How is the new municipality structured?
The Constitution of 1996 requires that a municipality "must structure and manage its administration and budgeting and planning processes to give priority to the basic needs of the community, and to promote the social and economic development of the community".
The boundaries of the newly established municipality now include a large area characterised by very different features. Two former municipalities (Transistional Local Councils) - that of East London and King William's Town - have merged into one, and also other areas, which previously were not included in either of them, are now part of Buffalo City.
Buffalo City Municipality is in the Amatole District of the Eastern Province.
The administrative structure is being gradually defined, and new functions and roles are being identified and allocated.
The Buffalo City Municipal Council is the ultimate political decision-making body of the municipality. Ward councillors are the major link between the municipal government and the residents. The Executive Mayor of Buffalo City takes overall strategic and political responsibility for the city, while the Municipal Manager heads the city's administration. The heads of departments and officials are responsible for physically implementing policy.
So who does all the work?
The municipality is led by an Executive Mayor, Zukiswa Ncitha. The mayor takes overall strategic and political responsibility for the city. There are 100 councillors with 50 being ward councillors and 50 being proportional representation councillors. The ANC has a strong majority followed by the Democratic Alliance. Another four parties also have elected representatives on the council (PAC, ACDP, COPE and AIC). The Municipal Manager heads Buffalo City's administration and provides the link between the political and administrative arms of city government. The administration has just over 5 000 employees divided into the Executive Mayoral Office, Municipal Manager's Office and five directorates - Financial Services, Engineering Services, Corporate Services, Planning and Economic Development and Social Services.
What is the city's vision?
To be a people-centred place of opportunity where the basic needs of all are met in a safe, healthy and sustainable environment.
What are the main challenges faced by the municipality?
A central challenge of most municipality's created in December 2000 has been to complete the restructuring process flowing from merging a number of formerly separate municipalities. Buffalo City Municipality has been working on creating a new, appropriate structure.
There are high levels of unemployment and poverty Buffalo City. About 71% of the municipal population earns less than the household subsistence level (R1 500 a month). Poverty alleviation and job creation are both central issues for the municipality.
Aids is set to provide government and civil society with its greatest challenge to date. Eastern Cape statistics show that 20,2% of pregnant women in the province were positive in the 11th annual survey. Of these, the largest percentage (32,4%) was in the 20 to 24-year age group. In the geographical area into which Buffalo City falls, 16% of pregnant women were found to be HIV-positive.
What is the municipality doing to meet its vision?
Buffalo City Municipality has established some important foundations in regard to vision and strategy. A clear and comprehensive Integrated Development Plan has been produced. This outlines the strategy for the city and was developed through extensive consultation with key stakeholders, especially the residents of Buffalo City.
What is an Integrated Development Plan?
The Municipal Systems Act defines an IDP as "a single, inclusive and strategic plan for the development of the municipality". This document is a tool that will enable the municipality to achieve its constitutional objectives. These are:
- To provide democratic and accountable government for local authorities.
- To ensure the provision of services to communities in a sustainable manner.
- To promote social and economic development.
- To promote a safe and healthy environment.
- To encourage community participation in local government matters.
The IDP is seen as a management tool for the city administration as well as a tool for the development of partnerships and strategic alliances on different levels.
Click here to download a copy of the Integrated Development Plan
What is the municipality doing to stimulate economic development?
Municipalities are regarded as vehicles for local economic development, suggesting that they should aim to create a climate conducive to investment and economic growth. Buffalo City has important growth and development opportunities. A number of major projects are in the pipeline, including an Industrial Development Zone
. Tourism has considerable potential for growth. The municipality has recognised its important economic development role and has established a local economic development unit. There is a strong focus on securing foreign investment, creating international partnerships and twinning relationships (including relationships with SIDA, the Dutch and the use of other international experts).
Buffalo City Municipality also actively builds its relationships with the business community and major economic role-players. The establishment of a Business Forum provides a useful platform for engaging the private sector and building a strategic city development partnership. The mayor and deputy mayor hold regular meetings and other interactions with key stakeholders such as Daimler Chrysler.
Read more about the municipality's plans for economic development and job creation.
What is Buffalo City's relationship with other cities in the region?
Buffalo City Municipality has strong relationships with neighbouring cities, and has come far along the road in identifying and developing common interests and needs. It is involved with the Nelson Mandela Metropole and the Cacada and Amatole district municipalities through the Coastal Mayor's Forum. These relationships allow the municipality to play a useful co-ordinating and strategic role for the Eastern Cape.
What is the state of the city's finances?
The council has managed to achieve significant financial turnaround since its implementation. The overdraft has been reduced and the trend of increasing arrears has been arrested. Fiscal discipline has also been evident and there is a strong emphasis on training councillors in financial management. A functioning audit committee and sound financial management controls are in place. The municipality has a zero-tolerance approach to fraud and corruption.
Buffalo City Municipality also has strong financial management planning in place and it has an innovative approach to linking planning to the budget.
Read more about the Internal Audit Department