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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
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.

April 23
Let these Easter holidays be road carnage free

THE Easter Weekend is upon us and as a result, South Africans in their large numbers will undertake various journeys to religious pilgrimages, holidays with others conducting their routine business activities.

These holidays are very sacred to the Christian faith. As the City we are grateful to have multitudes of South Africans making Durban their home this time of the year. It is why without fail; we pull all the stops to ensure that we are in a position to meet the needs of our visitors unwaveringly. As a leader, I am extremely concerned about accidents that happen on our roads during holidays. This state of affairs on our roads is unacceptable and it must be dealt with aggressively.

It is so rampant that as the public we have become so used to it. It is worrying because government spends millions on road safety campaigns but our province by virtue of being a holiday destination, continues to account for a substantial number of road deaths. We have just emerged from Human Rights month and I think it is high time that we elevate road safety high on the agenda as a human rights issue. What we together did to apartheid must be repeated to road carnages on the country’s roads.

April is one of the important months in the history of the republic as it was on 27 April 1994 when black South Africans voted for the first time. The day was deservedly declared Freedom Day. We are very grateful that our City is hosting the provincial leg of Freedom Day celebrations. This will take place at King Zwelithini Stadium in uMlazi and the key note address is expected to be delivered by Premier Willies Mchunu. Let us spread the word and mobilise as many people as possible to fill up the stadium. It is a must that every South African must celebrate this day for it saved our country that was pushed closer to the precipice by the old order. Had it not been for that day, this country would today be a pinnacle of instability.

To say thank you to all freedom fighters living and departed, all of us who are registered to vote, must do so on 8 May. As the City we are noting the concerns raised by our residents with regard to proposed increase on our tariffs. Indeed, our residents have a reason to be aggrieved but the city is left with no option but to make these proposals. We should all be mindful of the fact that for instance, we buy water from uMngeni Water while we are supplied electricity by Eskom. Both these companies have increased their prices. As result the City’s failure to hike tariffs, could sound its death knell.

The 2019/20 budget hearings, where these issues are going to be dissected, have already commenced. We urge residents to make their voices heard by participating in the consultative meetings. I would like to wish you all pleasant Easter holidays.

April 08
Displacement of foreign nationals not xenophobic

​WHEN news broke of “xenophobic” attacks in the City, I personally visited the area to gauge what transpired. I was distressed to see women and children homeless and temporarily accommodated in a shelter.

The briefing I received from officials and police was emphatic that it was not xenophobia. The violence was triggered by a criminal act by a Malawian national which incensed South Africans resulting in a confrontation. Fearful, the Malawians fled and sought refuge at a nearby police station. There was another incident where foreign shop owners were allegedly robbed at gunpoint at their shops, resulting in two South Africans sustaining gunshot injuries.

I am grateful that our efforts to reintegrate those displaced back into the communities from which they fled, have been successful. I would like to extend my gratitude to community leaders who came on board to assist. Working with the Malawian High Commissioner, we are closely monitoring the situation.

Sadly, while we were celebrating this reintegration, news broke that a young man was allegedly stabbed to death by foreign nationals in uMlazi. It is alleged that the enraged community started to attack foreign shop owners in the area in retaliation. The motive for the murder is unclear.

However, we must not forget that Africans paid a hefty price for our freedom and we are indebted to many African states who opened their countries to us during apartheid. There are numerous incidents where the South African Defence Force (SADF), Special Forces and the Security Branch raided neighboring countries in pursuit of freedom fighters. How can we forget the raid in Gabarone in Botswana on 14 June 1985 where the SADF illegally crossed into the country and attacked the offices of Umkhonto we Sizwe mowing down 12 people including women and children. Only five of the victims were members of the ANC.

On 9 December 1982, the SADF illegally entered Lesotho where they sprayed a cluster of houses on the outskirts of Maseru with bullets. By morning, 42 people were dead with only 30 of them believed to be members of the ANC. The remainder were Basotho nationals including women and children. These are just two of the horrific incidents that occurred in neighbouring countries. And despite the violence ravaged against them, they did not order us to leave their countries. Instead their support grew stronger.

There has to be continued dialogue until we reach an amicable solution that will enable us to maintain stability in our communities and coexist peacefully. I urge you all to join our crusade for peace.

March 25
Coming together during natural disasters

LET me take this opportunity to send my heartfelt condolences to the families that lost loved ones during the heavy rains experienced recently which triggered flooding in the northern parts of the City. Our hearts also go out to the families of the three school children who lost their lives while crossing the street in Newlands.

The City is looking into ways to ensure motorists reduce their speed on that stretch of road. We are a caring City and as such we have taken the decision to assist the bereaved families, who lost family members during the flooding, with the burial of their loved ones. We will also be providing them with food hampers. We believe in Ubuntu and have extended a helping hand to these families in need.

Severe flooding was experienced in many areas north of the City especially in KwaMashu where a number of houses were flooded. This resulted in furniture, food and many other household items being damaged. I would like to commend all our employees for the sterling work they have done to offer much needed relief aid to victims. We are certain that our relief efforts have provided much needed welfare to those affected.

We would also like to thank the MEC of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube for the distinguished leadership she has provided in this regard during this trying time. It is important to note that the widespread flooding was a result of irresponsible behaviour by some who dispose of waste into the drainage system. This behaviour needs to stop as we are spending resources trying to rid our stormwater system of this waste.

I urge everyone to join the crusade against dumping solid waste into our drainage system. We must teach our children this from a young age so that they grow with this knowledge into responsible and civic-minded adults. In conclusion, I would like to reiterate the call made by national government to use electricity sparingly. The country is currently experiencing widespread load shedding and we all need to work together to confront this challenge.

I need to add that compounding our woes, is that amidst this challenge electricity is being stolen. We have many in our communities who can afford to pay for electricity but choose not to, instead opting to steal it and then abuse it as they know someone else will be footing the bill.

If we do not work together to nip this illicit behaviour in the bud, our country will continue to be plagued by blackouts. Let us be good residents by saving electricity and paying for that which we use.

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