20 February The train of hope comes to Buffalo City February 20, 2017 By Tabisa Mntengwana Latest News 0 The Transnet Phelophepa Health Care Train is in town and will be here until 3 March while stationed at Mount Ruth Railway Station near Mdantsane. Phelophepa offers affordable and quality Primary Health Care Services to the community. It complements the services offered by the Department of Health. The train has four clinics rendering services that include dental care, eye care, screening programmes, health education and counselling services. The dental clinic will offer free screening and education. Extractions, fillings and cleaning will be done, for any two procedures the charge will be R10, for all three, R15. All procedures for children will be charged at R5. No procedures will be performed on false teeth. Eye testing will be free of charge, no operations will be done and bifocals will not be prescribed. Eye drops will be R5 each. Free health education, cancer and diabetic screenings, pap smears, prostate and breast screenings. Each prescription will cost R5. The Psychology Clinic services will include workshops to help cope with stress, abuse, conflict, death, parenting, discipline, empowerment and working through emotions. These services are free. Phelophepa Representative Zingisa Sofayiya, encourages community members to make their way to Mount Ruth from the first day and not wait until the second week when there are large numbers of people. Treatment is scheduled on a first come, first served basis. The public should also remember to bring clinic cards and immunisation cards for children. For any enquiries, the public can contact Zingisa Sofayiya on 078 077 1850 or Thozeka Tshangela on 078 271 7299. Related Buffalo City Homestay Programme to kickoff in August The homestay concept was adapted from the Metro’s sister city Jinhua, Zhejiang Province in China. Jinhua launched the “Home-stay in Jinhua’s historical Villages” project in 2015. Through this project Jinhua City aimed to tell the story of Jinhua and promote its rural villages by attracting tourists from all over the world who are interested in travelling to historical villages. The Metro saw the need to implement a similar project because of the rich cultural and historical background pertaining to the Xhosa Culture, and the realisation that cultures across the country are slowly being eroded by western influence and therefore need to be preserved. The project will aim to transform Mngqesha into an international center for ecotourism with distinctive local cultural elements, as well as provide an attraction for international visitors to the City. It will also ensure that surrounding rural villages are working centres of economic activity so that villagers do not leave for the cities, but contribute to developing rural villages. 30 international applicants who have a strong interest in South Africa and in particular the Xhosa culture, will be selected for the two week stay in Mngqesha Great Place and will have direct experience of living in a Xhosa Village, its culture, history, folklore, architecture, art, crafts and cuisine. They will also have the opportunity to experience other interesting sites and places of interest in the City. Participants will be required to make suggestions on improving all aspects of the village as a cultural tourist attraction and produce promotional material such as pamphlets, maps and web articles to create an interest in the respective participant countries to visit the project. The two-week exchange will then conclude with the project evaluation as well as the Farewell Ceremony where participants will have the opportunity to show off their talents and skills to the local villagers. For application forms to be part of the Homestay Programme follow the link: http://www.buffalocitymetro.gov.za/Portals/0/slides/HOMESTAY_IN_SOUTHAFRICA_APPLICATION_FORM.pdf Buffalo City celebrates Toursim Month In celebration of Heritage and Tourism Month the Department of Tourism planned various activities such as the Beach and Heritage Clean up, the Product Training Workshop, the Media Hosting Tour and the Cultural and Adventure Tours. The Department also ran a selfie competition which encouraged entrants to take selfies when visiting a Heritage or Cultural site in the City. The tour took place from 16 to 18 September and is part of the Celebrations of Tourism Month. The City hosted a tour which had guided tours to the Steve Biko Centre, a game drive at the Mpongo Private Game Reserve and a quad bike tour at Areena Riverside Resort where the visitors interacted with Abby, the giraffe. “The hosting of tour operators and media houses will give Buffalo City an opportunity to showcase what it has to offer as a destination of choice. Currently, tour operators and media houses are looking for new destinations that they can offer to their clients,” said Miranda Nofeliti Marketing Coordinator from the Local Economic Department. Janine Borthwick from Ballyhoo Media, Justin Williams Online Editor at the Publication Cape Town etc. and Iga Motylska a Freelance Journalist will share their experiences on various Tourism platforms and their social media pages. Speaking to BCMM’s Website Mbulelo Kafi Owner of Sakhisizwe Tours from the Northern Cape said that Tourism and Heritage Month is important as it educates South Africans on where they come from, allowing citizens to protect their historical monuments. “BCMM is rich in history and has an impressive collection of wildlife animals and vegetation.” Nofeliti also added that the Eastern Cape Province is one of the tourism gems of South Africa, “offering visitors unique scenic views and a truly diverse tourism experience.” As part of the Tourism Month activities, the group presented and shared their experiences at the Product Training Workshop which was held at the King David Hotel on 17 September where various members of the tourism sector in the Metro were invited. “The department held the workshop, in an effort to create more awareness to product owners on how to package itineraries for the international market and to encourage them to tap into that market,” said Nofeliti. She also added that there is a need to educate tourism business owners on the importance of using social media as a business tool to expand their businesses. Benny Mutswiri from Heita Ngamla Tours based in Johannesburg said that he discovered that there’s a lot of activities and rich history that the City offers. “I interacted with various Tour Operators and B&B Owners at the Product Training Session gave me an opportunity to network and explore the various ways in which I could promote the City to the people of Johannesburg. The two-hour beach clean-up took place at the Esplanade at the Beachfront and at the Heroes Park with over 50 Tourism students from Walter Sisulu University and the Buffalo City College participating. “Being regularly aware of the need to keep all coastal lines clean and beautiful is a contribution we can make to ensure we improve the state of the beaches, shorelines and duns,” said Nofeliti. Buffalo City and the Chilli Boys are ready The PSL game will be a one of kind first ever game to be played at the stadium in the evening as well as hosting the tough champions. Addressing the media at the EL City Hall boardroom Pakati said, “As you are all aware that BCMM is in partnership with Chippa United football club and that tomorrow we are hosting the match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Chippa is within the context of that partnership. “For tomorrow’s game it is all systems go as we have met our end of the bargain in terms of insuring that the stadium meets the PSL requirements.” Pakati also spoke on how the partnership came about, “We noticed that there were no PSL games being played in Buffalo City for a long time. We then decided to engage in conversations with the club to bring some games to this side of the province. We all agreed and the rest is just history,” he added. The match will help boost the Metro’s economy tremendously especially given the high importance of the game. The games are going to be very economically viable for the City. “Remember that when people will come here they will pour petrol into their cars and some will sleep over in the hotels and beds and breakfast. So it will be a great spin off particularly in the hospitality sector,” added Pakati. COO for Chippa United football club Lukhanyo Mzinzi said, “We have prepared for the game ever since we took the decision together with the City last year. This showed how much we took seriously the partnership we have with the City.” He added the club will also play good quality PSL matches in Mdantsane. “Following this match we will have Golden Arrows followed by the current champions of the MTN League which is Wits,” said Mzinzi. He further added that the City has played a big role in terms of marketing the club as a result the team have seen their support grow bigger in each visit. Mazinzi describes the Metro as their hunting ground as they don’t waste any points when they play in Buffalo City. In culminating the briefing Pakati emphasized on safety security and said that the Metro’s Law Enforcement together with Environmental Services will be working with the South African Police Services (SAPS) to ensure the fans protection as a number one priority. MGDS vision to bolster the City The purpose of the day was for the City representatives and external stakeholders to interact, represent community needs and priorities to be achieved by 2030. Speaking at the meeting Executive Mayor for Buffalo City Metro Alfred Mtsi said, “I want to see space created for the many super talented Metro citizens who have good ideas on how to save the future of the city.” The City’s MGDS Coordinator Abongile Dlani listed five strategic outcomes to be achieved in the next five years that include: · Creating an innovative and productive city with rapid and inclusive economic growth and falling unemployment; · A green, clean and healthy city of subtropical gardens that makes the best of its natural assets; · A connected city with cheap, high quality connections to information and communications technology (ICT) and · A well governed city and a spatially integrated city. Dlani presented the Metro’s MGDS overview which puts officials to work building business confidence by supporting thriving sectors which in turn would lead to more growth and jobs. The over view calls for quick decision making when dealing with investors and most importantly for the Metro to release land for development and economic growth. Acting General Manager of the IDP and Performance Management System Nozuko Frans highlighted priority issues and challenges the Metro needs to focus on. “BCM has prioritised finding houses for the disabled and people who have been on the housing list for more than 20 years, meeting requests for toilets, water supply, fixing faulty electrical poles, upgrading and maintaining sports fields, regularly collecting refuse, building new storm drains and maintaining existing drains.” The outcomes of the summit have been adopted by Council at the executive mayoral lekgotla that was held on November 16 t0 18 and that they should reflect in the new Integrated Development Plan (IDP). The meeting also comprised of three clusters that include Institutional and finance that covers communication, By-laws, Public participation, budgeting, special programmes, disabled, elderly and youth. Economic development for SMMEs, agriculture, tourism, safety, disaster, fire and rescue services, environmental health and township economy. Infrastructure and Spatial that include water, electricity, roads, sanitation, spatial planning, human settlements, urban generation and transportation. The socio- economic cluster which is led by BCMM Executive Mayor called for linkages to rural development with manufacturing plants to supply the rural areas. The forum called for the establishment of an investment council and the revival of the metro agricultural forum. Electricity Indaba hosted by the Metro According to a Metro’s press statement Municipal Report the Indaba aims to give various role players in the electricity sector to discuss and inform all of the impact and cost of illegal implications as well as the occupational health impact the illegal connections have on the people and electrical infrastructure of the Metro. The Electricity Indaba also discussed the alternative energy systems that the City is already using and future plans. Some of the topics that were discussed include legal implications, the effect that illegal connections impact on the community and electricity losses. Speaking about the purpose of the day Portfolio Head for Infrastructure Services Mteteleli Sam said, “The purpose of this session is to discuss and debate issues that affect a large portion of our population, which is the issue of illegal connections. “Illegal connections do not only affect BCMM as an institution but it deals with the day to day impact on the Metro’s ability to provide an effective service to all, as electricity and energy affect the day to day lives of the citizens of the Metro.” He added that illegal connections affect the Metro’s budget as funding is spent to replace and repair networks that are damaged, on a more social level they have also resulted in the identified deaths of at least 47 BCMM residents, some of which have been innocent by standers of this illegal act. Some of the stakeholders that were there include, SAPS, Southern African Revenue Protection Association (SARPA), Eskom (Operation Khanyisa Program) the Department of Energy, the Department of Labour and Border Kei Chamber of Business. Speaking about the Metro’s electricity and energy status quo Acting HOD for Engineering Services Luyanda Mbula said, “The electricity department intends to continue with its capitalisation program. The department completed a major project in June 2015 with the 80 MVA Queenspark Zoo substation coming in line, this has improved supply to the CBD and also ensures additional capacity for RDP Electrification.” “We have completed over 200 projects in the last three years to upgrading, refurbishing and renewing cables, transformers, switch gear, mini substation and switch houses.” “We work hand in hand with the Department of Energy, we apply for funding based on information we receive from the Department of Human Settlement, at the moment the back log that we have for electrification of formal houses is at 2500 housing un-electrified houses,” adds Mbula. He added that the department has a severe shortage of skilled labour, the plant, vehicles and equipment need to be replaced, aging infrastructure that needs to be replaced, and theft of copper and vandalism of equipment. The session ended with lively debates that included possible short, mid and long term solutions and have programmed way forward to address the electrical and energy challenges within the Metro and surrounding areas. Youth driver training programme The concept was introduced by the City’s Deputy Executive Mayor’s Office with the aim to improve the lives of Buffalo City youth. “This aims at improving their life opportunities as people who will have better chances of employment opportunities,” said Deputy Executive Mayor Xola Pakati. The driver training programme is run under Coega Industrial Development Zone. The Metro’s Youth Council identified the needy unemployed youth in Buffalo City. Speaking about the opportunity one of the beneficiaries Athenkosi Fikizolo said, “This is a great opportunity and it will open doors for me.” Another beneficiary from Ndileka Village near King William’s Town Vuyisani Gqwetha added that job opportunities will be open for me now “and obtaining a driving license will help me through the process of job search.” “I had never thought that such an opportunity will be given to me, as I hail from rural areas and it has been a dream I thought will never be fulfilled. I had never driven car before and this has been a wonderful experience.” 39 of chosen youth are currently busy with their learner’s licenses and only one is already in possession of the learner’s license . The classes kicked off on Monday 16 November at 2.30pm at Buffalo City College in East London with a total number of 25 people as a first group. They are all between East London and Mdantsane. The King William’s Town class will be accommodated at the Lovedale FET College in King William’s Town. Comments are closed.