invite all of you to join us in ensuring that we provide a better life for all – a life of hope, prosperity and above all, dignity.
I thank you.