To see how hard working Ward Councillors go about their jobs, see Ward 9 councillor, Dean Biddulph’s newsletter below.
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It always seems as if Christmas springs upon us a little earlier with each passing year and 2012 has been no exception. It has been a tumultuous year politically for the country and also the people of our metro as we seem to be increasingly sliding toward the possibility of the failed state scenario. Nationally, we have been subjected to the whims of a lame duck president, paralysed by indecision in light of the upcoming Mangaung ANC elective conference, choosing to do nothing rather than risk any possible alienation of potential party support.
Our president seems to be losing the plot, expecting the public to buy into the various fabrications and blatant obfuscation regarding the flagrant abuse of government funding for his Nkandla compound. What’s even more alarming is his apparent inability to comprehend how inappropriate his continued behaviour is and that he even went so far as to appear genuinely hurt and offended that the public should be unhappy.
In recent weeks, we have had additional scandals exposed when it was revealed in parliament that Lindiwe Sisulu, whilst Minister of Defence, undertook no fewer than 203 flights on a Gulfstream private jet at a cost of R200 000 per trip. Another cabinet member, Minister Tina Joemat-Petterson was exposed by the Public Protector last week when it was recommended by her that President Zuma reprimand Petterson for the reckless use of public funds during lengthy stays at expensive hotels and guesthouses. The Public Protector in her statement accused Joemat-Petterson of “unconscionably excessive” abuse of public funds for staying at hotels that cost up to R8 085 per night and further that the minister had displayed a “blank cheque attitude” to public funds.
Closer to home we remain without a permanent Municipal Manager nearly three years after Adv Graham Richards was unceremoniously ejected on spurious, politically motivated grounds. Permanent appointment of Executive Directors, who form the backbone of the metro management senior management team have yet to be appointed and the metro continues to lurch from crisis to crisis with senior leadership seemingly asleep at the wheel, paralysed by continued political infighting.
Service delivery has all but ground to a standstill with budgets slashed in order to be able to pass a legally compliant budget and the little left over, shaved even further to accommodate our hosting of AFCON. We have been accused by many people of being anti-soccer. This is mischievous and simply not true – we support AFCON and soccer in general 100%. We could however never in good conscience have approved the proposed funding model, especially against the background of increasing incidents of service delivery protests and all the many more pressing priorities that we face in addressing the needs of our both our poor communities as well as providing the services to which paying residents are entitled.
Something has to change, and this change is happening day by day within the Democratic Alliance. In spite of the hysterical screeching of Minister Blade Nzimande that the DA remains a party of madams and white bosses, the reality on the ground speaks an entirely different truth. At our Federal Congress held recently, two new bright, charismatic, young leaders were elected to the senior positions of deputy federal chairmen within our national structure. When elected, they along with Anchen Dreyer shared the stage with Helen Zille, our national leader, Wilmot James our Federal Chairman and Lindiwe Mazibuko, our parliamentary leader.
Collectively they painted a picture of a party that continues to become increasingly diverse with each passing day as more and more people identify with the constitutional ideals that the DA stands for and the strong record of service delivery where they govern.
Since 1994, the DA remains the only party that has continued to grow with each election and one that continues to grow within all communities. Our fantastic result in the NMMU SRC elections this year where the DA secured a resounding victory is further testimony to the growth trajectory of the only real alternative to the populist ruling party. Helen Zille has indicated that in the foreseeable future that a fundamental realignment of politics is inevitable and where the separation will come will be between those who stand for and support constitutionalism and those who seek to cling to power at all costs and who have embraced the failed populist model.
Two significant elections will take place in the next four years and only we have the power to make the changed that are required to correct the path that the ruling party has taken. The time has come for all sober minded people to look at the track record of political parties when in government, to seriously look at what each party stands for and to make a decision based on what is best for each one of us and for our future generations. The cost of failure is simply too dire to even contemplate.
To all of you who have supported me during the past year, especially to my wife Lynne and family as always, I say a big thank you and promise to serve each of you to the best of my ability in the coming year. I remain steadfast in my commitment to making Ward 2 a great place to live, work and play and wish each of you a Blessed, Peaceful Christmas and Holiday Season and sincerely hope that 2013 will be year of calm, stability and service delivery for all within our metro.
Ward 2 News:
- Appointment of permanent Municipal Manager imminent
- Executive Director’s posts to be advertised immediately
- Metro to request R953,6 million in disaster relief funding
- Province formally declares metro a disaster area following heavy rains
- Extension of PE Airport runway will cost R500 million
- IPTS to be phased in over next five years with pilots due to start end November 2012
- R3 Million bill for storm damage at Humewood beach and Happy Valley
- NMB tariff demand charge 548% higher than ESKOM megaflex
- Service Delivery JOC (Joint Operations Centre) – How to report your complaint
- Kings Beach Upgrade – New skate bowl nearing completion
- Green light given for refurbishment of beachfront Promenade
- Minster claims to have no knowledge of Kabuso Report
- Construction of new Ferro-manganese smelter expected to start in 2012/13
- Average of 165mm of rain in October 2012 making it wettest Winter on record
- Overdue rates and service charges debt increases by R74.9 million
- New property valuations to be known in February next year
- Directorate recommends green light for Humewood townhouse development
- Safety concerns at Telkom Park
- Green light for taxi/bus embayment at Boardwalk Casino entrance
- Boardwalk Casino Hotel and Conference Centre nearing completion on schedule
- Traffic Matters
- Ward Inspections
The long delayed appointment of a new municipal manager for Nelson Mandela Bay appears to finally be coming to an end with a commitment given by the Executive Mayor, Councillor Zanoxolo Wayile that he would present the candidate to the final sitting of the metro council on 6 December 2012.
This will be for the purposes of ratifying the choice made by the selection panel after the shortlisted candidate interviews held late in November. The panel, which has been appointed to make a recommendation on the next municipal manager to the Mayor, consists of ANC and DA Council members as well as outside parties, including the business community, and representatives from the South African Local Government Association and National Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
The new permanent Municipal Manager is expected to take up duties at the beginning of January 2013, bringing to an end the saga which began with the removal of Adv Graham Richards in July 2009, over three years ago and will hopefully bring some stability to a rudderless institution at present.
The positions of executive directors that have been vacant for some time – one for more than two years – are to be advertised immediately, apart from those affected by the new organogram. The decision to advertise the posts by the end of November was made by Council at an emergency council meeting called by opposition parties on 22 November 2012.
Council also agreed to extend the contracts of people currently serving in an acting capacity for three months by when it is expected that the new ED’s will have been appointed. The acting ED’s whose contracts have been extended are: *Shane Brown: Safety and Security , *Peter Nielson: Electricity and Energy, *Walter Shaidi: Infrastructure and Engineering, Israel Tsatsire: Chief Operating Officer, and Selwyn Thys: Chief Financial Officer. Mvuleni Mapu has been appointed acting ED of Human Settlements, replacing Kosalin Naicker whose secondment from the provincial department has come to an end.
Tsatsire will also serve as Acting Municipal Manager following Council’s decision to terminate the appointment of Themba Hani, who was deployed to the Metro by Local Government and Traditional Affairs MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane. The intention is to have all the positions filled by the end of February.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is to request just under R953.6 million in additional funds from national and provincial government for “post-disaster repairs and recovery measures” following October’s torrential rains.
In a report to council, Acting Municipal Manager Themba Hani recommended that Council declare the Metro a local flood disaster area so that it can apply for relief funds. The report said that the estimated funds required by the Infrastructure and Engineering Directorate is R937.6 million, with a further R9.4 million required by Public Health.
In addition, R3.6 million is needed by Economic Development and Recreational Services for damage done to the Red Location art gallery, museums and libraries as well as damage done to beaches at Humewood and Sardinia Bay. Corporate Services requires just over R2 million to repair damage done to municipal buildings, while Electricity and Energy wants R965 000 for damage done to overhead power lines and underground cables.
The report said that the impact on budgets with regard to the overtime worked during the last heavy rains is “devastating, with budgets depleted. “Employee related costs have not been established but are expected to have a severe impact.”
The report stated further that during the heavy storm, relief worth just under R300 000 was provided with the result that the Disaster Management Relief Fund “has been depleted as well as relief stock”.
Hani pointed out that because of the financial situation in the Metro “it is less resilient and does not have sufficient reserves”.
Further, he stated that the Metro did not make provision for the overtime required as a result of the flooding.
He pointed out that a declaration of a disaster can only be used “for immediate relief or to deal with repairs,” adding that in terms of legislation the municipality “should budget for disasters”.
He said that the damage to infrastructure will have “severe and adverse consequences for the Nelson Mandela Bay area as a whole”. As a result, he concluded it is “essential” that a local disaster area be declared so that applications can be made to national and provincial government for additional funding.
Nelson Mandela Bay and the Cacadu District Municipality have formally been declared disaster areas following October’s torrential rains.
Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kiviet published the announcement in an Extraordinary Provincial Gazette, paving the way for affected municipalities to apply for disaster relief funding. The announcement was made in terms of the Disaster Management Act and followed a meeting of the provincial cabinet.
The Metro’s Mayoral Committee has already recommended that a disaster area be declared. The flood related damage has been put at approximately R1 billion, specifically to roads and bridges as well as infrastructure such as storm water systems. Mayor Zanoxolo Wayile said at the time that the impact of the floods on the municipal budget would be “devastating”.
It is estimated that damage done in the Metro could amount to R600 million while the bill for local authorities in the Cacadu district municipal areas is put at between R300 and R400 million.
The extension of the Port Elizabeth runway could cost up to R500 mil-lion in today’s terms, Transport Minister Ben Martins has told the National Assembly.
Replying to a written question, the Minister said “long-term master planning and spatial reservation” had been made for a future extension of the main runway at the Port Elizabeth airport. Martins said that the department’s master plan made provision for an additional runway length of up to 1 200 metres in a south-westerly direction.
He added that the timing of the extension would be determined by “the sustainable demand created by new flights requiring the additional runway length”.
The timing, he added, would be determined by what was anticipated would be requested by direct, outbound, long-haul passenger and cargo aircraft. Martins said that no definitive costs had been calculated for the extension “as there has been no commitment by stakeholders to the continuous use and/or requirement for the extended runway length”.
He said, given the topographical challenges involved with the envisaged increase in the length of the runway and, depending on the final scope of works “it could cost up to R500 million in today’s terms”. The Port Elizabeth airport currently has international status but there are still no direct overseas flights to the city.
The Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS) in Nelson Mandela Bay will be phased in over the next five years “subject to funding availability,” Transport Minister Ben Martins has told the National Assembly.
Replying to a written question, the Minister said the original routes for the IPTS had been reviewed “due to the reduced scope of the pilot phase which comprises 25 vehicles only”. He said the pilot phase had been reduced after concerns had been raised around issues such as safety, the suitability of the facilities and vehicles, the impact on existing operators, funding availability and operating licence requirements.
Martins said the revised routes had been identified jointly by the municipality, Algoa Bus Company and taxi operators and approved by Council in August this year. “These routes form part of the original design of the full IPTS but are being packed differently due to the reduced scope of the pilot phase.”
He said his department had to give final approval of the business plan for the pilot phase – Council will consider the various IPTS agreements at its meeting on 6 December 2012.
The Metro’s Economic Development and Recreational Services Directorate has applied for R3 million from National Disaster Management for the damage done by the recent storms to Humewood and Maitland beaches.
The amount includes the replacement of storm water drainage pipes as well as repairs to the Maitlands parking area.
In a report to the Sport, Recreation, Arts and Cultural Services Committee, the Directorate said that the extensive storm water damage and sand erosion as a result of the storm occurred two weeks before the start of the Blue Flag season that stretches from November to April each year.
Humewood Beach was the only Nelson Mandela Bay beach awarded Blue Flag status for the 2012/13 season when the awards were made in October. The report stated further that sand erosion also had an impact on Happy Valley “as tons of embankment sand engulfed all ponds.
“This resulted in water overflowing walkways and side walls and has increased the run-off water on the hard surfaces and caused the erosion on Humewood Beach.” The report says the Directorate is currently carrying out repairs with a limited budget, adding that this is a temporary measure until such time as “a permanent head wall with proper discharge point on the beach is constructed” – the cost of the headwall is put at R100 000.
The estimated amount required to address infrastructure challenges is approximately R2 million. The report said it had been agreed with WESSA that the Blue Flag will now only be hoisted on December 15 after repairs have been carried out. This will involve transportation of about 75 000 cubic tons of sand. The report noted that apart from the displacement of rocks and sand, 1968 flood damage debris has been exposed which “presents the directorate with an opportunity to remove the old infrastructure ruins and be able to top up the sand accordingly to meet Blue Flag standards”.
It adds that subject to budget availability, sand will be transported from beaches with excess sand. In terms of the timeframes for the carrying out of the repairs the intention is to complete the work at Humewood by December 15 when the Blue Flag will be hoisted at an estimated cost of R1.8 million.
Nelson Mandela Bay’s aggregate demand charge for electricity was a staggering 548% above the Eskom Megaflex figure in the 2010/11 financial year and 548% in 2011/12, the Department of Trade and Industry has revealed in a presentation to Parliament.
The figures show that in 2011/12 only City Power in Johannesburg (702%) and Tshwane (692%) had a higher demand charge above the Eskom Megaflex.
The department warned in its presentation that some municipalities “appear to be using electricity tariffs to generate revenue and cost recovery inefficiencies. “This may lead to a closing down of companies and an ultimate reduction of the municipal revenue base.
“Some companies report employing a range of measures already – off-peak hours usage and shutting down plans for part of the week/month.” It adds that “sharply escalating and ‘bunched up’ electricity prices constitute a serious danger to the viability of the manufacturing sector”.
The department says while direct Eskom customers are only exposed to the electricity utility’s multi-year price determination increase, those supplied indirectly by municipalities experience a “double impact” through the tariff loading on Eskom’s Megaflex rate and non-tariff surcharges and levies.
“This amounts in many cases to triple digit increases on top of Eskom prices”. The department points out that there is no single tariff and municipalities distinguish between commercial, industrial and domestic users.
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)
- 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).
Phase two of the Kings Beach environmental upgrade is continuing with the new skate bowl likely to be completed well in time for the Summer Season. A complete revamp of the parking area is to be undertaken at the beginning of the New Year once the building industry has resumed operating and will include extensive landscaping as well as a correction of the drainage levels in this area.
The informal traders area/flea market has also been extensively refurbished to allow for proper, level trading space on the road side of the walkway so that gazebo’s can be properly accommodated.
In addition, the plans for the refurbishment and call for proposals in respect of the Kings Beach Lifesaving Club will hopefully progress to the point where this facility can be refurbished and extended to accommodate both the club and a commercial node in the form of a restaurant/bar type development.
The ward office has made it very clear to the MBDA that the lifesaving club is to be included in any proposal and that their tenure would take preference over any other considerations.
The Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism has given formal authorisation for the construction of a “seawall” and concrete refurbishment of the existing promenade on the Port Elizabeth Beachfront.
In issuing a positive Record of Decision, the Department said the promenade was “significantly degraded and is in dire need of structural repair. “If repairs are not affected timeously, there is a strong possibility that the promenade and adjacent road network will collapse.”
The Department notes that the new improved “seawall” had also been designed to take into account sea-level rise and storm surges. It noted that the rehabilitation of the promenade “will ensure the protection of Marine Drive from the sea as well as assuring continued safe access to the beach for the public. “The rehabilitation will also lead to improved recreational usage of the area of beach and improved tourism opportunities for the area.”
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi says he has “not been informed of the Kabuso Report” into alleged irregularities connected with property leases in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Replying to a written question in the National Assembly, the Minister said as he had not commissioned the investigation he was therefore “not expecting to be informed before the commissioning authority releases the report”.
The report was commissioned by then Eastern Cape Local Government and Traditional Affairs MEC Sicelo Gqobana and was made public last year. Baloyi said he was “concerned with the financial irregularities in municipalities as they impact negatively on service delivery,” adding that his department would “monitor the implementation of actions by the commissioning authority as per the recommendations in the report”.
The Minister also revealed that his department was currently working on different pieces of legislation “aimed at strengthening and stream-lining interventions in municipalities that are failing to carry out their mandates”.
Baloyi said the legislation, aimed at “improving oversight and accountability of the different spheres of government, including local government, would be introduced in parliament “in due course”.
Construction of the first of two ferro-manganese smelters is expected to get underway in the Coega Industrial Development Zone in the current financial year. Environmental authorisation for the project was granted during 2011/12.
Construction of the smelter is directly linked to the upgrading of the railway line between Coega and the Northern Cape and the announcement by Transnet that a dedicated manganese export terminal will be built at the Port of Ngqura. The new export terminal is expected to be operational by 2016/17 at which point the existing facility in the Port Elizabeth Harbour will be decommissioned.
The report says that a number of environmental impact assessments are currently underway including the application for the new manganese terminal where the mineral will be stockpiled.
An average of 167 millimetres of rain had fallen over the five dams supplying Nelson Mandela Bay in October, according to figures supplied by the municipality. All five dams are 100% full.
The Metro said that 145mm had fallen at the Kouga Dam up to October 29, with 130mm recorded at Churchill, 143mm at the Impofu Dam, 176mm at Loerie and 230mm at Groendal. The average daily consumption to October 29 was 265Ml a day.
It has also been revealed that the Department of Water Affairs has declined the Metro’s request for a further R350 million in order to complete the Nooitgedagt Low Level Scheme.
The amount overdue by consumers for rates and service charges increased by R74.9 million between August and September, according to a report by the Budget and Treasury Directorate. The total overdue debt now stands at just under R1.4 billion.
The Report, which was submitted to the Budget and Treasury Committee, showed that the amount owed by large businesses and domestic consumers increased by R21.7 and R21.3 million, respectively. The report adds that one reason for this is the liquidation of five major companies. The increase of R74.9 million was substantially more than the R29.3 million between July and August. Rates and service charges increases came into effect at the start on the 2012/13 financial year on July 1.
Total Government debt between August and September increased by R5.1 million and now stands at R55.3 million. The Directorate says that it is implementing the municipality’s credit control policy “to its fullest extent” with the exception of the component dealing with the sale in execution of both movable and immovable assets.
It added that it is of the “utmost importance” that strict financial management is maintained in order to decrease the outstanding debt owed to Council, adding that a Revenue Enhancement Strategy has been drafted and is currently being reviewed.
With regard to the collection rate, the Directorate says that the figure for September was 82.01% but stressed that this was “in line with past trends” as the collection rate for September “usually fell into the low 80% range”.
The average collection rate for the last three months was 91.46% which is higher than the 89.46% averaged in the same period last year. It also points out that there were only 19 working days in September, while the last working day was September 28. “This resulted in payments normally made on the last two days of the month only being received during the first few days of October.”
It added that an additional amount of R23.4 million was received for the first three days of October compared with what had been anticipated for this period.
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.
The Human Settlements Directorate has recommended that approval should be given for the rezoning of 1 Ferndale Road, Humewood from residential 1 to Residential 2 to allow the construction of six town houses.
In a report to the Human Settlements Committee, the Directorate says the proposal is “compatible” with the land use in the immediate and surrounding area. It further noted that the proposal meets the parking requirements on-site of 1.5 bays per unit with an additional 0.5 bays for visitors.
A height restriction of two storeys has been recommended. No objections were received to the proposal.
The property is situated on the corner of Ferndale Road and Ayliff Street.
The applicants say the intention is to create a “reasonable, low density development that will respect the character of the existing street,” adding that the traffic impact will be “negligible” compared to the existing high rise developments on the north side of Ferndale Road and the new multi-storey developments along the north side of Killarney Road
After much interaction with the Sports Directorate in the person of Mr. Jurg Bekker, I can confirm that arrangements have been put in place for permanent guarding at the old Telkom Park. In addition, the old caretaker’s cottage has been cleaned out and secured.
This action followed increasing complaints in regard to vagrants and undesirable elements frequenting the property.
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.
The completion of the R1 billion Boardwalk Casino Hotel and Conference Centre is nearing completion with the final finishing touches being added as this is being written and looks set to open on time and on schedule and which is set to be huge additional asset to our city tourism industry.
Another stunning addition will be the R50 million fountain and light show which will be a must see attraction for any visitor to the city, along with a significant increase in retail space at the complex.
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 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.
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