5 April City Holds a BRICS Forum April 5, 2018 By Tabisa Mntengwana Latest News 0 The City together with the provincial government hosted the BRICS Friendship Cities and Local Governments Cooperation Forum with the aim of affirming and strengthening their relations BRICS is an acronym of the grouping of five of the few world’s leading emerging economies which are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The forum was initiated by China in their BRICS Presidency in 2011. Amongst the political leaders in attendance were the Premier of the Eastern Cape Pumullo Masuale, Member of Executive Council for Eastern Cape Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Fikile Xasa and heads from businesses across the Metro as well as heads from the Municipality administration. Speaking at the forum Executive Mayor Xola Pakati said that these events will affirm and strengthen our relations with the major cities from BRICS countries. “They therefore carry the potential of enhancing our mutually-beneficial relations with these cities,” said Pakati. “The beauty about BRICS is that the history of South Africa and many of the countries in it has always been based on mutual trust and cooperation for economic development, social justice and political freedom.” “The countries continue to support each other in the various international multilateral institutions guided by the principles of human solidarity,” he said. “It is our view that the hosting of the BRICS Friendship Cities Forum and the Meeting of Ministers responsible for Disaster Management present a very a rare opportunity for our city to market itself, its value proposition, its aesthetic beauty and the overall hospitality of its people.” “We are presented with an opportunity to showcase our businesses and the potential of our economy as a City and as a province,” added Pakati. Adding to that Head of Executive Support Services Ncumisa Sidukwana said, “the forum aimed at promoting exchanges and cooperation at the local and reginal level among the BRICS countries.” “One of the key concepts in the BRICS partnerships is the cooperation in disaster management which is a key element of building peace and prosperity which was discovered in April 2016,” she said. The BRICS forum was held at the East London Golf Course on Wednesday 4 April. Related 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 Smart Meter Technology This process will kick off with the industrial and commercial sections as the first phase and later in the project the domestic billing will kick off as phase two. This project includes the electricity meter audit, changing the old meters to the new smart meters. “We have picked up that many businesses in this City, in fact over 100, are using old meter systems that are outdated and ultimately cost their bottom line,” Ngwenya. The City is aiming at replacing at least 200 industrial and commercial sites as part of the pilot phase to be implemented in the 2017/ 2018 financial year. Thereafter the program will be rolled out to the masses. This is a transversal contact (RT 15/2016) done by BCMM and is supported by the National Treasury. Th primary benefits of the project for the consumer includes accurate billing, better monitoring of electricity consumption through a Mobile App and completeness of monthly billing. A Mobile App (SmartWire) has been developed for consumers to monitor their electricity consumption. The App gives the consumer to view their electricity consumption in a 30-minute interval. In the later stage the City will have a USSD for easy access to consumers with queries. The City also has a control room (Intelligence Operating Centre) which is situated at the Munnifin building 3rd floor to deal with the roll out and implementation. At least R59 000 will be spent in changing the old meters to the new smart system in the first phase. For more information on the kindly email the Project Manager Office on Smart_Metering_Query@buffalocity.gov.za “We are tightening the screws and ensuring that the City is innovative, connected and productive in its approach to service delivery. In October we introduced an advanced prepaid vending system which enabled people to buy electricity in the luxury of their comfort and increased many vending areas. “Now this platform is meant to supplement that and all these efforts that we are putting together to enable people to monitor their consumption, budget properly and ultimately be able to pay for services easily,” Ngwenya. 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. Buffalo City to host Proteas and Chippa matches So much so that as a City, we are not only predicting victories for both teams but also a full capacity crowds to live up to our reputation as South Africa’s “capital of fun” and a “sports destination of choice”. The Chilli Boys, as the football side is known, are returning to Buffalo City for the first time this season at their hunting ground the Sisa Dukashe Stadium following their win against Kaizer Chiefs in the Premiers Cup in August. Chippa will be hosting a wounded Cape Town City side who are coming from two defeats. Elsewhere in the City, the high flying Proteas will be hosting Bangladesh at the Buffalo Park Stadium on Sunday at 10 am. The Proteas lead the ODI series by two nil after winning their first game by 10 wickets and the second game by 104 runs. The Buffalo City local organising committee has indicated that the City is ready and it is all systems go for the weekend games. The LOC has been sitting with other safety organs of state planning to deliver incident free events that are of international standard. Our security clusters include our disaster, traffic and law enforcement and these have submitted their plans and necessary certificates which have been approved. For the Chippa, game tickets are still available at Ticketpro for R40 adults and R20 for children. We advise people that do not have tickets not come close to the stadium precinct as security will be on high alert and we warn perpetrators who are dealing with counterfeit tickets that they will face the full might of the law. The Sisa Dukashe Stadium will open at 12h30 and with curtain raiser matches. The Chippa/CT City game will kick-off at 15h30. For the Proteas game, Tickets for the Proteas game are available through Ticketpro and at the Buffalo Park ticket office with cost raging from R80 to R350.Road closure for Proteas and Bangladesh. Road Closures: Proteas Game • Buffalo Park Drive at Commercial Road • Buffalo Park Drive at John Baillie Road • Buffalo Park Drive at the Entrance to the Old Craven park • Buffalo Park Drive at the Main Gate Lane Closure • John Baillie Road will be converted into a one-way Traffic from Buffalo Park Drive towards Link Road. Alternative Parking will be made available at Commercial Road and Buffalo Park Drive (close to Fitzpatrick Road) Chippa game Streets in and around NU 2 Mdantsane and general parking will be available at the Orlando stadium. New CCTV cameras to curb crime in the City Speaking at the event Pakati said, “Public safety is one of the priorities we have identified. We are launching CCTV cameras that will monitor our CBD, the Esplanade as well as Duncan Village at this point, but we are working to ensure that cameras in other areas are working as well.” “Working together with the South African Police Services (SAPS), this is one of the initiatives that are meant to curb crime in the city, in particular the CBD,” he said. The City officials together with the Executive Mayor took a walkabout to the CCTV cameras Control Room and was shown how the cameras operate at the control room at the Fire Station. The cameras which were at a cost of R1.8 million were installed and were instrumental in curbing crimes around the beachfront Esplanade area during the festive season. “We as the municipality are determined to work with everyone involved in the fight against crime in our Metro. Our quest is to ensure that we have CCTV that are monitoring everything that is going on in the city working together with the SAPS with the intention of identifying those who break the law,” he added. “We want a City free of crime, people must be able to walk about freely without the worry of getting robbed. As we are unable to have a police officer on every street, this technology will assist us in monitoring our city and identify criminals.” Welcoming the new officers, Pakati said, “We are proud to welcome the new law enforcement officers to the Metro. I am certain that you will hold up the law to the best of your ability.” According to Pakati the new officers will help in keeping the City safe as well as protecting the laws. “As we celebrate youth month, may these young men and women be a good example to our youth that through hard work and determination one can achieve their goals.” The day ended with another walkabout to the newly revamped car pound in Gonubie. The pound is used to keep abandoned vehicles and was renovated by fencing, electrication of the fence, security lights at a cost of R280 000. 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 Comments are closed.