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Welcome to eThekwini Mayors Blog. Read all about what is on your Mayor's mind.
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eThekwini Municipality > City Government > Council > City Mayor > Blog
November 01
Let’s celebrate our great transport strides

WITHOUT any fear of contradiction, I am of the conviction that eThekwini Municipality closed Transport Month with a bang. This follows the launch of the first direct flight from London to Durban and the official opening of the award winning Mt Edgecombe Interchange. We should pat ourselves on the back because our hard work has paid handsome dividends. With these milestones, our City will continue to be a force to be reckoned with, not only in the country, but in the world.

It has been a difficult five years driving on the N2 whether going to the airport or up north because of traffic congestion that was caused largely by construction of the interchange. Some of us use to reserve an hour for a 30 minutes trip to the airport when coming from the inner city during peak hours. It was not good news at all for among others the freight industry that unceasingly endured delays because of traffic congestion. Well, the truth is, it was worthwhile because from now onwards, there is going to be an incredible smooth flow of traffic.

There are many reasons that resulted to this massive construction. Two of them being the unprecedented expansion of Umhlanga and LA Lucia Ridge and the anticipated increase in the volume of traffic as a result of the Cornubia development. There are huge economic spin offs underway taking into cognisance that the N2 links among others the Durban Port and the Richards
Bay Industrial Development Zone. This is a clear indication that it is of cardinal importance for any country to develop infrastructure in order to stimulate economic growth.

Big business is definitely going to save a lot of money, which should be invested into the economy to create job opportunities our people so desperately need. I would like to thank SANRAL, national and provincial Departments of Transport, officials of our municipality and unsung heroes, the ordinary workers that have been working there. The interchange is one of the biggest ever built in the country, and has definitely changed the landscape of eThekwini.

Before the opening of the interchange, we welcomed the first direct aircraft from Heathrow Airport in London to King Shaka. British Airways will begin flying directly into Durban three times weekly. This is going to boost business and leisure.

Despite these good news, it would be amiss of me not to express my gratitude to two councillors that are no longer with us whom we laid to rest recently. They are Councillor Sibusiso Maphumulo Councillor Nkosiphendule Dlamini. May God be with their families in this time of grief and we wish their souls to rest in peace.

October 18
We are hard at work

IF THERE is one thing that our city is famous for worldwide, is unrivalled hospitality. We have vowed that on the latter we are not going to compromise. EThekwini is pulling all the stops to ensure that at all times it is head and shoulders above the rest.

We are extremely happy because it is paying handsome dividends every year. We are elated following the awards that we have been honoured with recently. On the 6th of October 2018, we snatched four awards at the World Travel Awards held at our iconic Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC). Officially opened by former President Nelson Mandela in 1997 this facility is no stranger to hosting these awards. Principal among them was the “Africa’s Leading Meetings and Conference Centre’’.

This year we have won it for the 17th time and it is a pinnacle of travel and tourism. The process for a conference centre to be a winner is very transparent. Travel professionals vote for a leading meeting and conference centre in the world. They have been here and they felt how warm we are, hence they voted overwhelmingly for us. As if that was enough, our city also went home with the Africa’s Leading City Destination 2018; Africa’s Leading Cruise Port 2018 and Africa’s Leading Meetings and Conference Destination 2018.

Again we have towered above Johannesburg and Cape Town. Durban ICC’s CEO Lindiwe Rakharebe whom I am proud of, vowed that under her leadership the ICC throughout the year will be constantly teeming with delegates attending different conferences. We will do so by religiously meeting their needs. It would be amiss of me if I do not say kudos to our unsung heroes, the staff who are indispensable for the ICC to be showered with such recognition. On the 12th of October 2018 we walked away with two EPWP awards at the Kamoso Awards held at the ICC. We are proud that our EPWP programme is home to 15000 of our people who had no source of income. It is not for the first time that we made our presence felt at these awards through EPWP as we did not walk empty handed last year.

With this programme, I am grateful that indeed we have changed lives by aggressively breaking the cycle of poverty in many families. Let me conclude by calling up on all our workers benefitting currently from this programme to value the rare opportunity they have been given to make a living. I must stress that EPWP job opportunities are temporal and the policy is clear on that they are not a ticket to permanent employment. I am therefore appealing to them to refrain from embarking on illegal industrial action that usually impact to service delivery more especially when it comes to refuse removal.

October 04
Let us work together to reduce crime

OUR City is still faced with high crime statistics, especially violence directed to women and children. The number of recent cases reported at Umkomaas South African Police Services in Ward 99 are unsettling and call for urgent action.

As eThekwini’s first citizen, I encourage fellow residents to report crime within 48 hours without fear or favour. This will increase chances of police to apprehend with speed perpetrators of violence. I was left highly devastated when a Thornwood family was allegedly massacred recently by a relative who is suspected to be a drug addict. While we acknowledge the drug addiction problem, no amount of excuse will ever justify murder, violence and crime.

No one has a right to make excuses for criminals. Criminals must be reported even if they’re members of our families. We also condemn the Dros Restaurant incident in Silverton, where a 20-year-old male allegedly raped a six-year-old girl in the toilet. Such brutal and heartless behavior doesn’t belong in our societies. That is why I urge everyone to report any form of violence and crime immediately. We, as eThekwini Municipality urge Thuthuzela Centres, which are one stop facilities introduced as part of an anti-rape strategy led by the Nation Prosecuting Authority to speedily address cases of rape against children.

As part of our plans to further prevent crime in the City, we will increase police visibility through active community forums and neighborhood watch. It is critical for everyone to know their neighbours in cases of emergency hence the City supports the “Molo Makhelwane” initiative by African National Congress Women’s League. Let’s all actively educate our children about violence so that they are always alert and careful. Lastly, I would like to discourage any form of violence, including violent service delivery protests and union strikes that end-up destroying critical infrastructure.

Let us all remember that violence destroys the fiber of society. We even discourage vigilantism which results in deaths. Taking law into your own hands is crime on its own. Let us therefore abide by the law, and report criminals to police. I must convey my gratitude to all public and private stakeholders who work tirelessly towards decreasing crime statistics. These includes councillors, ward leadership, SAPS, traditional leaders and communities. Let’s all continue to work hard until we live in a crime and violence-free City. Anything is possible if we work together. 

September 21
Working together to keep Durban green

AS THE Vice-President of C40 Africa I recently delivered an address at the Global Climate Change Action Summit in San Francisco in the United States of America. It was a wonderful opportunity to highlight the wonderful work we are doing in eThekwini.

It was pleasing to inform those in attendance that 2018 has been declared as the year of former President Nelson Mandela who would have turned 100 this year. He is a world icon who fought for our freedom from apartheid colonialism. And while we are now free from oppression we are still faced with the lasting effects from the apartheid regime. The oppressive apartheid regime excluded majority of citizens from having meaningful participation on the economic and political direction of our country.

To counter the remnants of this exclusion, which is still evident today, we have adopted the Radical Economic Transformation Policy. I was able to tell those present at the Summit that South Africa, and indeed eThekwini Municipality, are swiftly moving towards the phase of economic freedom. This simply means the sharing of economic opportunities, creating job opportunities and fighting poverty.

A key area of my address that I shared at the Global Climate Change Action Summit was the greening of a number of historically marginalised communities in the City. Durban has been nationally recognised by government for being the greenest city. We have also received another award for urban greening. Most recently the City emerged victorious at the Arbor City Awards 2018 in the Metropolitan Municipality Category. The awards are hosted in partnership by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Total South Africa and the Institute for Environment and Recreation Management.

The Awards aim to encourage municipalities to green their areas of jurisdiction and promote environmental conservation and development while also creating awareness of the importance of green landscapes. The language of climate change is not only limited to boardrooms and science labs. We as a City are focusing on educating the youth, the royal house leadership and civil society at large about the impact of climate change. Our radical approach will in no way leave the poor communities behind. They are very much a part of our greening journey as we endeavour to ensure that climate change programmes improve the environment for the poor.

There is great potential for green jobs in our green economy space. Our radical approach in this regard is guided by policies and principles of Madiba. I urge eThekwini residents to play their role and do their part to mitigate the effects of climate change. Adopt the Thuma Mina ethos regarding keeping Durban green because together we can truly do more.

September 07
Finding solutions to climate change challenges

​THE C40 Vice President for Africawhich is a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change -it was an honour for the City to welcome the different representatives from the C40 cities.

These representatives included officials from New York City, Boston, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Mexico City and Paris who converged in Durban for the Deadline 2020 Climate Action Planning Pilot Programme with the aim of finding solutions to climate change challenges. Robust and thought provoking discussions were held during the three day long programme, an indication that as prominent cities of the world, we walk this journey together; to find the most realistic solutions for our cities.

I’ve repeatedly said that climate change, sustainable urban development and addressing issues affecting less privileged and vulnerable people are at the top of my priority list. To further reaffirm our commitment towards devising best solutions for climate change challenges, the City will be participating in the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit which will be hosted in San Francisco later this month.

In my capacity as the Vice President of C40, I will be attending this summit with a team of environmental delegates. This summit will bring people from around the world who will showcase climate action plans and inspire deeper commitments in support of the Paris Agreement. We have previously stated during the 2016 Local Government Elections Manifesto that we will continue to strengthen our plans that are aimed at reducing the negative impacts of changing environmental conditions and taking advantage of new opportunities that may be presented. We were last year October hard-hit by storms, which left a trail of destruction. These storms once again reminded us that issues of climate change are pivotal and more pressing to us as a coastal city.

Climate change has a greater impact on residents that are most reliant on natural resources for their livelihoods and/or who have the least capacity to respond to natural hazards, such as droughts, landslides, floods and hurricanes. We are also delighted that we will be hosting the ITU Telecom World 2018 between 10 and 13 October. This conference will be coming to our African shores for the very first time and will be hosted by the Department of Telecommunications and Post.

I would like to urge all of us as eThekwini resident to welcome the delegates and visitors who will in Durban. We must treat them well and give them the warmest welcome. We are looking forward to a successful gathering.

August 23
Women are capable and strong

AS THE month of August draws to an end and the curtain is closed on Women’s Month, I urge you to continue to have discussions around challenges facing women and young girls. The issues that have been highlighted this month have not and will not be resolved overnight. We need continued awareness and dialogue around issues of femicide, rape, domestic abuse and inequality among others to ensure that we as a nation actively work towards improving the lives of women.

As the first female mayor in eThekwini I believe it is pertinent to continue to raise awareness around these issues. An example we can all learn from both as women and men is that of a young liberation solider, Phila Ndwandwe who was also known as Zandile or Zandi. She was part of the Natal Machinery of Umkhonto we Sizwe operating from Swaziland. “Brave. Very, very brave,” are the words used to describe Ndwandwe by one of the men who murdered her.

She was a dental therapy student when she was recruited by the ANC in 1985 and was living in exile Swaziland when apartheid police abducted her in 1988. They hoped that she would be an informer.

This young woman had just given birth to her first son and was breastfeeding him when she was kidnapped. She was stripped naked and beaten repeatedly. She made a pair of panties for herself out of a plastic bag. But despite the intense brutality she endured, as one of her killers later told the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), she simply refused to talk. Unable to turn her, it was decided that she would be killed. And blindfolded and naked she was hit over the head and then shot while unconscious. She was buried naked and her body covered with lime and a plastic sheet.

Her body was discovered after her killers disclosed what they had done to the TRC and received amnesty. Her parents were left broken by the realisation that they had been living 10 kilometers from where their child was buried. Ndwandwe’s son, at the age of nine, attended the funeral of a mother he had never known. She was an extraordinary human being. Today, an artwork hangs on the walls of the Constitutional Court depicting a beautiful blue dress, made of plastic, floating. It is a bitterly painful tribute to Phila Ndwandwe, who spent her last days naked and battered yet unbroken.

She was 23 years old when she was murdered and remains an inspiration to many young women. She is a true testament that women are capable and strong. Let us all be inspired by her strength.

August 13
Speak out against gender-based violence

​I WAS devastated to learn that a young university student recently committed suicide after being raped earlier this year. This has yet again cast the spotlight on gender-based violence which is plaguing our nation.

As the nation mourns the loss of a young life with so much potential, it has firmly thrust the somewhat “taboo” topic of gender-based violence into focal point. August is a special month as we commemorate and celebrate women during Women’s Month. I am fully aware that much work needs to be done for equality to be achieved in society.

Women have a voice and they are using it, which was aptly demonstrated by the Women’s March held on 1 August in the City. I was among the women who took a stand saying “Enough is enough”. This is a significant time for all women to reflect on and celebrate the great gains brought about bydemocracy. I urge you to use this month to mobilise society and build partnerships to decisively address key issues facing women and girls, particularly gender-based violence, women’s economic empowerment, access to land, harmful practices and other sectorial issues in the context of the National Development Plan. It is befitting to mention an award that I received earlier this month as it is important as women to celebrate each other’s successes.

I am grateful for the award bestowed on me at the Rising Sun Women’s Award Breakfast as the Mayor of eThekwini Municipality as well as the patron of the Mama Zandile Gumede Foundation. It is indeed a great honour and I am humbled by the recognition. It was an unexpected yet welcome surprise to be honoured by local community media. It is heartening to see that people are cognisant of the wonderful work we are doing in the City.

Also, to the Rising Sun publishers, I salute you for honouring women in the various other categories at the awards. Too often, despite the wonderful work women are doing, society continues to write about men. In cases where women have broken the glass ceiling, they are found to be working twice as hard to consistently “exceed performance expectations” in male dominated industries. This must change. We have seem so many women influence society and play a hand in achieving the democracy we all enjoy today. We have the likes of Mama Winnie Mandela, Albertina Sisulu, Lilian Ngoyi, Fatima Meer, Dorothy Nyembe, Phyllis Naidoo and many others to thank for this. So I urge you, let us continue to honour and support all women this month and every month going forward.

July 26
Mandela Day outreach a success in eThekwini

JULY is a very significant month in South Africa. This year was particularly poignant as the nation joined by the rest of the world commemorated what would have been the 100th birthday celebration of late former President Nelson Mandela on 18 July. In his honour and memory, every citizen is asked to dedicate 67 minutes on his birthday by paying it forward.

In Tata Madiba’s own words he said: “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” This ethos was proudly displayed in eThekwini and I would like to thank councillors, Municipal employees and eThekwini residents for the various initiatives they were involved in on Mandela Day.

This year we made sure that all 110 wards in the City had an outreach programme. I had the opportunity to visit the primary school I attended in Amaoti many years ago. It was a wonderful opportunity to give back to a school that helped make me the person I am today. The focus of the City’s various outreach programmes was on the homeless as part of our inner city regeneration plan which seeks to ensure that our public spaces are safe and habitable. We cleaned and painted together and also found time for some lighter moments during our Mandela Day programmes.

There was even an informal netball and soccer match between boys and girls living on the street and a Metro Police team. Part of our efforts also saw all government mobile services made available to the homeless including a hair salon service to pamper and treat them. I thank everyone for their efforts including Executive Committee members as well as MEC of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube. We will be dedicating the month of August to Mama Albertina Sisulu under the theme: “100 Years of Albertina Sisulu: Women United in Moving South Africa Forward”. There will be City wide celebrations dedicated to Mama Sisulu as well to acknowledge and address the struggle women still face today. August is Women’s Month and there are a number of activities planned in the City.

These events will mobilise society and build partnerships to decisively address key issues facing women and young girls particularly gender-based violence, women’s economic empowerment, access to land, harmful practices and other sectorial issues in the context of the National Development Plan. There are only a few months left until the end of the year. I encourage all Municipal officials to continue to work hard and expedite service delivery to ensure that we meet the goals we laid out as the City at the beginning of the year.

July 12
Inner City rejuvenation strategy reaps rewards

THE inner city is an economic hub and is vital to the growth of the City. It is also imperative to have a robust and clean inner city to enable us to continue to attract investment to eThekwini. It is for this reason that I was saddened to hear of the threats and acts of intimidation against Municipal workers who are transforming the inner city into a space for all to enjoy and feel safe.

I strongly condemn these threats. I have learnt that our employees, involved in the inner city enforcement and clean-up operation, are being harassed by illegal traders. I was even more surprised when I found out that some of these officials were mugged by criminals in the City. Their two-way radios, which were being used to communicate with each other, were stolen. The tally of stolen radios amounts to 10.

The City is in the implementation phase of the Inner City Regeneration Strategy, which seeks to deal decisively with all illegal elements and revitalise economic activities in the inner city. This operation will ensure that the City is clean while addressing crime and grime. Out of this process we will be able to attain business confidence in the Central Business District (CBD) and thereby attract further investment to the City which will result in more jobs and economic growth. Therefore, those who oppose the City clean-up operation are disrupting a long term job creation project.

I have said this repeatedly and will say it again, we are a caring City and as the City leadership we are prepared to listen to legitimate grievances. But at the same time, I must make this very clear, we will not tolerate lawlessness. Months of combined operations and enforcement to rejuvenate the CBD area is beginning to take shape. There are dedicated teams from the various Municipal units out on the streets every day showing their commitment to creating a City that all residents can be proud of.

Their efforts are to create a clean and safe City for the public to live and work in. This ongoing operation tackles illegal trading, illegal businesses, illegal dumping and other by-law contraventions using a multidisciplinary approach involving numerous departments within the City. The ultimate aim of the project is to deter illegal activity from occurring and bringing law and order back to the public realm.

But we cannot achieve this alone and therefore call on residents, traders and businesses to comply with City by-laws. We are working hard to ensure that the 2030 vision of being Africa’s most caring and liveable City becomes a reality. I urge you to work with us to achieve this goal.

July 03
Celebrating the 63rd Anniversary of the Freedom Charter

THIS year marks 63 years since the adoption of the Freedom Charter which serves as a roadmap to South Africa and was envisioned by those who lived, loved and died for freedom.

The 25th and 26th of June 1955 was the culmination of a campaign that saw volunteers, including the likes of former late President Nelson Mandela and the late Albertina Sisulu, covering the length and breadth of the country to collect the demands of the people.

The volunteers travelled to farms and mine compounds, to reserves, villages and townships to gather the views and demands of all South Africans. These demands were collected on scraps of paper and eventually consolidated into a document presented to the people.

When Inkosi Albert Luthuli described the event he said: “It will be the first time in the history of our multi-racial nation that its people from all walks of life, will meet as equals, irrespective of race, colour and creed, to formulate a Freedom Charter for all people in the country.” The Freedom Charter was discussed and adopted at Kliptown by over three thousand delegates which included amongst their ranks, according to SA History Online, “workers, peasants, intellectuals, women, youth and students of all races and colours.”

This document is internationally recognised. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has declared two of the original copies of the Freedom Charter from 1955 as part of the heritage of all humanity. We have reason to continue to sing about the Freedom Charter because “emazweni bakhala ngayo” – the nations of the world recognise and respect this document.

As the City, we will continue to be guided by the demands of the people which are outlined in the Freedom Charter. These demands were used in the drafting of the Constitution that was adopted in 1996.

This is one of the reasons that I remain committed to ensuring that demands made by our people during public hearings and meetings will be acceded to. We use these platforms as well as other community structures in the City to hear first-hand the concerns of our people so we can respond accordingly. When you the people speak, we as the City leadership will listen.

Service delivery and the improvement of the lives of all residents, especially the poor, will continue to be a priority for us. To this end we will be establishing a Prioritisation Committee to ensure concerns are heard and resolved. This is in the true spirit of the Freedom Charter when it says that the “People Shall Govern.” Indeed they shall!

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