9 May Service delivery projects monitored May 9, 2017 By Tabisa Mntengwana Latest News 0 As part of the City’s mandate to check the process of all service delivery project happening in the Metro, a delegation of at least 15 City officials and Councillors to monitor projects in the King William’s Town area. The projects that were visited include the construction of sidewalks in Dimbaza, re-gravelling of internal roads in Cwengcwe Village, Joubert Street Mini-Substation replacement in KWT and the replacement of School Street Mini-Substation. The site visits took place on Thursday 4 May. Speaking about the purpose of the site visit Portfolio Head for Infrastructure Services Ncedo Kumbaca said that, the visits are set to monitor the progress of the projects and to make sure that everything is going according to plan. “It is the municipality’s responsibility to ensure that money spent on upgrading our facilities and infrastructure in the metro is used appropriately.” The first visit was the sidewalk construction in Dimbaza. Currently, the excavation has been completed and the team is busy with levelling and concrete pouring. This project is set to be completed by the end of May. The village of Cwengwe which was previously under the Amathole Municipality was the second area to be visited. There is a project of re-gravelling of roads. “Cwengwe is one of the areas inherited from Amathole District Municipality. The area doesn’t have access to running water, sanitation and proper road networks. We need to lay the ground work in terms of infrastructure in order to bring much needed services to the people of this area,” he said. 35 locals from the Cwengwe Village were employed for this project, which has a budget of over R990 000. Following that, the team headed to King William’s Town to assess the progress on the Bulk Electricity Infrastructure Upgrades. According to Kumbaca, two mini-substations have been replaced both in Joubert Street and in School Street. “These mini-substations were over 30 years old, resulting in constant power outages in these areas.” Earlier in the year, there was a fatal accident, where a school boy in the Westbank area where a young learner was electrified while playing near an open electricity box. During the site visits, the delegation met with community members who had raised concerns regarding the condition of boundary boxes, commonly known as “danger boxes” around the King William’s Town area. The boundary boxes were found to be old and in poor condition which prompted that they be urgently replaced. Kumbaca added that the constant influx of people from rural areas to the urban areas has put great pressure on the Metro’s infrastructure and the efficiency in which services are provided. “We are constantly racing to meet the needs of our people in the best way possible.” Site visits are to continue in the East London area as the Metro continues to improve its infrastructure bringing service delivery to the people. Related Mayoral Imbizo kicks off The Imbizo is part of the City’s plan to get residents to voice out their views on matters pertaining service delivery issues. Issues discussed include housing, electricity, potholes, roads, water and sanitation, rates and high unemployment rate. Speaking about their state of roads in Zwelitsha Mthuthuzeli Phoswa said, “Our tarred roads are full of potholes and we need them to be fixed. We also want our streets to be named in all our areas in the Metro especially in townships.” The same week, the City visited Mdantsane for the second leg of the Imbizo and residents gave an overview of their service delivery issues. The Imbizo was held on Friday 14 October at Orlando Sportsfields. Issues discussed in Mdantsane include sporting activities for the youth, bucket system in some of the areas of the City needs to be eradicated, fluctuation of rates and how to resolve pending debts and revamping of halls. Ncerha residents also had an opportunity to speak to the Metro with various issues raised. The Ncerha Imbizo was held on Sunday 16 October at Ncerha Village 2. Speaking about the City’s plans Executive Mayor Xola Pakati said, “Everyone in the wards will have equal opportunities for all service delivery issues as the Metro we are committed in changing the lives of our people and excel in service delivery.” The last leg of the Imbizo will be held at Jan Smuts Stadium in East London on Monday 17 October at 1pm. Salga conference kicks off on a high note At least 100 delegates from various municipalities gathered together during the conference which took place last week. The conference is held with the aim to tackle service delivery challenges faced by the municipalities. This year’s theme is Inspiring Service Delivery: Building a Sustainable, Responsive and People Centered Local Government Speaking at the conference Buffalo City Metro’s Executive Mayor Xola Pakati said, “Today we are here to reflect on the achievements of local government but mostly to share ideas on how to take our struggle for service delivery forward.” “This conference should move from this yardstick and navigate through some of the challenges that our local government is facing.” “Let us all understand our role as public representatives in changing lives of the people. We are gathered here as the servants of the people with a mandate and trust from our constituencies to change their livelihood,” said Pakati. “This is the 8th SALGA Conference converges in East London, we need to conclude as this collective on how are we going to face some of the challenges that characterise our local government.” “We need a local government that is investor friendly that will result in the creation of employment opportunities for our youth, the local Government that promotes skills development as a catalyst for creation of small businesses and economic growth, the responsive and corruption free local government should be one of our resolutions here today,” he added. Deliberating on the 20 plus years of democracy, Premier of the Eastern Cape Province Phumulo Masualle said, “The maturing of our democracy comes with responsibilities and our electorates are aware of their rights.” “Delivering services to the people requires a focused, decisive and strategic leadership that will be able to expand the current resource base,” added Masualle. Chief Ngangomhlaba Matanzima added prestige to the summit by passing words of support to the present municipalities and councilors for their term in office. Matanzima said that government leadership must instill peace, togetherness and harmony with a unified goal to bring services to the people. “Municipalities need to focus on their business operations, people want core business,” added Matanzima. Provincial Chairperson of SALGA Makhosazana Meth reflected on the values adding that we must all be activists. “SALGA stands to be an association of municipalities that is at the cutting edge of quality and sustainable services.” Meth further emphasised on the importance of service delivery. “We must always ensure that needs and interests of the citizens are met regardless of the political divide,” she added. Mtsi delivers the SOMA Mtsi said the Metro had to operate and deliver adequate services to communities during the difficult economic circumstances due to low global economic growth. “As the Metro we had to do more with less as a result we had to find ways of strengthening the economy through partnerships.” However, the Metro manage its finances well and it was rated the second most financial stable metropolitan municipality in the country by the Rating Africa falling by just two point behind the leader. “The City has achieved a credit rating of A which signifies a strong cash position in the long term with minimal exposure to long term debt.” He said, even though the City is financially self-reliant and it is in a position of taking on additional long term loans, “We will ensure that there is a direct impact on improving the revenue of the municipality through economic growth and job creation.” “In making such decision we will ensure that there is a direct impact on improving the revenue of the Metro,” Mtsi adds. Looking at the 2016/17 new financial year, Mtsi said that 96 percent of the R7.4 billion Capital Budget will be allocated towards service delivery and basic infrastructure to improve service delivery as well as efforts towards Local Economic Development to improve investor appeal to the City. The Executive Mayor also said, the metro is currently upgrading the Zwelitsha and Reeston Waste Water Treatment Works (WWTWs) to regional WWTWs at the value of R500 million and R300 million respectively to improve development in the areas. “We are upgrading Zwelitsha and Reeston Waste Water Treatment Works (WWTW) to regional WWTW at the value of R500 million and R300 million respectively.” In addressing electricity challenges, Mtsi mentioned that the Metro has spent R15 million in electrifying informal settlements in the past financial year and invested more than R400 million into developing and upgrading bulk electricity infrastructure. “In the past financial year more than 887 informal dwellings, received electricity taking the overall figure to 3 085 in the past five years for new electrical connections.” “Over the past five years the Buffalo City Metro has refurbished switch houses, mini-substations, transformers and MV lines at various areas within the Metro,” said Mtsi. In addition to the infrastructure development, the Metro is in discussion with the South African Road Agency (SANRAL) to plan the upgrades of the R72 bypass that links R72 to the N2 as well as the Mount Ruth off-ramp from the N2. He added that the City committed a total of R340 million for upgrade, maintenance and the completion of major projects that include Fleet Street and Gonubie Main Road. On sports and recreation, Mtsi said the City has spent an amount of R12 million to develop safe parks for children including the upgrading of the Buffalo City Stadium to meet the Premier Soccer League standards (PSL). “Sports and recreation is an element of a happy and healthy society and we have recognised the necessity of providing safe playing areas for our children.” He added that the Metro has also initiated a number of multi-year projects aiming at maintaining and enhancing facilities with the redevelopment of the NU 2 swimming pool being one of the flagship projects. The Metro has made great strides in delivering secure and comfortable homes to its citizens and as a result it has been recommended for Level 2 housing accreditation. “We have delivered new low cost houses to vulnerable communities, victims of natural disasters to fight homelessness as well as to communities lying outside the urban edge in the Metro.” He mention that the City has taken the following number of intervention that aim at redressing the inherited socio economic imbalances: • The Integrated Sustainable Human Settlement Plan which will define what is required to unlock housing delivery in strategic areas across the Metro and identify what other social and infrastructural services would be required to do so in a holistic and integrated way; • The Buffalo City Metro’s Informal Settlement Upgrading Policy and Strategy has been developed, accompanied by upgrading plans for 32 informal settlements, through the National Upgrading Support Programme (NUSP); • The Land Identification Study for Partial or Full Relocation of Informal Settlements in BCMM has been adopted by Council; • The Mdantsane Industrial Township Feasibility Study identifies and assesses the suitability of land with industrial and warehousing potential adjacent to Mdantsane along the N2 and • The Newlands Local Spatial Development Framework has been adopted. Mzamomhle informal settlements is electrified The city officially launched Ward 27 ongoing projects at Mzamomhle Community Hall on Thursday, 20 October 2016. The program kicked off with site visits to the upgrade of Gonubie Main Road, Phase 2 of Quinera Drive and proceeded to the community hall where the electrification project was launched. According to the Municipal Report, the electrification work in Ward 27 includes the installation of service connections to 800 informal dwellings, replacing of the pole transformers and installation of pre-payment meters at informal structures. “Electricity is a basic service that all should enjoy, bringing essential services to the people remains the priority of the institution,” reads the report. Speaking at the launch, Executive Mayor Xola Pakati committed to ensuring that every household in Buffalo City Metro will have electricity. “What you see today are the promises we made as government to improve the lives of our people.” He encouraged the community to continue engaging with government in an effort to improve service delivery. “As a government who cares, we host events such as Imbizo to identify your needs so that we provide services that suit your needs.” Pakati warned residents against the dangers of illegal electricity connections and overloading of power supply. “Innocent lives are lost as a consequence of the unsafe use of electricity, particularly in the form of illegal connections. There is also a network overload as a result of this act.” Beneficiary and PSC committee member, Ntombi Mbengwana expressed her joy during the launch and said, “We thought our community was abandoned by government because we lacked basic services but now we know we are a priority and we are confident that all the promises made will be fulfilled.” The project has also created job opportunities for the community as 12 local labourers were employed. Customer Care Survey Kicks off The BCMM Website met up with Andile Gumbi of Skhunyana Training Consulting who is busy with conducting the survey. Speaking about the company’s main mandate Gumbi said, “We have been appointed by the Metro to conduct the customer care survey, develop customer care strategy and as well as the service delivery charter.” During the survey, BCMM communities, councillors, businesses and employees are encouraged to participate. The survey is a platform to assess the level of satisfaction of Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality customers, residents and businesses with the full range of BCMM services, governance and development priorities. According to Gumbi, the Metro has a mandate to identify the backlog of service delivery issues through the survey and is hoping to that the process will inform the future planning of the City. He added that once the work starts kicking out, the survey will see at least 500 local people being employed through the consulting company to work on behalf of the City. “There will be a stipend paid out to the locals who will be working on the project but we are busy consulting with the relevant people to determine the percentage of the stipend.” The study covers all 50 wards of BCMM including formal and informal dwelling types and will be covered in five phases. Phase 1 of the survey will be the project preparation and initiation stage while phase 2 is the customer care status quo analysis. Phase 3 is the data collection, entry and analysis, phase 4 is the customer care strategy and service delivery charter consolidation stage and lastly phase 5 is the comprehensive close out report of the project. Phelophepa building healthy communities The train is in town to provide basic healthcare services to the people of Buffalo City until 3 March and is stationed at Mount Ruth Train Station. Phelophepa comes to the City in an effort to confront these challenges to rural communities and also to support existing healthcare services, by providing a range of affordable, accessible mobile medical care. Speaking about the initiative, Phelophepa Manager Lynette Flusk said that the initiative was established in 1994 operating with only three eye clinic coaches and making visits every two years. “Over the years, the train has since expanded to an 18-car train that offers comprehensive services in dental care, eye care, diabetic screenings, pap smear, prostate and breast cancer screening and psychological counselling,” said Flusk. She added that in 2012, Phelophepa rolled out a second train which made it possible to visit every year covering four provinces with a total of 35 stops around the country. “Due to the high turn up of patients every year, the train allows other patients to spend the night at the station. Mostly, those are patients coming to the eye care clinic as that service always has high number of patients each year.” “It is a situation we try to avoid but it is not always possible as some patients travel long distances to get to the station,” she added. Nomabandla Mngambe from NU3 Mdantsane has had vision problems for two years. Mngambe was excited when she received a pair of glasses. "My poor vision has limited my ability to perform daily activities, I have difficulty moving around unfamiliar places and sometimes identifying faces and objects. I hope my vision will improve with my new pair of glasses,” said Mngambe. When asked why she did not seek help from public health services, Mngambe said that she could not afford the fee that is required to get prescribed spectacles, she was also discouraged by the waiting period between eye testing and receiving the spectacles. Noloyiso Mkhwakhwi from Nxarhuni visited the dental care clinic to extract a tooth. Mkhwakhwi said that she has been hesitant to seek help because of a traumatic experience she had a few years back when she extracted her wisdom teeth in a public hospital. She received good reviews from members of her community about the service at Phelophepa that she decided to come. "I am so glad I came here today, the dentist was so friendly and gentle during the extraction. I did not feel any discomfort, I was even able to have a meal afterwards. The service was exceptional,” said Mkhwakhwi. From Mount Ruth Train Station, the dedicated team of 22 permanent staff, supported by students will continue on their nine-month medical journey stopping at King William’s Town and Queenstown, before moving on to the Free State, North-West Province and the Western Cape. Comments are closed.