On this day, 3 years ago, our nation’s founding father, Nelson Mandela, died. Today we recognise the South Africa he dreamed of by presenting our achievements over the last 100 days. We are turning this City into a place that Madiba would have been proud of and thank the residents of the Bay for their ongoing support and encouragement.
They say that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and indeed the same applies to our beautiful city of Nelson Mandela Bay.
After the DA-led coalition government took office, the work began to turn a Metro around that had for years been plagued by incompetent governance, corruption, poor service delivery and unemployment.
Rebuilding a city takes time, concerted effort, integrity and determination.
The people of this Metro delivered a strong message to the outgoing government on the 3rd August 2016: “You disappointed us, you let us down and now we want change.”
Well, change is what the people of the Bay got and will continue to get.
Change that finally ushers in an era of freedom, fairness and opportunity for all.
Change that will see better services delivered, economic growth that creates jobs and the end of corruption.
This certainly wasn’t going to happen in a day, but in 100 days we have seen massive transformation that bodes well for the future of our Municipality, as foundations are laid for a better future for all.
Our mission to stop corruption has been strengthened with the launch of an anti-corruption hotline, which was already resulted in 38 internal investigations. Municipal staff and residents have clearly taken this service into their confidence, considering that complainants’ information is kept confidential and information is immediately acted on.
Political will is what drives change and this new government has made it clear that corruption in Nelson Mandela Bay will not be tolerated, and that those found guilty of corrupt dealings will face the full might of the law.
Recent suspensions and dismissals of numerous senior municipal officials, in the face of scathing evidence, is testament to this government’s strong position on corruption and fraud.
Furthermore, transparency and accountability are crucial to stamping out corruption, which is precisely why we have opened up Mayoral Committee Meetings to the public and media. Every decision made by this senior committee can be scrutinised by our customers and we are willing to be held accountable for the decisions we make.
Financial deviations, meant only for absolute emergency situations, became the hallmark of our predecessors, with hundreds of thousands of Rand spent outside the parameters of the Municipality’s budget. This can only be attributed to poor planning and an incomplete ID. I made a commitment when we took office that this government would not use deviations as a matter of course, and that proper planning would be the order of the day. This change has already seen a huge reduction in the number of deviations approved by this administration.
Uitenhage, Despatch and KwaNobuhle, previously considered the step siblings of Port Elizabeth, have received my personal attention since taking office. I committed to spending a full day in these towns every second week, and this is exactly what I’ve done. Since taking office, I have spent at least 5 full days working out of the Uitenhage Town Hall, conducting oversight of municipal facilities, visiting businesses and schools, engaging with residents and monitoring service delivery projects. As a result, I am proud to announce that over the last 8 weeks, in Uitenhage, Despatch and KwaNobuhle, 2500 water leaks have been fixed in these communities, 29 families have received title deeds to their homes and 3 main roads have been resurfaced.
With a specific focus on directorates, the following important achievements are in place after this DA-led coalition government got down to work from the first day in office.
In the Directorate of Roads and Transport, we have seen an immense scale of work done on many roads right across the Metro. Traffic lights, road markings and streetlights are maintained regularly and our roadways are already in a much better state.
- Promise: Upon taking office, we identified numerous roads in the Metro that required urgent attention, and thus we committed to resurfacing & resealing sections of at least 15 roads.
- Outcome: Over the last 100 days, we have completed work on 13 major roads and a further 4 roads are currently under construction.
- Promise: In the interest of creating work and keeping our Metro clean, we committed to appointing 192 EPWP workers to assist with the clearing of storm water drains and open ditches.
- Outcome: We have almost doubled the number of promised EPWP appointments with 300 workers now fully employed, 229 of whom were welcomed into the EPWP programme at an event in Uitenhage on the 6th October 2016.
- Promise: We committed to quicker response times for fixing faulty streetlights, traffic lights and potholes.
- Outcome: In the interest of keeping our roads safer, we are delighted to announce that there has been a vast improvement in response time to repair potholes and fix streetlights; we are now meeting our target to make potholes safe within 24 hours of reporting, with full repairs taking place within 72 hours.
While we have successfully delivered on our Roads and Transport promises, we have gone above and beyond by also surfacing 10 gravel roads, most of which are in township communities and are due to be complete by the 9th December 2016. Furthermore we have signed off a R15 million road upgrade project in Walmer Township, due to start in 2017, and have rehabilitated a storm water pond in KwaNobuhle so that it now also serves as a recreational space.
In terms of the IPTS project, we have closed all IPTS lanes with large bollards to prevent illegal traffic flow until we go live with the system in June 2017. We have secured budget of R629 million between now and the 2018/19 financial year, by which time we will have three trunk routes in operation between Cleary Park and the CBD, Uitenhage and the CBD, and Njoli and the CBD.
Furthermore, we launched a bursary programme worth approximately R30 million that will see 1800 residents engage in learnerships across the transport sector; air, land and sea. Skills development is a crucial part of our commitment to grow the economy and provide opportunities to Bay residents.
In Budget and Treasury, we have exceeded our savings target by a massive R100 million. Having secured savings of approximately R200 million in the last 100 days, we are now well placed to channel this money towards improving service delivery and growing the economy to create jobs.
- Promise: It is important for us to secure at least R100 million in savings so that we can improve service delivery.
- Outcome: We have identified approximately R200 million worth of savings by reducing operational expenditure, such as travel, furniture, stationery and clothing, and cutting the size of and salaries in political offices.
- Promise: Tamper-proof Supply Chain Management.
- Outcome: The Director of Supply Chain Management has been issued with a notice to suspend and the CFO has been placed on precautionary suspension. The acting officials in these positions are incredibly competent and will ensure that Supply Chain Management is tamper-proof going forward. In addition to this, a new position for a Quantity Surveyor has been placed on the organogram and the position will be advertised in due course. This will ensure that all bids provide value for money and the bills of quantities don’t result in costly deviations.
- Promise: Ensure that bid adjudication is beyond reproach.
- Outcome: The new Acting CFO is now chairing the Bid Adjudication Committee, which is entirely open to the public. This will clamp down on any misconduct in this forum.
In Corporate Services, a great deal of work has been undertaken towards dealing with disciplinary matters and restructuring the Macro Organogram. The latter is a massive task which requires extensive engagement with all stakeholders, including Unions.
- Promise: Complete Macro Organogram.
- Outcome: The organogram in its current format has been reviewed and any identified ghost employees have been removed. Our commitment to amend the macro structure to ensure improved service delivery will require many months of deliberations, which are ongoing.
- Promise: We committed to filling critical service delivery vacancies so that we are able to improve response times to municipal infrastructure faults.
- Outcome: We had identified 128 vacancies in Electricity and Energy and Infrastructure and Engineering, 83 of which have now been filled. This will have a noticeable impact on the speed at which the Municipality deals with service delivery matters.
- Promise: It was important for us to finalise long outstanding disciplinary matters from the ANC administration.
- Outcome: Since taking office, both Mod Ndoyana and Sox Nkanjeni have been dismissed. Other proceedings against various officials are ongoing and will be finalised in 2017.
Having previously committed to reducing the number of acting positions, our focus on expediting disciplinary proceedings means that we are very near to having a complete set of full-time executive directors. Furthermore, we have rolled out a qualifications audit for all senior managers to ensure the legitimacy of their qualifications, which will be closely followed by a skills audit.
In Infrastructure and Engineering, we are hard at work to ensure that our infrastructure is maintained through the filling of vacancies, skills development and unit capacity. Two of our major concerns are the number of water leaks in the Metro and the extent of the bucket toilet crisis, both of which are receiving our undivided attention.
- Promise: Complete Missionvale bulk infrastructure project.
- Outcome: After our predecessors built a number of homes without toilets, this new government has been able to connect houses to water and sewerage mains, restoring dignity to the lives of many residents.
- Promise: Begin eradicating bucket toilets through affordable and feasible means, to be completed by the end of 2017.
- Outcome: We have visited the communal ablutions facility at the Matthew Goniwe Hostel, and will be taking this concept to public participation, along with many other alternatives. We want to ensure that residents are able to choose their preferred form of sanitation, rather than having a certain concept prescribed to them. We remain committed to our promise to eradicate all bucket toilets on municipal land by the end of 2017.
- Promise: Fully operationalise Joint Operation Centre to deal with service delivery complaints.
- Outcome: The 0800 20 50 50 is working excellently, dealing with between 3000 and 5000 calls a week, dispatching teams to faults and keeping residents up to date. Our fault logging and reporting system, Engineering Design and Asset Management System (EDAMS), is proving to be of critical value and is making our dispatch and monitoring procedures all the more efficient.
In addition to the achievements mentioned above, the Municipality has focused on dealing with a number of leaks in Uitenhage and Despatch over the last 8 weeks. 2500 leaks have been fixed, or around 90% of those reported. This is a particularly outstanding achievement, which we aim to replicate across the Metro.
In the Directorate of Safety and Security, we have made enormous headway. Our initial focus was to revamp the Metro Police Force that was entirely broken under our predecessors, and focus on policing by-laws and improving law enforcement in general.
- Promise: We wanted to ensure that 50 metro police officers were on our streets by December 2016 so that we make our City safe again.
- Outcome: With a new Metro Police Chief, Yolande Faro, in place since the 1st December 2016, and 41 staff members currently operating in the Metro Police Special By-Law Unit, we have made massive headway with our municipal police service. A further 202 staff members are fully qualified and compliant and only awaiting grading before being sworn in.
- Promise: Increasing law enforcement and monitoring by-laws is of paramount importance so that we can reduce unacceptable levels of crime and gangsterism across the City.
- Outcome: Since the By-Law Unit came into operation on the 13th October 2016, 1338 by-law infringement fines have been issued, totalling R400 350. This unit is hard at work on a daily basis ensuring that residents abide by the Municipality’s by-laws.
Safety and Security has received a significant boost since this new government took office, with at least 3 roadblocks taking place every week, numerous fines and warrants being issued and unroadworthy cars being impounded. Road and community safety is of critical importance and remains a priority for this administration.
In Human Settlements, we are still working towards reclaiming the responsibility of building houses from the National Department of Human Settlements. Sadly, under our predecessors the housing list became an absolute shambles. We are working towards cleaning this list up so that we can make it reliable, publicly available and easily accessible.
- Promise: We committed to appointing a full-time Executive Director to give the directorate guidance and stability.
- Outcome: A new ED for Human Settlements was appointed on the 1st December 2016, Ms Nolwandle Gqiba, current Municipal Manager of the former Lukhanji Municipality. She joins us with a wealth of experience and will guide our Human Settlements Directorate one of national recognition.
- Promise: Promulgate a Problem Buildings By-Law to clean the city up of derelict buildings and rejuvenate our urban centre.
- Outcome: The drafting of this by-law is at an advanced stage and promulgation is expected in early 2017.
While our hands are somewhat tied by the involvement of the National Department of Human Settlements, we are still proceeding with the distribution of title deeds to rightful owners. Just last week we handed out 29 title deeds to delighted families in Tiryville, Uitenhage, and there are t least another 500 title deeds that will be distributed in due course.
Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture remains an important directorate for recognising heroes, encouraging social cohesion and developing healthy communities. We remain committed to opening the Red Location Museum, having engaged with the community on 3 separate occasions. Furthermore, we will continue to attract major sporting events to our City, while proudly acknowledging many sporting and cultural heroes from every corner of the Bay.
- Promise: We promised to open the Red Location Museum to expose tourists and residents to the rich history and heritage of our city.
- Outcome: Skills and Business Audits have been completed and an item has been approved by the Mayoral Committee to set aside R8.3 million for revamping and securing the facility. The next meeting with the community is tomorrow and we look forward to reaching an agreement on when this important museum will be opened.
Our City has enormous sports-tourism potential having recently won the bid to host the 2018 Ironman Championship and various other sporting events. Along with our 3 blue flag beaches, warm ocean water and spectacular climate, Nelson Mandela Bay is quickly becoming the country’s hotspot for nature- and sport-loving visitors.
In Public Health, we worked tirelessly to grow our litter picking and bush cutting capacity, while ensuring that every single ward is serviced with refuse collection. This City used to win awards for cleanliness, but when we took office those days had long since gone. Our mission is to bring these awards back to our shores, through focused and extensive clean up campaigns.
- Promise: We committed to rolling out weekly refuse collection in every ward to curb illegal dumping.
- Outcome: This has been achieved and all 60 wards now receive timeous and regular refuse collection.
- Promise: Roll out litter picking services across the Metro to clean up dumping hotspots.
- Outcome: We now have 1280 people employed in litter picking and cleaning services, focusing on public toilets, access roads, bridges and general open spaces. The results are starting to show and our city is already looking cleaner, although we still have a long way to go.
Constituency Services are crucial to keeping government close to its people, which is why our process of creating ward committees is being carefully managed to ensure fairness and freedom for all. Previously, ward committees were misused for political gain and not for the benefit of residents – those days are over. Public participation will begin within the next few weeks so that ward committees can be elected that truly represent all communities.
In Economic Development, Tourism and Agriculture, work is underway to rationalise all municipal entities to ensure efficiency and delivery. An economic advisory council, made up of key industry specialists selected by myself, is in the process of being formed to advise the administration on all matters relating to economic development and tourism growth.
I have always committed to being honest with the residents of this Metro, and as such it is important to note that there is still work to do on some items outlined in my 100 day speech. However, we come close to a perfect score. Obstacles and challenges are part of the work that we do and as long as we can overcome them, be self-reflective in the work we do, while continuing to move forward, this City will go from strength to strength.
I am humbled by the work ethic and dedication of my Mayoral Committee Members, the City Manager, Municipal Staff and volunteers. The progress we have made in this short space of time is truly remarkable and if in 3 months we have can achieve this then in 5 years our City will be transformed.
More importantly, to the residents of the Bay who have stood by us, through some trying times, thank you for the ongoing backing and encouragement.
We are building one City, with one future, where freedom, fairness and opportunity exist for all. This will take time, but it will be done.
Latest posts by Alan Straton (see all)
- As a Hetrosexual Male Will You Take part in This Experiment? - 22 November 2019
- Creepy or Not? - 22 November 2019
- Repo rate remains unchanged - 21 November 2019
- 8 Year Trade Agreement to Generate over R30 Million Sales Revenue for Rural Farmers - 21 November 2019
- Understatement of the Year; “SOEs remain under pressure” - 20 November 2019