15 March Celebrating 16 years of cooperation March 15, 2018 By Tabisa Mntengwana Latest News 0 Buffalo City Metro and the City of Gavle in Sweden, are celebrating 16 years of a mutually beneficial twinning partnership. The partnership was initiated in 2002 to primarily focus on strengthening local democracy, alleviate poverty, protect the environment, promote economic growth and social equality as well as practice good governance. Through the twinning relations, over 40 projects have been implemented in Buffalo City. These projects include the development of: The water management information systems Land use management system Community support centres Transportation and traffic safety project Good governance phase one and two (housing and public participation) Public safety programme Youth and special programmes Electricity master plan multi-agency Geographic information systems Emergency services Infrastructure asset management and Citizen relationship management programme Speaking at a seminar held at the East London International Convention Centre(ELICC) about the cooperation, Executive Mayor Xola Pakati said "Tangible results have been achieved over the last 16 years but the highest benefit has been the rich transfer of knowledge and experience.” He further said that a wider approach to the partnership was adopted to open doors for more stakeholders in the City to benefit from the partnership, over 200 Buffalo City citizens benefited from the projects. The partnership has offered substantial benefits for the City of Gavle as well, said Municipal Commissioner, Jan Myleus. “Measurable progress has been made in various sectors through research opportunities and the information exchange component of the partnership.” He added that “Municipal collaborations are rarely sustainable but it is an honour to be celebrating 16 years of a successful partnership with Buffalo City.” The Swedish delegation arrived on Monday ,12 March 2018 for the celebrations. They have visited projects such as the Harambee youth project, which is one of the partnership initiatives, the BCMM youth development centre and the Masimanyane women's support centre. Their visit will close off with a farewell gala dinner on Thursday, 15 March, at the ELICC. Related Bumb’ingomso launched in BCM The Venue at Hemmingway’s Mall was bursting with song, traditional dancing and poetry when the young women were celebrated at the launch of the Bumb’ingomso project last week. The project was formally formed in 2012 by the Federal Republic of Germany and the South African government through the KfW Development Bank. KfW has been working in South Africa since 1995, they have been focusing on prevention of HIV as at a provincial and national level to make sure the spread of HIV comes to an end. Speaking about the purpose of the day Chief Executive Officer for DGMT David Harrison said, “I would like to thank Buffalo City and the German Government for the opportunity for us to make this day possible. Bumb’ingomso aims to help reduce the risk and spread of HIV in the Metro.” He further added that the trust wants to help create better futures for the young girls of the Metro, we want to create an HIV free generation. “A generation that is filled with hope and future leaders of this country instead of victims of some support group, that is why we have partnered with Bumb’ingomso to make this possible to nurture young girls as we believe young girls are important and they tend to be more vulnerable.” Adding to that Head of Development Corporation-German Embassy Volker Oel said, “We are very excited about this new programme and we as we want to give young people a sense of urgency as the infected rate continues to grow, they will take priority as they are future leaders.” “We would like to see all clinics in Buffalo City be dominated by young people, we need to find clinically proven aspects and continue within them. At the end of the value chain the Department of Health will help come with treatment, there can never be enough intervention until there is no more infection spreading.” “In the years 2001/2002 and 2004 young people between the ages of 14 and 24 years everyone was infected with HIV,” he said. Oel added that one in four young women is infected, however that rate has now come down over the last few years. Addressing the crowd MEC for Health Dr Pumza Dyantyi said, “I am really excited about this project in the City, The statistics speak for themselves, it also shows that women of this age group 14 and 25 years are more infected than the male of this group as it has also been discovered that young girls also sleep with older men.” “The new trend of blessers has hit the country like a storm and our country is in danger, however the blessers are not alarming, the statistics are. Since Bumb’ingomso began it has worked with numerous young girls as part of their programme to support and work with young girls who want to make a difference in their lives in the Buffalo City are. Speaking as part of the perspective of the youth active member from the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) Aphiwe Ntlemeza said, “I hope the programme will also find its way to high schools as well as higher education institutions not excluding drop puts as these institutions represent the most vulnerable groups too.” “Condoms are seen as socio cultural factors oppress and construct women as men’s objects of desire and pleasure, thus increasing women’s vulnerability to HIV infection as women are unable to negotiate for condom use.” She added that prevention strategies should also focus on the male contraceptive to use condoms as means to also protect both males and females. Bumb’ingomso is a four multifaceted project which has partnered with the following organisations Small projects Foundation (SPF), Beyond Zero (BZ), Masimanyane Women Support Centre and Harambe Youth Accelerator. 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. New houses for Postdam elderly Ngxokela received a two bedroomed house early December to accommodate her and his grandchildren who have been living in a mud house for many years. The 42 square metre house will accommodate four children and two adults as Ngxokela is also looking after her grandchildren. Speaking about receiving the house Ngxokela said, “This is a dream come true for me. I have prayed for many years to be blessed with such a house.” Giving an overview of what the house is made of one of the contractors Corrie Nortje said, “The house is a two bedroom house, a kitchen, lounge and is made of blocks, sand, cement and tiles. It is also plastered inside and outside and also temporary electricity has been installed.” Adding to that Ward Councillor Veliwe Sakube said, “The houses came just in time for Christmas and it is going to be a very happy day for the elderly to be spending Christmas in their newly built houses.” At least 30 people received their housing units with seven being over 60 years of age. Great plans between Gävle and the Metro The partnership was formed to strengthen local democracy, improve competence and capacity among the parties in their developmental role as service providers through mutual transfer of knowledge and to promote economic growth. The two cities have over the years shared experiences, knowledge and best practices and this year the City of Gävle visited BCMM shores as part of their twinning agreement to strengthen the ties. The visit of the delegation from Gävle started from the 25 - 29 January where various activities and workshops were arranged to discuss future plans, review of ongoing and upcoming projects. The activities for the week-long visit kicked off with a workshop on Thursday 28 January with the aim of discussing key focus areas within both municipalities. The key focal areas will generate project ideas that will be implemented in both cities over the next five years. Some of the key priorities discussed during the workshop range from education, green economy and sustainable communities, infrastructure and economic development. Speaking to the Metro's Website, the Development, Cooperation and International Relations Manager Darby Gounden said, “The partnership between the City and Gävle was initiated in 2002.” “It has provided a bridge to solve problems faced by a developing and developed world and to exchange ideas on how these issues can be resolved,” said Gounden. She also added that the partnership has created various opportunities to tackle issues of a global nature. Speaking about the partnership the Executive Mayor Alfred Mtsi said, “It is great to share knowledge and ideas with such a great City. We as the Metro can really learn a lot from Gävle.” He also added that Gävle is counted amongst the centre of economic growth in the world. “The history and contribution Sweden has made towards the foundation of the new South Africa is one which will strengthen the relationship between the Metro and Gävle.” Wrapping up the workshop, City Manager of Gävle Goran Aenell spoke about the various challenges facing Gävle such as population increase, education, job creation, youth development and immigration. “We have various challenges currently facing Gävle, the biggest challenge for us at the moment is the large number of refugees that are entering the country, who are unable to secure employment.” He also spoke about the various projects that have been implemented between Gävle and the Metro. Some of the activities the partnership has implemented include the renewable energy pilot project in Beacon Bay and other areas. Another topic discussed include the implementation of good governance projects through local active political bodies have formed projects to alleviate poverty and improve the quality of lives for all who lives in the municipal area. He also added that the City of Gävle looks forward to working with the Metro sharing and developing ideas which will contribute in the economic growth and benefit both cities. Culminating the visit the Deputy Executive Mayor Xola Pakati, Committee for Engineering, Infrastructure Services and Gävle delegation also visited the Beacon Bay Electricity Offices to view the Gävle/ Buffalo City Renewable Energy Pilot project implementation and phase 2 of the Solar Project. Metro gets its own graders The graders were handed over to the Mdantsane Roads Department on last week in an effort to help make the job easier and faster. In the past the Metro only hired the machines from service providers and that was costing the institution dearly. During the IDP roadshows last year the upgrading of suburbia roads and the maintenance of rural roads were amongst the top issues the community were complaining about. The machines will help with the construction of roads, attend to emergency request from ward councillors, maintain rural roads and also attend to roads after heavy rains. Speaking at the event Executive Mayor Alfred Mtsi said, “The purpose of purchasing these graders is to maintain, and where necessary to re-gravel our roads in both midlands and coastal areas. Most of the current plants are old and often brake down and are expensive to fix at times, however we believe maintenance is a big challenge but we are trying.” “Two graders are not enough, but it is a positive start to plan for more. Investment in infrastructure remains a priority, it is the foundation for the economic growth of our Metro,” adds Mtsi. Speaking about the background of the project Acting Head of Department Luyanda Mbula said, “Today we are here to introduce and welcome our new addition to our fleet. For the last three or four years we have noticed that the City has been spending a lot of money on hiring of the plant to assist municipality.” “If you look at our Metro in the last two or three years, it has expanded in terms of addition of villages from Great Kei and Ngqushwa and other surrounding villages. These two graders are going to assist us in terms of maintenance, rehabilitation and the upgrade of our road network.” “We have about 1 200 kilometers gravel road network and that is the gravel network which we have to cover,” adds Mbula. Operators will be trained to do preventative maintenance operations such as weekly greasing, daily check list to prolong the life span of the equipment’s. Expressing his gratitude BCMM worker and grader driver, Bulelekile Tolbaard said, “I have been working here for five years now and what I love the most about our Metro is that service delivery is a priority. I feel honored that I will too help in making that happen.” Xolisa Bhedesi who is one of the grader operators said, “I feel very happy about these new graders they are going to help us so much in doing our job. What excites me more is the training that we will go through so that we can drive the graders better and with caution.” In culminating the handover Ward Councillor Landile Vika said, “Driving this grader alone is a skill and drivers need a training to operate the grader. It is going to create jobs as there will be people needed to drive them.” Ilitha wooden housing beneficiaries to get new homes Nothozamile Ngxaza said that she is grateful for the initiative after waiting for so many years for a decent house. “We have endured this for many years staying in depilated houses. It seems as if this was never going to happen but the Executive Mayor has confirmed that it will happen. I have lived in that wooden house for 35 years,” said Ngxaza. The depilated wooden structures which were built by the then government of the Ciskei will be demolished and replaced by 264 newly built housing units. The construction of the houses will start mid-November with a budget of R27 million set aside for the project. However, the project has been experiencing a lot of problems including the non-deliverance by the appointed contractor. Ward Councillor Thozamile Norexe said, “This project started in 2013 and should have been completed in 2014 but out of 262 houses only 132 houses have been built.” FRepresentative from the Metro's Human Settlements section Mthunzi Ngonyama said, “In Phase 2 we’re expecting 373 housing units but so far 273 have been done. The outstanding 100 will be completed when the newly appointed contractor starts with the construction of Phase 3.The first contractor was fired in June as a result of poor performance. Comments are closed.