City works towards metro status
By Tabisa Mntengwana
27 October 2009
IN its efforts to shape and centralise its wards on the path to becoming a metro, the City consulted with its councillors at a special workshop last week. Part of its plan is also to involve residents through an interactive public participation process.
Vuyo Zambodla, the City’s director for executive support services, gave the councillors an overview of the municipality’s plan and objectives at the workshop, held at Latimer’s Landing in Westbank on Thursday, 22 October.
“We want to ultimately achieve consensus,” he said. “Wards in the city will be clustered in an equal manner that will encourage easy consultations between councillors and residents.”
A metropolitan city has a common property rating and service tariff and also a single metropolitan budget. The municipality may also decentralise powers and its functions when it becomes a metro.
In metropolitan areas there is also a choice of two types of executive systems; in one, the executive authority is given to the mayor and in the other, collective executive powers are given to the executive committee.
The main objective of the workshop was to educate councillors about the delimitation of wards while the City received metropolitan status. They learned about the division of wards, demarcation of areas and the importance of gaining metro status.
Zambodla added that the process was set to encourage service delivery and enhance the City’s plan to become a metro.
In 2008, the Municipal Demarcation Board confirmed that Buffalo City would become a metro in 2011. The board’s main function is to determine municipal boundaries in accordance with legislation and to advise municipalities on demarcation matters.
Zambodla confirmed that the City was working tirelessly to meet the requirements for Buffalo City to become a metro. These included service delivery and economic growth. “We are also looking at the fact that there will be a few areas that will be incorporated into the municipality in order for us to be a metro.”
The chief executive officer of the board, Hillary Monare, confirmed that in order for a city to become a metro, population was also a consideration. The board was impressed with the municipality’s commitment during phase one of the process, which was the preparations for the workshop.
“We can see now you are ready for the second phase, which is consultation with the communities,” Monare said.
The board has proposed that Buffalo City has 100 councillors by 2011. “[It] now has 90 councillors,” said Zambodla.
Also commenting on the purpose of the day, the portfolio head for local economic development, Sithembiso Tyilo, said it was to prepare councillors so that they knew what needed to be done during the process and in consulting with residents.