Auditor-General Terence Nombembe points out that despite repeated warnings and offers of intervention strategies that the situation in respect of municipal government has in fact deteriorated since last year.
As a Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) member, I can attest to a similar approach from the Auditor General’s office toward our own metro and even though we attracted an unqualified audit, the metro was still found to have been responsible for irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure to the tune of R63.4 million.
In spite of our very best efforts on this committee, we are regularly frustrated by our ruling party colleagues who, whilst appearing eager to deal with corruption and irregularities, become considerably less enthusiastic when having to deal with their own rank and file. A case in point was the pursuit of recovery of city money from an official who, whilst in the employ of the metro, was found to have been responsible for irregular expenditure excess of R300 thousand . This matter has since been allowed to prescribe, limiting the possibility for recovery and the official involved has since moved on to the Provincial Legislature as a serving MPL.
The Dompas/International Music Festival saga continues to drag on with virtually zero chance of ever recovering the R1.6 million in city money carelessly thrown at an inexperienced events organiser who was clever enough to ensure that he had no assets to attach should any recovery ever be attempted. This R1.6 million of city money was disbursed without so much as a personal surety involved.
The much publicised R11.8 million spent on PSL games succeeded in generating a net loss of R6.4 million.
The International Jazz Festival held in May last year at a cost of R10.3 million generated ticket sales of just over R1 million rand. The amounts mentioned in the last few lines are but the tip of the iceberg and merely represent what is going on within our city administration.
In spite of the well worn commitment to deal strongly with corruption and an equal commitment to ensuring clean governance, the reality faced on a daily basis is that this amounts to little more than lip service. The metro continues to suck valuable resources into employing individuals within the office of the Executive Mayor and the Chief Whips office. Individuals whose positions appear nowhere on the metro organogram and who earn in excess of mayoral committee members.
As long as we continue to ignore the advice of the AG and as long as we continue running this metro with little apparent care for the many residents who suffer as a result of the ongoing mismanagement, lack of a strong management team, starting with the appointment of a suitable Municipal Manager and departmental Executive Directors, we will collectively suffer the consequences.
In the Ward 2 Newsletter this month:
- Safety & Security – National Treasury says proceed with caution on Metro Police
- MPAC makes proposals on curbing irregular expenditure
- Public art sought for Kings Beach development
- Service Delivery JOC (Joint Operations Centre) – How to report your complaint
- Kings Beach Upgrade – Algae bloom causes concern
- Tenders called for Humewood Promenade rehabilitation and upgrade
- Why Coega and not Saldanha as preferred site for Manganese Export
- Final scoping report issued for new tank farm at Coega
- New Ngqura manganese terminal will be ready for 2016
- Only R10.3 million allocated for metro Safety and Security Directorate
- Spot fines to be imposed on owners of overgrown properties
- New property valuations to be known in February next year
- 2076 Old property valuation cases still to be reviewed
- Tenders called for new NMMU business school
- Expenditure on soccer matches was unauthorised
- Hosting AFCON will cost more than R43 million
- All five dams serving Mandela Metro full
- Metro CPI above national average in June 2012
- Three Summerstrand plot sales in progress
- Illegal Dumping at Telkom Park
- Macarthur Baths complex lease to be re-advertised
- Total tourism turnover generated by Ironman R63 million
- 87% of visitors to this year’s SPLASH Festival were locals
- Traffic Matters
- Ward Inspections
National Treasury has told the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to proceed with “the utmost caution” in establishing a metro police service because of the financial obligations it places on Council. A report to the Municipal Public Accounts Committee on the establishment of a municipal police force points out that the additional budget cuts in the Safety and Security Directorate “already place an impossible financial burden on an already existing underfunded budget”.
The report states that the Financial Viability Plan for the Metro Police inferred that the consolidation of the directorate’s various budgets “will have a cost benefit for Council”. The idea was to consolidate the budgets of Traffic, Security and the Metro Police into one budget for the Metro Police Services with the budget “effectively managed to ensure the establishment of the Metro Police.
“However, the situation has changed considerably with significant cuts implemented on all the Safety and Security budgets.” The report adds that there would be costs associated with the establishment of the Metro Police, including the delivery of an “adequate 24-hour working system” and salaries for senior staff.
The Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) has recommended a number of steps to curb irregular expenditure, including “better quality control” of the “irregular expenditure lists” sent to the Acting Municipal Manager.
The committee also wants “better and more thorough planning” by directorates with regard to the acquisition of goods and services and for the Supply Chain Management Contracts Section to review tenders timeously. In a report to the sub-committee, the Office of Acting Chief Financial Officer Selwyn Thys says an analysis of irregular expenditure reports sent to the Acting Municipal Manager has shown that the most common causes of this are:
- Failure to obtain a Supply Chain Management order prior to ordering goods from a supplier
- Obtaining a replacement order for goods/services supplied under a previous valid order, and
- Suppliers who backdate their invoices in order to receive early payment, which in some cases is order date, resulting in irregular expenditure if not identified by the directorate.
The report said the first category was the most common and “results from a lack of planning by officials”.
The report notes that the acquisition categories R101 to R200 000 are where most incidences of irregular expenditure takes place, as above that figure a competitive tendering process is required.
In addition to the recommendations of the committee, Acting Municipal Manager Themba Hani plans to submit a report to the next MPAC meeting evaluating “the general culture and behavior in respect of Supply Chain Management matters”.
This report, Hani stresses, will include law-based recommendations which would be brought to the attention of key members of the municipality “in order to assist in establishing a better and more ethical service delivery oriented culture”.
The Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) has called for “concepts and ideas” by artists interested in producing a public artwork as part of the King’s Beach development.
This will be the first round in the selection process that will allow the adjudication committee to shortlist promising artists and ideas for a second round of developed proposals for final selection.
Short-listed artists for the second round will be given feedback and asked to work with the commissioning agent to finalise their proposals for the adjudication committee.
Kindly note that the following processes need to be followed when logging complaints with the Service Delivery Call Centre (JOC).
There are two options to log a complaint: Phoning the Service Delivery Call Centre (0800 20 50 50) or Emailing the Service Delivery Call Cente (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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/Issue/Complaint:, Problem Address:, Comment:, 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.
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).
The recent proliferation of algae bloom within the new water body situated at the Kings Beach Upgrade site has caused a number of residents to contact me expressing their concerns. The ward office has already engaged with the project management team as well as various metro officials to deal with the problem.
The cause has been narrowed down to two possibilities – the first being a possible contamination of the water body by a leak from one of the nearby sewers which could provide sufficient nutrients to create the problem. The second is the possible ingress of fertilizers from the newly grassed areas which could have run off into the lake after the recent heavy rains. A meeting will be held with the relevant departments as well as calling in the expertise of the person managing The Boardwalk lake to assist in ensuring that a suitable intervention is implemented.
As an interim measure, municipal staff are removing as much as possible by manual means until the correct intervention can be implemented.
The Municipality has called for tenders for the concrete rehabilitation and upgrading of the Humewood Promenade. The Basic Information Document on the project notes that a status quo assessment of the current condition of the structure was carried out by Afri-Coast Engineers in 2011.
The objective of the study was “to evaluate the extent of deterioration of the promenade facility and to suggest repair methodologies”.
The Report concluded that the promenade was “significantly degraded and in need of structural repair. “If the repair work is not done, there is a strong possibility that, in time, the facility and adjacent road network will collapse.”
The documentation said two alternatives were investigated with the preferred option to build a “seawall” under the existing structure by “building a box under the overhang to form a solid entity.
“The ‘seawall’ will be built using a sand and seawater mix that, once compacted, will be filled with foam concrete.” It notes that the system will therefore be closed so assisting in “minimizing environmental risks”. A compulsory clarification meeting on the tender was held at the Beach Office on July 19 at 10am and tenders closed on August 2.
A feasibility study conducted by Transnet Capital Projects in 2008 considered three different alternatives for the proposed manganese export terminal.
The option of retaining the existing facility in the Port Elizabeth Harbour was rejected, according to the Draft Scoping Report for the proposed manganese facility in the Coega Industrial Development Zone, because it lacked the capacity to meet the increased demand for manganese ore.
With regard to the choice between Coega and Saldanha, the Draft Scoping Report says this was “largely driven by differentials in rail tariffs and shipping rates to the two ports”.
Secondary considerations, it adds, were potential cross-contamination between iron ore and manganese ore as a result of dust release and competition for slots on the iron ore line that is expected to be expanded in future. In addition, the reduced rail turnaround time between Hotazel and Ngqura (71 hours compared to 80 to Saldanha) was a factor.
“A further strategic reason for the upgrade of the railway line to Ngqura is that it creates an alternative route to the Saldanha line for iron ore and enables diversification of export options and growth potential for the country”. Another factor was the availability of existing suitable berths at the Port of Ngqura.
The Final Scoping Report for the new tank farm in the Coega Industrial Development Zone has been submitted to the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism.
The 790 000 cubic metre facility – this includes both phases – will replace the existing tank farm in the Port Elizabeth Harbour where the lease expires in the first quarter of 2014.
Oiltanking Grindrod Calulo, which will construct and operate the facility, has signed a 20-year deal with Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA). After 20 years all assets will be transferred to the TNPA. The Report states that it is hoped to complete the environmental authorisation process by the end of this year with construction taking 16 months thereafter.
The TNPA is planning to construct a new series of A-Berths on the eastern side of the port and “moving up the Coega River channel” as part of its expansion plans, the Report saying that it is intended that the new berths “will be constructed with the overall objective to serve as a liquid bulk berth”.
The Report adds that the proposed new berths “will be situated closer to the tank farm and will offer a more direct pipe link”. A separate environmental impact assessment will be commissioned by the TNPA for the new berths. The Report says that the project will take place in two phases with the first focusing on the construction of a facility to accommodate the storage and handling of the liquid hydrocarbon products currently stored in the Port Elizabeth Harbour.
Phase 2, which is expected to be initiated immediately after the completion of Phase 1, will possibly include the ability to rail liquid storage facilities elsewhere in the country as well as lead product onto vessels. A rail tanker loading gantry is also included in the environmental impact assessment, although this will only be considered “if the demand arises”.
The new manganese terminal to be constructed at the Port of Ngqura would be completed by the 2016/17 financial year according to Transnet CEO Brian Molefe.
Speaking at the presentation of Transnet’s Annual Results, Molefe confirmed that the current facility in the Port Elizabeth Harbour is to be relocated in 2016.
On the decision to have a dedicated rail link between the Northern Cape and Coega Industrial Development Zone for manganese, Molefe said a study had shown that a maximum volume of 92 million tons a year could be ferried on the line between Sishen and Saldanha – this would have to be shared between iron ore and manganese. This would mean that the volumes of iron ore would be limited. It therefore made sense to have a dedicated manganese line linking Coega with the Northern Cape, he said, adding that the cost of having a separate line was in fact less because of the volumes that could be carried as a result. It was necessary therefore because of the volumes that had to be ferried.
Nelson Mandela Bay’s Safety and Security Directorate has been allocated just R10.3 million as its capital budget for the next three year Medium Term Revenue and Expenditure period. As a result, the Safety and Security Directorate now receives the smallest capital budget of any of the Metro’s directorates.
The capital budget for the 2012/13 financial year adopted by Council makes provision for R3 million to be spent on an early warning system with a further R2.3 million allocated for 2013/14. In the 2014/15 financial year, the directorate gets a further R1 million for an early warning system, while R1.5 million has been provided for storage facilities and R400 000 for the armoury.
In addition, R1.3 million has been provided for in the budget for a specialised vehicle, R400 000 for safety equipment for security officers and R400 000 for additional computer hardware and software.
No provision has been made in the budget for the next three years for the replacement of engine bay doors, a standby generator and off-road appliance, and an elevator at the Sidwell Traffic Department that are also required by the directorate.
Environmental Health practitioners in the Public Health Directorate are currently being trained as Law Enforcement Officers in order to allow them to issue spot fines to people who allow privately owned properties to become overgrown.
A report to the Public Health Committee stated that newly promulgated by-laws allow the issuing of a fine, and upon non-compliance, to have the matter referred to the Municipal Court that can then instruct the transgressor to comply within a set period of time.
The Directorate says that it believed one advantage of this will be that “non-cooperative” property owners will now be forced to comply by the court.
Ratepayers will be advised on the new valuations on their properties in February next year, according to a report submitted to the Budget and Treasury Committee.
The tender for the next General Valuation was awarded in January to e-Valuations and the contract signed in March this year. The report says e-Valuation has now “moved on site” and started with the General Valuation.
The first phase, which will run until the end of September, involves the compilation of a market report and the conducting of sales reviews – the field review for non-residential sales is 70% complete and that for agricultural 85%.
Further, data collection of all non-residential properties is 50% complete and for single residential properties 33%. Verification of sectional title properties has also started.
The second phase will start in October and entails the submission of the Draft Valuation Roll; final calibration of Computer-Assisted Mass Appraisal models; value reviews and quality assurances. The Final Valuation Roll will be submitted on February 1.
At the end of May this year, the Appeals Board reviewing cases from the 2008 General Valuation still had a further 2 076 to process. A report presented to the Budget and Treasury Committee, stated that during May 462 cases were reviewed of the total number of 7 971.
In terms of the Municipal Property Rates Act all valuations that were adjusted 10% upwards or downwards by the Municipal Valuer during the objection phase have to be reviewed by the Appeals Board.
This has to be done even if the person who objected to the valuation of his property is satisfied with the outcome of the objection.
The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University has called for tenders for the turnkey construction of the new business school at the 2nd Avenue Campus. This follows the decision to relocate the business school from Bird Street.
Arup, which was responsible among other projects for the central terminal building at OR Tambo, have been appointed consulting engineers for the project. A compulsory pre-tender clarification meeting was held on July 20 at the 2nd Avenue Campus and tenders for the project close on Friday August 10. ISO14001 compliance is a compulsory requirement for companies tendering.
The R11.4 million spent on hosting nine soccer matches at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium was unauthorised expenditure according to the Acting Municipal Manager Themba Hani in reply to a question put by the DA. The reply was distributed ahead of today’s Council Meeting that was adjourned because there was no quorum.
A total of R6.1 million was paid to the clubs who played at the stadium – no fee was payable for the two games featuring the national team – while events expenses of R5.3 million were also incurred.
Income from the games amounted to just under R5 million, leaving a deficit of R6.43 million. Hani said the expenditure had been approved by a Budget and Treasury official as delegated by former Chief Financial Officer Kevin Jacoby. He said that in accordance with the Municipal Finance Management Act, the initial unauthorised expenditure had been “regularised” with the adoption of the 2011/12 Adjustments Budget by Council on May 11 this year.
Hani said he had not yet started an investigation into the initial unauthorised expenditure, adding that he would “to the necessary extent” inform Mayor Zanoxolo Wayile, Local Government and Traditional Affairs MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane and the Auditor-General about the unauthorised expenditure.
The cost of being a host city for next year’s African Cup of Nations has risen from an estimated R34 million to “in excess of R43 million,” according to a report submitted to the Sport, Recreation and Cultural Services Committee
The R43 million is the figure provided by National Treasury and the National Department of Sport and Recreation. The Metro is scheduled to host four national teams for the duration of the group stages and five match days – the last two games will be a double-header – and a quarter final and possibly a semi-final.
In a report to the Committee, Executive Director Zolile Siswana said that apart from assistance from national and provincial government, the only other source of revenue available to the Metro is from ticket sales where it will pocket 25% of the takings.
An average attendance of 25 000 would result in total income of between R2.4 and R4.5 million depending on the price of the tickets. In addition, it has been agreed that private sector sponsorships can be obtained, although there is still no clarity on how this will operate.
The report says that National Government has committed to providing public liability insurance and the training and supplying of kit for volunteers, while province has committed R15.4 million for the tournament. It was further noted that R7 million is already included in the 2012/13 budget for the completing of the upgrading of the Wolfson Stadium with the Metro having to find an additional R11.7 million – no provision has been made in the budget for the event.
With regard to the economic spin-offs, the report states that based on SA Tour-ism indicators, it is expected that the tournament will contribute R152 million to the Gross Domestic Product of the Metro, in addition to which approximately R30 million will flow to low in-come households. The entertainment industry, especially local artists, will receive R3 million.
As a result of the second wettest Winter on record, all five dams serving Nelson Mandela Bay are now full. The municipality said on 16 July 2012 that the two largest dams, the Impofu and Kouga, were at 106% and 104% full respectively, while the Churchill Dam was at 110% of capacity, Loerie at 104% and Groendal 102%. Collectively the five dams serving the Metro hold 281 573 megalitres.
The average daily consumption to date in July has been 235 megalitres a day. The municipality refuted the rumour circulating that the Kouga floodgates were being opened as false, with the Department of Water Affairs adding that the peak flow had passed over the dam spillway and “no further action is required”.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 5.9% in June, the same level as the Eastern Cape as a whole but above the national average of 5.5% for all urban areas – 0.2% below the 5.7% recorded in May. Figures released by Statistics South Africa this morning show that CPI for food and non-alcoholic beverages in Port Elizabeth increased by 6.1% year-on-year (y/y) as against 7% for the Eastern Cape and 5.9% nationally for all urban areas.
StatsSA said major increases in the Eastern Cape y/y were recorded for bread and cereals (9.5%), meat (10.4%), fish (10.9%) and fruit (11.1%). The purchase of vehicles in the Eastern Cape declined by 1.3% y/y, although public transport costs in-creased by 9.6%.
CPI for telecommunication equip-ment in the province declined by 13.3%. CPI excluding housing in Port Elizabeth rose by 5.4%, marginally below the provincial figure of 5.5% and far below the national figure of 6.4%. CPI excluding food and non-alcoholic beverages in Port Elizabeth rose by 5.7% in June, above the provincial average of 5.5%.
The sale of three of the 10 Summer-strand plots for which tenders were called by the municipality are in progress. A report by Acting Municipal Manager Themba Hani to Council said that the plots are being sold for R370 000; R420 000 and R441 000.
The 10 plots were advertised in order to test the appetite in the market with Hani saying that 10 competent tenders had been received. He said it was envisaged that the municipality would be in a position to re-advertise the remaining plots by September, adding that new supply chain management regulations now existed “that may have an effect on the tendering process”.
The sudden recent proliferation of illegal dumping at the rear of the Telkom Park boundary in Strandfontein Rd has been noted and reported to the relevant departments for their attention.
I have also engaged with the MBDA who are responsible for the upgrade of the stadium to pursue the possible implementation of permanent security on the stadium premises to prevent any ingress of undesirable elements such as vagrants etc.
The lease of the McArthur Baths Complex is to be re-advertised as the three tenders received following the advertising of the lease of February 10 were all deemed to be “non-responsive”.
Corporate Services stated in a report submitted to Council by Acting Municipal Manager Themba Hani that it was recommended that the complex be leased on a short-term basis because calling for fresh proposals and appointing a permanent operator was “a time consuming process”.
The report states that the other “main concern” was that there was no budget allocated for this facility which is put at close to R1.1 million by the Sport and Recreation sub-directorate. There is also apparently no budget for the current financial year for the complex.
The report says a short-term lease was in the municipality’s interests. With regard to the Something Good building, Corporate Services said the Land Evaluation Committee had recommended that the tender be awarded to the highest bidder. If this was approved, a lease would be drafted and signed after which possession of the premises could be taken.
The total tourism turnover from the Ironman event earlier this year was R62.8 million, according to a report submitted to the Sport, Recreation, Arts and Cultural Services Committee next week.
The figure is based on 46 515 bed nights and average spending of R1 350 a day – the figure used by South African Tourism. The total bed nights in 2005 was 15 720 and based on an average spend per visitor in that year of R1 200 the total tourism turnover was R18.8 million.
The report said that the Boardwalk Casino Complex recorded “double the amount of foot traffic” through the centre during the Ironman weekend than is normally the case with 72 882 people entering the complex against the 38 929 that visit it on a normal weekend.
It added that these figures were recorded “despite the rainy, windy and cold conditions”.
The report said further that there is an increasing number of participants in the event that is now in its eighth year with a 1 772 athletes taking part earlier this year compared to the 786 that entered in 2005.
The report concluded by saying that the print value of media coverage was R2.7 million – the event was featured in a number of overseas publications while 166 articles were published in South African newspapers – while the estimated value of television coverage was put at R2 million.
A total of 87% of people who attended the Splash Festival earlier this year were local, according to a report by the organisers submitted to the Sports, Recreation, Arts and Cultural Services Committee.
The report also shows that 46% of visitors to Nelson Mandela Bay over the Easter period stayed with friends and relatives, 11% in hotels and the balance at bed and breakfast establishments, backpackers and camping sites. Half of the respondents of a survey declined to say how much they spent a day, 34% said it was between R500-R1 000 and the rest more, the average spend indicated the majority of people were in the Metro to see friends or relatives.
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.
Ward inspections are still undertaken on a six weekly cycle between myself and representatives from metro parks, traffic, electricity, beach office, metro environmental. During these inspections various problem areas are 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 for your interaction and for bringing ward matters to my attention.
I must extend a special thank you to seasoned journalist 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: email@example.com
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