8 February Great plans between Gävle and the Metro February 8, 2016 By Tabisa Mntengwana Latest News 0 The 15 year sister city twinning ties has created political support, mutual respect and commitment between the two cities – Buffalo City Metro and the City of Gävle. 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. Related Metro rehabilitates Roundhill Major upgrades to rehabilitate the site are almost done and they will set the benchmark for waste management in the Metro as the landfill will now be equipped to handle and manage waste efficiently and effectively. The site has been operating while it had a high percentage of non-compliance as a result incidents of smoke and the releasing toxic gases in the air due to uncovered waste frequently happened at the site. Speaking at the landfill site Executive Mayor Alfred Mtsi said, “The implementation and rehabilitation plan of the landfill site marks the beginning of a new journey towards integrated waste management for the City.” Mtsi said waste management is a global issue and that the Metro has set a mandate to deal with waste effectively so that the health and safety of the citizens is not compromised. “Recycling waste and providing environmental protection is our long term vision,” said Mtsi. The Metro is currently drafting a waste management strategy to deal with waste effectively in the City. In dealing with the challenges at Roundhill site, the Metro awarded an emergency tender in August 2014 to Envitech Solutions. The Gauteng based company which has expertise to carry out studies from preliminary investigations through to detailed design and implementation of waste management and disposal systems and Interwaste Environmental Solutions to try and turn the landfill site around. Speaking about the development of the landfill site Technical Engineer for Envitech Solutions Abinash Dookhi said, “The biggest challenge we faced was managing the harmful gas leachate which causes significant threat to ground and surface water.” He also said that when they arrived at the Roundhill landfill site, the site was in a very bad condition and it was not compliant according to the national landfill regulations. “The waste not being covered meant that harmful gases where being released and contaminating the air and the water in the area. Residents were living on the land fill site illegally as well as endangering their own health,” said Dookhi. Dookhi also added a lot of work needed to be done to turn the landfill around but said he was positive that with the assistance of the Metro it could be done. “We had various meetings with the Metro and drafted a detailed plan on how Envitech and Interwaste Solutions were going to turn the landfill site into an engineered landfill site and make it 100 percent compliant,” said Dookhi. It has taken three years to turn Roundhill Landfill site from 30 percent compliant to now 80 percent complaint. This has also opened up employment opportunities for a group of 50 residents who were living at the landfill site earning between R250 and R500 per week. The group were organized into small groups and were equipped with business opportunities of collecting cupboards, plastic bottles, used cans and many more disposals that are being dumped by trucks at the site. The launch was recently launched last week in Berlin. Metro's new City Manager Speaking at the Media Briefing Executive Mayor Xola Pakati said, “Today marks a very significant day in our Metro to announce and introduce to you our new Municipal Manager.” He added that he is a son of the Eastern Cape, born (1964) in Queenstown where he did his early schooling. Sihlahla carries with him wealth of experience in various fields especially in the priority areas of the Metro. “Academically he holds two distinct qualifications from the University of Fort Hare, where he graduated with BJuris and LLB degrees. He is in the process of completing a Masters of Law in Labour Law with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. In terms of his expertise, he has experience directing properties, estates, legal advice and administration at Gauteng’s Ekurhuleni Metro between 2010 and 2014.” Sihlahla was also the Transformation manager for Cogta in Gauteng, where he led the merger between Randfontein and Westonaria. His career in local government also includes being the Municipal Manager of Great Kei Municipality between 2007 and 2009. He has sat in various Boards including the Eastern Cape Development Corporation. In society, he has served in various student and workers leadership positions, as part of his contribution to the broader mass movement. He was a transformation manager for the Gauteng government and a director at the Eastern Cape Development Corporation. “We are indeed privileged to have acquired the man of his calibre and we are looking forward to a productive relationship that will enhance the delivery of services to our people,” said Pakati. Addressing the job opportunity challenges in the City, Sihlahla said that the City is working tirelessly to bridge the gap between the unemployed and the working class. He added that the Office of the Municipal Manager will also look into other challenges facing the City but “we need time to sit down with other stakeholders to mitigate these challenges and work together to make BCM a City to work, play and live in.” 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. Bright future for youth of the Metro An amount of R1.2 million has been allocated to the fund to help learners who come from previously disadvantaged backgrounds. The fund covers tuition fees, stationery, prescribed textbooks, accommodation and meals. The fund is aimed at helping learners who are interested in studying in scarce skills fields including Science, Engineering, Accounting, Agriculture and Information Technology. The selection process strictly look at students who are bona fide residents of Buffalo City who are between the ages of 14 and 35 years and have at least D in English and C in Mathematics and Science. Speaking at the event Executive Mayor Alfred Mtsi said, “We encourage our children to study in these scarce skills fields so as to help develop the Metro’s economy. I am very proud of them as children nowadays do not even want to go to school. It gives us pleasure to see children who work hard and show hunger for education.” Mtsi also encouraged the youngsters to motivate their peers to also study. “BCMM believes that investing in the future is important and that is exactly what we are doing with these children, go out there and make us proud.” He added that the City will benefit from them as the bursaries are for scare skills and the Metro plans to absorb them in their system so that they can give back to the community as well as the economy. Portfolio Head for Special Programmes Unit Ayanda Peter said, “Every year it gives me great pleasure to share this moment with all these children along with their parents. BCMM is determined to give back to the previously disadvantaged. These children are the future Presidents of this country and we are proud to make their dreams come true.” Expressing her gratitude, one of the beneficiaries Thulisa Matyayisi who will be studying towards Bachelor of Development Studies at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, she is also the only female beneficiary for this academic year said, “Today, I want to express my gratitude to BCMM for this opportunity to fulfill my dreams. I intend to grasp and come and plough back to this beautiful Metro to help with its growth.” Speaking on behalf of the parents Nobonke Charles said, “My heart is filled with so much gratitude today, my husband and I were dependent on our grant, we are so grateful to BCMM we did not know how she would go to school.” Adding to that beneficiary Lwazi Mrhangula doing his third year in BCom Accounting at the University of Fort Hare said, “I would like to thank BCMM today they have changed my life without this help I don’t know where I would be or what the future holds for me. I hope someday I will be able to contribute back and be witness that BCMM does care for its people.” Metro unpacks the Festive Season Safety Operations Speaking at the briefing Portfolio Head for Health and Public Safety Amanda Mnyute said, “We had a joint operation from December 30 to January 2, 2017 with the aim to control the crowd during the festive season in all our beaches and other areas of the Metro.” “During this period some of the roads in the beachfront were closed to accommodate the traffic congestion and easy flow of vehicles in the Quigney areas,” she said. Mnyute added that children were lost and that was a major challenge this year for the City. “Over 40 children were lost and later reunited with their parents. Another major challenge was the consumption of alcohol and making open fires in areas that ae not designated for that.” “The number of drunken driving in the Buffalo City has increased from last year to 190 drunk driving incident during this festive season.” Buffalo City Metro Commander for Traffic Services Quinton Chetty said, “The traffic flow showed a great improvement due to the earlier road closures. This was done to create a vehicle free zone and create a safe environment for the pedestrians.” “Areas that were affected by the road closures include Quigney, Beacon Bay, Nahoon and Gonubie,” said Chetty. “The Metro conducted a Joint Operation Centre (JOC) which was situated at the Osner Hotel and was operational on 31 of December 2016 as well as on 1 and 2 of January 2017.” Stakeholders involved in the operation include the South African Police Services (SAPS), Emergency Ambulance Service, Provincial Department of Social Development, BCMM Traffic Department, BCMM Law Enforcement Services and Environmental Health Services. The following statistics recorded during the festive season: Statistics between November 2016 and January 2, 2017 for drunk driving was 119, inconsiderate driving was at 149, those who were held for speeding 7 333, impounds, suspensions and un-roadworthy vehicles were 155. Highest speed recorded in King William’s Town was 112km/h in a 60km/h zone and highest speed in East London was 163km/h in a 90km/h zone. Operation Commander for SAPS East London Cluster Colonel Errol Francis said, “Our operation started from 10 November to 31 January 2017 to prevent crime against people in the Buffalo City area.” “In the morning of December 31 and January 1, we had low levels of crime incidents reported, only five cases were reported, while later on New Year’s Day, 12 crime incidents were reported and on January 2, only four cases were reported,” said Francis. According to the Municipal Report, over 30 lifeguards were employed during the festive season and were operating in all the beaches. “The Metro has 19 fulltime Lifeguards and 39 Seasonal Lifeguards in all the surrounding beaches in the Metro were employed to minimise the number of drownings and swimming incidents.” This festive season saw at least 86 near drowning incidents and four drownings. “We urge people to learn to swim so that when they decide to go swimming during the festive season they are able to do so and limit the drownings,” said Mnyute. 2015 Metro Growth Development Summit The Summit kicked off with a Gala Dinner on Thursday 29 October with Deputy Minister Finance Mcebisi Jonas who encouraged the City to concentrate on the development of the Metro and making it work as part of the 2030 Vision. While Jonas was making his keynote address he spoke on various issues which include ways of eradicating unemployment, poverty and inequality. “We need to find ways to engage with small businesses and encourage them to find better ways in making their businesses bigger and better.” He added that this process will be viable if the Metro works together with its stakeholders including well established businesses. Jonas also added that the East London IDZ is the most successful industrial zone in the country. “Don’t underestimate the work that is happening in the East London IDZ, it is the most successful in the country and its contribution to the Metro’s economy is very visible.” The Summit is a two-day event which will feature speakers ranging from the Minister for Agriculture, Foerestry and Fisheries Senzeni Zokwana, the Acting executive Mayor of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality Kgosientso Ramokgopa, Deputy Minisiter for Finance Mcebisi Jonas and Deputy Minister for Economic Development Madala Masuku. Topics to be discussed range from the conceptualisation and theorasation on the township economy, finance and good governance, the 100 black industrialists, industrial parks and manufacturing set-asides for non-automotive sector. According to a Municipal Report, the Summit aims to create a shared vision and recommendations about the future direction of BCMM towards 2030. “The summit is set to forge an enduring compact with key stakeholders that can facilitate change and future action, while discovering the imperatives for change.” The workshop starts runs from 30 – 31 October. Comments are closed.