To see how hard working Ward Councillors go about their jobs, see Ward 2 councillor, Dean Biddulph’s newsletter below.
You may contact Ward 2 using the contact form at the bottom of this report.
The headline articles in the Herald recently are a clear indication that the recent shuffle within the top structure of the ANC locally has done nothing to quell the instability and infighting within the ruling party caucus. A visit on Monday this week by Derek Hanekom and senior ANC provincial leaders also seems to have not had the desired effect as the case to try and unseat the new City Manager continues.
Since the departure of the previous incumbent Cllr Zonoxolo Wayile and the arrival of Ben Fihla,the situation appears to have deteriorated and has done absolutely nothing to achieve the goals of stabilising the institution nor has it restored any air of credibility to the metro. Having attended council meetings since the swearing in of the new mayor, it is also clear that the mayor is doing little more than keeping the seat warm and who appears instead to be entirely subordinate to his Deputy, Cllr Chippa Ngcolomba.
In council meetings it verges upon embarrassing to see how Cllr Ngcolomba responds to all queries directed to the mayor, on his behalf – and it is also plain to see the Deputy Mayor whispering into Fihla’s ear before the mayor personally responds to any matter. This farce has deteriorated to the point where, at the last sitting of council, Fihla did not utter one word throughout the meeting, sitting quietly and listening to Cllrs Ngcolomba and Joy Seale, the Chief Whip pressing forward with their own agenda.
It also remains to be seen just to what extent former mayor and REC chairman Nceba Faku is still involved in exerting any influence on the new mayoral team although it is noteworthy that many of Faku’s previous Vision 2020 projects have been pushed very firmly to the top of the metro priorities list in various directorates. These were largely shelved yet have found currency again with the arrival of the new mayoral team. If any influence is still being brought to bear it conveniently places Faku in the enviable position of no longer having to answer to either the council nor the ANC’s regional executive committee.
One of the more contentious items that was brought to the last meeting of council was the attempt via a last minute supplementary agenda to rescind a decision taken by a majority in council in December 2012 to reject the flawed ward committee process undertaken by Cllr Mafana when still the portfolio councillor for the Constituency Services under which the Constituency Services Office resides.
It is simply beyond belief and an insult to the intelligence of our metro residents that such a manipulated process could in any way be described as either legitimate or democratic as asserted by the Deputy Mayor. As councillor for Ward 2, I can confirm for example that not one of the nominees forwarded by the ward office were recognized nor considered to serve on the ward committee in spite of many having served on the previous ward committee which ran effectively and smoothly. In addition, the advertised nomination forms and boxes were never delivered to the ward office. Many illegitimate “elections” took place long after the scheduled times and after people had already left in frustration.
The fault lines running through the ruling party are unlikely to be resolved anytime soon particularly as they now cross ideological and factional lines with the Communist Party members feeling that they are being targeted as the new leadership continues their purge of the Wayile grouping.
One can only hope that the many council members who showed the moral fortitude to reject the proposal of the Chief Whip and Deputy Mayor in trying to force through the blatantly flawed process of the previous ward committee elections will stand firm and stand strong with those of us who would prefer to work together in the best interests of our metro in restoring both credibility, stability and pride to our city, our home.
Thanks to each of you for your loyal support and remember, only your vote can make a change and only the voters have the power to bring about a change of government and to hold government to account.
MPAC REPORT SHOWS SAME ISSUES BEING RAISED BY AUDITOR-GENERAL
A report to the Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) showed that a significant number of issues raised by the committee in its 2010/11 Oversight Report re-occurred in the Auditor-General’s Report for 2011/12.
The MPAC Oversight Report pointed to irregular and fruitless and wasteful expenditure totaling R63.4 million. A year later in his report, the A-G noted that unauthorised, irregular and fruitless and wasteful expenditure had been incurred to the value of R557.2 million.
Of this, unauthorised expenditure amounted to R318.7 million – the result of overspending by a number of directorates. In addition, irregular expenditure of R234 million was incurred “which related to contraventions of the supply chain management requirements”.
The 2010/11 MPAC Oversight Report noted that water losses amounted to R135.9 million had been incurred resulting, inter alia, from a “lack of repair of water leakages”. In his report a year later, the A-G reports water losses of R127.2 million.
MPAC also pointed to the continued existence of the bucket system and this was echoed by the A-G a year later when he noted in his report that more than 23 000 buckets were “still in circulation”.
Both reports also referred to intergovernmental challenges that affected service delivery such as “the inadequate and late receipt of subsidies and grants”. The unfunded mandate for libraries was referred to in both instances.
The MPAC report on the 2010/11 financial year also pointed to the fact that only 57% of key performance indicators had been met, while the A-G notes that in 2011/12 only 60% of key performance indicators had been met.
Both also refer to the non-filling of the position of municipal manager and executive directors – a city manager has now been appointed and the vacant executive directors’ posts have been advertised.
MANDELA BAY’S EQUITABLE SHARE R743.3 MILLION FOR 2013/14
Nelson Mandela Bay will receive R743.3 million as its equitable share of national revenue for the 2013/14 financial year, according to the Division of Revenue Bill tabled at the end of February 2013. The amount will increase to R761.9 million and R772.9 million in the outer years of the three-year Medium Term Expenditure Framework period.
The total allocation, including conditional grants, is R1.66 billion for 2013/14, increasing to R1.97 billion and R2.15 billion. As conditional grants, the municipality will receive:
- Just under R728 million, rising to R828.9 million and R858.1 million for the Urban Settlements Development Grant to support national human settlements development programmes.
- R8.2 million increasing to R12.9 and R13.7 million for the Infrastructure Skills Development Grant
- R8 million, dropping to R5 million and then increasing to R10 million for the Energy Efficiency and Demand Side Management Grant
- R3.2 million for the Integrated City Development Grant – there is no allocation for the outer two years
- R30 million for each of the three years for the Neighbourhood Development Partnership Grant
- No allocation for the Public Transport Infrastructure Grant in 2013/14 but R170 million and R250 million for the outer two years
- R16 million, increasing to R17 million and R38 million for the Integrated National Electrification Programme
- R3.5 million for each of the next three years for technical assistance with the Neighbourhood Development Partnership Grant, and
- No allocation for 2013/14 but R10 million and R20 million for the outer years for the Integrated National Electrification Programme (Eskom) Grant.
To this could be added the Human Settlements Development Grant, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said that the human settlements function will be transferred to some metros this year.
GORDHAN REJECTS LOCAL BUSINESS TAX
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has rejected an application for the introduction of a Local Business Tax.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality had applied for the introduction of the tax, a move strenuously opposed by the Nelson Mandela Bay Chamber of Business as well as the business sector.
Spelling out the reasons for the refusal Gordhan said new taxes or increases in existing taxes during periods of slow growth “would be unwise, as it could bankrupt businesses that are already struggling”.
In addition, he said, although metropolitan municipalities were “relatively well equipped” to exploit their own-revenue base, such as property rates and service charges, there was still room for improvement. Municipalities, he added, should be encouraged to improve their debt management and eliminate non-priority spending as this could “raise significant additional funds”.
MANDELA BAY RATES TO INCREASE BY 13% FROM JULY 1 2013
Beleaguered ratepayers are staring significantly higher than inflation increases in the new financial year as the metro struggles to balance the books.
Property, water, sanitation and refuse rates in Nelson Mandela Bay will all in-crease by 13%, according to the Draft Budget for 2013/14. The electricity tariff will increase by an average of 7%.
Increases of this nature are simply unsustainable and cannot be supported, especially when one learns that if the metro were to resolve their annual non revenues water losses (and this excludes the theft of electricity annually), that it would be possible for four percent rates decrease.
We will be fighting to ensure that the proposed tariff increases are kept to an acceptable level when we meet to debate in council on 31 May 2013.
R3 MILLION ALLOCATEDFOR BAYWORLD UPGRADE IN 2013/14 BUDGET
The Eastern Cape Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture has allocated R3 million for upgrading and additions to the ailing Bayworld Complex for the next financial year.
This is R2 million less than last year’s allocation and the department’s budget only makes provision for the transfer of a further R500 000 in 2015/16. A further R1.5 million has been allocated to Bayworld from the Museum Services Budget for each of the next three financial years.
This represents an increase of 73.4% on the R865 000 allocated in the 2012/13 financial year. The Port Elizabeth Opera House has been allocated just under R3 million for the next financial year which is 65.6% more than the R1.8 million it received for 2012/13.
The allocation for 2014/15 and 2015/16 for the Opera House re-mains the same at R2.98 million.
The only viable long term option for the refurbishment of Bayworld remains the plan to transfer control of the facilities to the Mandela Bay Development Agency and using their expertise as the facilitating agent. This will allow for the MBDA to source external funding and to appoint an operator similar to the stadium model.
To this effect, a cabinet memo has been drafted by the MBDA’s legal team and has been parked in Bhisho for an extended period of time. We are doing what we can to ensure that the matter is placed onto a cabinet agenda for a decision in order for the process to get underway.
REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS FOR TELKOM PARK TO BE RELEASED IN JUNE
Progress seems to be slowly underway with the derelict old Telkom Park Stadium or as many of you will fondly recall, the “Boet”.
The Mandela Bay Development Agency says that a Request for Proposals for the development of Telkom Park is now being finalised and will be released around June. In a report to the Economic Development, Tourism and Agriculture Committee (EDTA), the MBDA says it will invite “fully fledged development proposals for the four pockets of developable land”.
Two pockets of land will be released in the June RFP and the others later. The Agency says that while it has been allocated the land by Council for “project management purposes,” it has not yet been decided whether the land should be leased or sold.
The MBDA says that if the proposals received include a residential component, that portion of land “should be sold with the rest of the land developed on a 99-year lease basis”.
STUDY TO FINALLY GET UNDERWAY ON THE FUTURE OF THE APPLE EXPRESS
A feasibility study is to get underway on the future of the Apple Express, Mandela Bay Development Agency CEO Pierre Voges confirmed in April.
The study is being funded by the Economic Development, Environment and Tourism Department through the Eastern Cape Development Corporation and will look at the possibilities that exist for the narrow gauge line in terms of tourism, passenger transport and freight.
The Apple Express line is one of several across the country that Transnet Freight Rail is considering concessioning as they do not form part of its core business of transporting freight. The train is currently not operating, although it is hoped to resume a limited service before the end of the year, restoring one of Nelson Mandela Bay’s key tourist attractions.
The concessioning of four lines has been announced by Transnet but none of them were in the Eastern Cape. No date has been set for future announcements.
Documentation prepared by Transnet ahead of a start to the concessioning process stated that an assessment of the future potential for the Apple Express showed that there were possibilities for “strong growth for wood and wood products over the next several decades. “Strong growth is also expected across a range of other key commodities including food and construction materials.”
The documentation states that in 2008, approximately 16 000 tons of wood and wood products were transported on the line and this was “expected to grow substantially in the future”. Transnet said that it was envisaged that the concession would “run as a closed sys-tem with its own locomotives and wagons”.
The Eastern Cape Department of Transport also included the Apple Express in its 10-Year Rail Plan, suggesting that the focus should essentially be on tourism and the potential for creating employment. The study that will now get underway will provide a definitive answer as to whether the line can be made economically viable possibly through a combination of tourism, freight and passenger transport.
KINGS BEACH UPGRADE WILLBE COMPLETED BY JUNE 2013-05-30
Both phases of the Kings Beach environmental upgrade will be completed by June this year, according to a report by the Mandela Bay Development Agency.
The MBDA plans to spend just under R16 million on completing phase two of the project in the current financial year with phase three to start in the new financial year.
Phase two has seen the completion of the new skate bowl which has become tremendously popular amongst young and old. The newly upgraded and landscaped parking area will also be completed by June and has, in addition addressed the various storm water drainage problems in the area. The basketball court is still to be refurbished an artificial wetland created next to the water slides. The wetland has been designed to naturally treat the storm water before it is discharged into the sea.
Phase three which will be the final phase will see the construction of a new boardwalk system along the top of the dune system with various vantage points.
REMOVAL OF MANGANESE FACILITY ANOTHER STEP CLOSER
No negative impacts have been identified by the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the proposed manganese export facility and associated infrastructure in the Coega Industrial Development Zone and Port of Ngqura that should be considered “fatal flaws”.
The Draft EIA for the project released for public comment, states that the main positive impacts associated with the export facility are job creation and the decrease in air emissions from the existing manganese facility in the Port Elizabeth Harbour.
It notes that the construction period will last approximately 44 months and during this time some 1 500 people will be employed at peak, including skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers. During the operational phase of the facility approximately 550 people will be employed over a 24-hour period daily
TRANSNET PLANS TO EXPAND NEW TANK FARM AT COEGA
Transnet has revealed plans to expand the planned new fuel tank farm in the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) even before construction has begun.
The decision is based on the planned expansion of the Port of Ngqura and Coega IDZ “as well as the significant increase in demand by investors” wanting to make use of the proposed tank farm, according to documentation on the amended scope of the project.
The documentation says that in the light of Transnet’s “holistic planning exercises” as well as the recent increased investor demand, the additional fuel reserves are not regarded as “critical components” in the provision of the landside structures and infrastructure to service the facility. The additional fuel reserves also tie in with the Port of Ngqura Development Framework Plan.
The documentation says that the additional fuel reserve will be provided “to allow potential users of the tank farm to install their pipelines and transfer products from their facilities to the tank farm”. In addition, it will allow industries located to the east of the port to connect to the tank farm.
The new tank farm at Coega is on schedule to be completed in 2016/17 and will initially operate in tandem with the existing facility in the Port Elizabeth Harbour. Thereafter the facility in the Port Elizabeth Harbour will be decommissioned, with the land available for alternative uses by 2019 after it has been rehabilitated which is expected to take two years.
NMB RECYCLING INITIATIVES TO GET UNDERWAY
The Public Health Directorate has laid out an Integrated Waste Management Plan (IWMP) to cover the period from 2013-2017 with one of the major focus areas being recycling.
The Metro has a legal obligation to provide an enabling environment for recycling in terms of the National Domestic Waste Collection Standards. In terms of this provision, it “needs to enable recycling through the provision of recycling facilities at transfer stations and drop-off centres” and conduct a public awareness campaign to promote the use of these facilities.
In terms of the IWMP, the Directorate will produce an information document this year on “where and how to recycle” and will also start the process of facilitating recycling at all transfer stations and drop-off centres
MAJOR STORAGE DAMS AT COMBINED CAPACITY OF 85.7%
The five major storage dams supplying the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality were at 85.7% of capacity yesterday when the latest reading was taken, down by 0.3% from last week. The drop in the total volume of water in the five damns was the same as the previous week.
Figures released by the municipality show that on Monday the two largest dams, the Impofu and Kouga were at 88.4% and 85.5% of capacity respectively, compared to 88.8% and 85.7% last week. The Churchill Dam was at 76.1% of capacity on Monday, compared to 77.1% a week ago, while the Groendal was at 93.7%, the same as last week. The Loerie remained at 78.2%, the same level as last week.
The average daily consumption for May stands at 272 megalitres, down slightly from 274ml last week.
DIRECTORATE RECOMMENDS GREEN LIGHT FOR BEACHFRONT HOTEL
The Human Settlements Directorate has recommended that approval be given for the conversion of an existing block of flats on Marine Drive into a licensed hotel with 21 suites.
The three-storey block of flats at Fourth Avenue, Summerstrand currently consists of nine two and three bedroom apartments.
In a report to the Human Settlements Committee, the Directorate pointed out that the site is surrounded by existing tourist accommodation and entertainment facilities. It says that the proposal is to include a reception hall, dining area, bar and lounge, adding that these facilities will be for the use of residents only.
SERVICE DELIVERY JOC (Joint Operations Centre) – HOW TO REPORT YOUR COMPLAINT
The NNMB Service Delivery Joint Operations Centre is equipped to handle all municipal queries and is manned 24/7 throughout the year. To facilitate a quick and easy experience, kindly note that the following processes should preferably be followed when logging complaints with the Service Delivery Call Centre (JOC).
There are two options when reporting a complaint:
- Phoning the Service Delivery Call Centre (0800 20 50 50)
- Emailing the Service Delivery Call Centre (email@example.com).
NB: When phoning please ask for the name of the person you are speaking to (the Call Centre Agent) and insist on being given a reference number for your complaint.
The following information is needed:
- Problem Address:
- Complainant (the name and surname of the person logging the complaint):
- Phone (very important, as the relevant NMBM Official needs this number to make contact with the complainant):
A reference number will be provided by the Service Delivery Call Centre, once the complaint has been logged on the EDAMS System.
Once the complaint has been logged and a reference number has been assigned to it, we at the Joint Operations Centre (JOC) send the details of the complaint to the relevant Sub-Directorate for Service Delivery. This is Stage 2 (Sent to station)
The relevant official in the Sub-Directorate is asked to contact the complainant to confirm the complaint and arrange for the complaint to be seen to. The JOC representative is to be informed of the arrangements made, in order to update the EDAMS System by placing the complaint in Stage 3 (Problem Found / Under Investigation)
Once the official has seen to the complaint and confirms that the complainant is happy, the official is to send a written (email) confirmation to the JOC representative. The complaint then can be closed off by moving the complaint to Stage 6 (Job completed / No Further Processing Required).
R5 MILLION ON ADJUSTMENTS BUDGET FOR PROMENADE UPGRADE
The Annual Adjustments Budget has provision for the funding to allow the upgrading of the Humewood Beachfront Promenade to begin.
It is envisaged that the construction phase will still begin before the middle of this year and will bring much needed maintenance and refurbishment to this historic beachfront icon.
GREEN LIGHT FOR TAXI EMBAYMENT AT BOARDWALK ENTRANCE – UPDATE
By way of an update, I wish to confirm that the much awaited project will be shortly after the end of the AFCON Cup Tournament.
The long suffering motorists using the route that passes the front entrance of the Boardwalk Casino complex will be pleased to know that the many meetings, phone calls and e-mails have finally yielded results with the metro and The Boardwalk finally agreeing to the construction of a new taxi/bus embayment between the entrance and the Caltex garage on Marine Drive.
It is hoped that construction of this will still be completed this year or at the latest early in the New Year. Thereafter, much stricter law enforcement will be applied as taxi drivers will no longer have any excuse for the current practice of blocking half of Marine Drive by stopping on the pedestrian crossings.
Traffic matters are dealt with on an ongoing basis – should you have any specific areas of concern, please bring these to my attention so that I can assist. Problem areas currently receiving attention remain the entrance to The Boardwalk casino, taxis and speeding along Beach Rd and La Roche Drive.
I still undertake regular ward inspections with representatives from metro parks, traffic, electricity, beach office, metro environmental. During these inspections various problem areas continue to be raised and possible solutions and interventions considered for implementation.
Should you have anything that you wish to include into the ward tours, please let me know and I will include your concerns into my interactions with officials.
Thank you as always for your interaction and for bringing ward matters to my attention.
I must extend a special thank you to seasoned journalist Mr Patrick Cull for his excellent daily publication, Metro Minutes, from which much of the material for this newsletter was sourced.
METRO MINUTES is an electronic up-to date daily newsletter sent out between 12 noon and 2pm from Monday to Friday on decisions taken by the Nelson Mandela Bay Council and its committees, in addition to business developments within the Metro.
It is available on a paid subscription basis at R50 a month or R500 for the year. To receive this newsletter, send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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