18 May BCM Council Open Day May 18, 2017 By Tabisa Mntengwana Latest News 0 Following the successful roadshows for the 2017/18 Draft Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and Budget, the Metro held the 2017 Council Open Day on Wednesday 16 May at the East London City Hall. The purpose of the day was to present the outcomes of the IDP and Budget ward meetings as well as key issues raised by traditional leadership and the business fraternity before it is tabled in Council for adoption. Speaking at the open day, Speaker of Council Alfred Mtsi said, “Our responsibility as municipal councillors is to play a central role in promoting local democracy in the form of ensuring public participation.” “The City has a responsibility to encourage and create conditions for local community to participate in the affairs of the municipality including the preparation, implementation and the review of its IDP.” A summary of the key issues raised during the ward meetings were grouped into three regions of the Metro namely Inland wards, Midland wards and Coastal wards and were presented by the Chief Whip of Council Mzwandile Vaaiboom. Vaaiboom said, “All the issues that have been raised by the people here will be taken to council on May 26 for endorsement.” He added that the Executive Mayor’s State of the Metro Address in June will be informed by the outcomes of everything contained by the IDP. In the Inland Region key issues that were raised included the upgrading of roads, a requests for houses, repairing of damaged RDP houses, upgrading of water pipes, electrification, upgrading of sports facilities and job creation particularly for the youth. The Midland Region sited roads, housing, water and sanitation, refuse removal, electrification, sports and recreation facilities as well as youth development programmes as their key issues. Coastal Region ward issues include additional communal standpipes, clarity on illegal occupation of RDP houses, electrification of new areas, land for new cemeteries, job creation and training for the youth. Delivering his keynote address, Executive Mayor Xola Pakati said, “Today is the culmination of the journey we have undertaken to report and account to all the citizens of the Metro about what we have done and request a further mandate on what more should be done as we continue to be of service to our people.” Pakati also presented the Metro’s medium-term expenditure budget for the 2017/18 financial year in which he painted a picture of the current economic climate in the Metro. He said, “The economic climate is marked by immaterial growth, high unemployment, a small revenue base, aging infrastructure, a low collection rate and cost containment measures.” Community members in attendance were given an opportunity to raise queries that might have been left out during the roadshows to the portfolio heads of the various municipal departments and also asked question of clarity on how the budget will be allocated in the new financial year. Related Council Open Day The public hearings took place from 14 April until 13 May to communicate the plans of the City and future development to residents and stakeholders for the 2016/17 financial year. The objective of the day was to give feedback on key issues raised from the wards and also reflect on matter raised by the business fraternity and the traditional leaders. Speaking at the Council Open Day, Executive Mayor Alfred Mtsi said, “The priorities for the next finical year are to provide adequate housing for residents, providing clean and safe drinking water and creating various ideas to ensure the City is kept clean.” “The strategic outcomes we have set out as a Metro are to be an innovative and productive, green, connected, well – governed and spatially transformed City.” “Indeed we have made strides in attempting to realise our vision of being a developmental local government,” said Mtsi. Presenting at the council open day Mtsi said, “A total of over 200 000 households in the Metro have access to water and over 90 percent receive the basic minimum requirements.” He also added that the electricity department spent over 90 percent of its R85 million budget on refurbishing, upgrading and enhancing the electrical network throughout the City he also said that over 16 000 indigent people receive free basic electricity since the financial year of 2014/2015. In regards to housing Mtsi said, “Second Creek residents received decent housing with full ownership due to the quality of the housing unit delivered by the Human Settlements Directorate the Metro has also won an award for the best rural housing project.” He also added that as part of the rural development programme many housing opportunities will be provided to many rural communities in the Metro. “It is our mandate to provide basic waste management services to citizens of the City this includes street sweeping, waste and litter collection, refuse removal and sundry solid waste management services,” said Mtsi. Mtsi also mentioned some of the challenges facing the Metro such as illegal dumping, land for central transfer station, community mindset, behaviors and enforcing waste management by-laws. Looking at roads, Mtsi said that currently the Roads Department is operating a ward based project which consist of 500 volunteers, 10 volunteers per ward. “The ward based volunteers will assist with pothole patching and storm water clearing,” said Mtsi. The meeting was attended by various key stakeholders of the IDP such as Councillors, Municipal Officials, Community Development Workers (CDW), Traditional leaders and private sector as well as members of the public were invited to engage and discuss the implementation of the IDP and to discuss the successful projects that have been completed in the Metro thus far. The open day was part of the public hearings before the adoption of the 2016/2017 IDP and budget by Council on 31 May. Waterworld Complex is open to the public All the pools in the complex have been repainted and refurbished to cater for swimmers during the festive season. Speaking about the re-opening of the complex Programme Manager for Amenities Keshav Panday said, “The pools were closed for maintenance purposes and have been repainted while ablution blocks have been refurbished to cater for the needs of the public.” He added that the pools will be opened between 8am and 6pm everyday. Automotive hub opened The initiative is a partnership between the Metro, Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC), Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC), The Jobs Fund and the Provincial Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism. The incubator is a hub for automotive glass, battery and tyre sales and repairs. According to a press statement issued by the organisers, the incubator is considered to be the first of its kind in the country. “The idea is that after three years of trading the new businesses will stand on their own, with the resources provided to them, now released to assist in the creation of other new businesses.” Speaking at the launch, Executive Mayor Alfred Mtsi said, “Small businesses stimulate private ownership and entrepreneurship skills, which are necessary to create innovative solutions that bring forth better products and services that improve the lives of citizens.” He added that the Metro’s incubation programme is different as it uses a different approach. “What has been created with this project is virtual incubation which is on the job training. That is what sets this programme apart from others.” The programme is set to boost the township economy by training the business owners, provide equipment, finance to run the business and a three year business guidance to all the businesses who are part of the programme. The complex has four businesses which include the tyre fitment and replacement centre, battery fitment centre, glass centre and a kiosk. Yiliwe Ntanjana one of the business owners at the incubator said, “We are truly grateful for such an opportunity to have our own space to work in. For the next three years we will work hard to make sure other thriving businesses have the same opportunity.” Culminating the day Deputy Executive Mayor Xola Pakati said, “As you have been given this opportunity you need to grab it with both hands and make sure you excel in it.” He added that the incubator programme is part of the revitalisation of township economy. “We all know that entrepreneurship and innovation play are a critical ingredient in growing the economy of any city.” Gillwell Taxi Retail Park opens The city has already seen the arrival of other large shopping malls, so this centre has a different feel to others. It is right in the centre of the Metro and has a fully operational taxi rank. The centre boasts with over 100 retail shops and banking facilities which include Shoprite, Capitec Bank, Identity, Grand Shoes, Markham, Foschini, Sportscene, Mr Price, John Craig and Truworths Gillwell Taxi Retail Park is a concept by Isibonelo Property Services in partnership with the local taxi industry and informal sector. Speaking about the partnership, during the Media Conference held at the mall on Tuesday 10 November, Isibonelo Property Services Chief Executive Officer Shadrack Mthethwa said, “Isibonelo’s developments perfectly demonstrates a unique blend of transport nodes, retail parks and mixed use and precinct developments as well as rural development. These ventures enable us to empower communities and the individuals within, through the establishments if sustainable infrastructure and work opportunities.” Giving his keynote address Acting Executive Mayor Mteteleli Sam said, “WE are pleased that the mall is at this stage, it is a great concept for the City and is set to boost the City’s economy.” The centre will also have a section of informal trading which is set to add an ambience to the esteemed infrastructure. Services will range from your basic fruits and vegetables to traditional unique cuisine. Gillwell Taxi Retail Park is developed by Isibonelo Property Services and Eris Property Group on behalf of Dipula Income Fund. The official opening of the mall and unveiling of the plaque will be on 12 November at 9am. Gillwell Mall is situated at the Corner of Fleet Street and Gillwell Road in the East London CBD. It is a three-level shopping building and is 22 290 square metres. To get more information on Gillwell Taxi Retail Park visit their website on www.gillwell.com or Facebook: Gillwell Taxi Retail Park or Twitter: @GillwellMall IDP and Budget concludes The Metro set aside Tuesday 9 May to discuss the 2017/18 financial budget at Mngqesha Great Place with the traditional leaders. The IDP and Budget is reviewed annually to allow the municipality to improve its plans and strategies and also allow citizens to give their inputs to the IDP for the year, the previous year and next financial year. This year’s theme for the IDP and Budget Roadshows is Unity in Action: A City hard at work. Speaking at the meeting, Chief Whip of Council Councillor Mzwandile Vaaiboom said, “The main purpose of the meeting is to present the draft 2017/18 IDP Review, Medium Term Revenue and Expenditure framework budget to the Queen of Rharhabe and all the Rharhabe Chiefs for inputs before Council adoption.” This follows after the City consulted with all its wards during the roadshows which started on 18 April until 8 May. Discussed during the event include including Tyutyu Phase 3 project, Umzonyana Dam Upgrade, water and the procurement of graders for rural roads. Other issues that came up range from the community hall that was requested in Masingatha, Mlakalaka and Godidi, the agricultural support, requests for ablution facilities in Kwelerana, Mdange Village requested fencing of grazing fields and the request for electricity in Tshatshu. Adding Executive Mayor Xola Pakati said, “Other upgrades that are planned by the Metro include the revamping of the Rharhabe royal family graves, build a tombstone for Chief Tshatshu, Construction of new King William’s Town Traffic Centre, storm water drainages, sanitation, dams and weirs, water treatment works, bulk mains, pump station, distribution mains, reservoirs, agricultural and rural development programmes. Following the Traditional Leaders Session, City officials met with the business sector to discuss projects pertaining to their needs for 2017/18. The Business Breakfast was held at the Regent Hotel in Quigney on Wednesday 10 May. Acting City Manager Bob Naidoo opened the session by giving an overview of the roadshows and its success. “We had a smooth flow of public meetings with hiccups here and there.” The Business Breakfast is held as part of the annual IDP/Budget consultation process, this is mandated by law to involve organised business as a stakeholder in the planning and budgeting process of the municipality. “This meeting is set to provide an opportunity for organised businesses to comment on the draft 2017/18 IDP and Budget before it is tabled in council for adoption and discuss concerns that arise during this engagement,” said Naidoo. Some of the issues raised at previous engagements with the business fraternity included procurement processes with the City’s Supply Chain Management Office, where it was raised that there were interferences at low level when awarding contracts and rural areas being neglected in terms of economic development. In response to this, Pakati assured businesses that the intention of the City is to bring more investment into the City not minimise it. “We are working with other stakeholders to look at what measures can be brought to local businesses to retain and grow the current investment, this work is being done with the Department of Trade and Industry because they have an existing Supply Side Policy which we do not want to duplicate,” said Pakati. Another concern was the inefficiency of the Monitoring and Evaluation of the Metro Growth and Development Strategy. Pakati said that tools are being developed for the strategy and the City is currently reviewing the Supply Chain Policy Framework to include some of the issues raised such as the 30 percent participation of local businesses. “It has been agreed in council that upon conclusion of the framework compilation, all relevant stakeholders will be engaged with for their input,” said Pakati. Attending stakeholders also emphasised that there must be separation between business and politics. Pakati acknowledged the concern but affirmed that the awarding of tenders follows a process which is defined by the Municipal Finance Management and there are no politicians operating in that space. He continued to say that tenders go through a bidding evaluation process and an adjudication process where political interference is barred. Closing off the meeting Speaker of Council Alfred Mtsi said that the principle of meaningful participation was exercised during this engagement. He assured stakeholders that their participation will be expressed in the development of processes undertaken for governance and administration. In closing Pakati announced that there will be a Council Open Day on Tuesday May 16, the adoption of the financial IDP/Budget on May 26 and the State of the Metro Address will be on Thursday 22 June. New BCM leadership sworn in The Executive Mayor Xola Pakati and his deputy Zoliswa Matana, who is the first woman to take the position in BCM, were introduced to the Council together with the Speaker of Council Alfred Mtsi and Chief Whip Mzwandile Vaaiboom. The hall was filled up to its capacity with more people outside eager to get inside to witness their leaders being sworn in. Addressing the Council for the first time as the speaker Mtsi thanked the people of Buffalo City for giving the ruling party another chance “to carry on the mandate from where they left off in the past term of office.” Mtsi also announced the members of the mayoral executive committee, which are Ncedo Kumbanca as head of engineering and infrastructure, Ayanda Myute as head of health and public safety, Xolani Witbooi as head of special programmes, Pumla Nazo-Makathala as head of development, Nontsikelelo Peter as head of Finance, Nozandile Mhlola as head of Human Settlements, Helen Neale-May as head of Community Services, Mawethu Marata as portfolio head for Local Economic Development and Sindile Toni as head of Corporate Services. Giving his remarks, Pakati said the elected representatives should serve the citizens of the Metro regardless of their political affiliation. “As elected representatives, we therefore occupy the positions we occupy by virtue of the trust bestowed upon us by the people for no other purpose but to serve the people. Regardless of our political affiliation, all of us would, I am certain be agreed, that “more and more rural communities [must] benefit from investments in basic services (water, electricity, sanitation and roads) and empowered to end hunger by productively using the available or redistributed land.” Pakati said there must be robust discussions between community and their leaders about the value of investments and protecting infrastructure. “At the same time, we must also engage with our people in a sustained discussion about the need to value the investments they make in such areas as may include public property and other amenities. Simply put, no one benefits out of the destruction of public property during public protests to register grievances, however legitimate these might be.” Comments are closed.