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eThekwini Municipality > City Government > Council > City Mayor > Blog
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!

June 15
Durban an investor friendly city

AN INVESTOR roadshow to the United Kingdom which was led by myself together with the MEC of Finance Belinda Scott was a resounding success. The roadshow aimed to attract investment to the City through 65 business to business meetings held during our time there, from 4 to 8 June. There was no time for sightseeing as there was business on hand that we had to attend to. I must point out that while initially 25 business to business meetings were scheduled, this was increased by 40 additional meetings to 65 just to meet the demand.

It is also important to note that we were accompanied by over 45 executives from both business and government. It was the largest combined regional delegation to ever embark on a global investment roadshow to attract new investment for the City and province. The aim of the roadshow was to promote local projects which are open for investment and exceed R10 billion combined.

I have to thank the Invest Durban team together with our provincial government and businesses for organising this important mission to London. It was a success as we had fruitful engagements which we believe will have positive results for the people of KwaZulu-Natal and eThekwini. I have to make mention of the first State of the City Address where the people’s R45.8 billion budget for the 2018/19 financial year was adopted on 31 May.

The budget process started with consultations with communities and stakeholders including business, civil society and amakhosi. To ensure the budget is allocated wisely, we will be establishing a Priorities Committee who will work hard to ensure that we align our spending priorities with the demands of our people especially on block sums. This committee or team will oversee the budget allocation, community priorities as well as other strategic initiatives. It is important that we deliver on our promises and because we are a City that listens to its people.

As the third sphere of government, service delivery is at the heart of what we do and service delivery projects such as fixing potholes and street lights or cutting grass and maintaining verges must be expedited. We must our budget fully to improve the lives of our people. And finally, June is a very special month as it is commemorated as Youth Month. We successfully launched our Youth Month programme recently which focused on opportunities available for young people in the oceans economy. I encourage the private sector to also invest in the youth through development and job creation as they are the future leaders of our beautiful country.

June 01
Working together to fight crime

IT WAS indeed a sad day for the City when we heard of the tragedy that claimed the life of nine year old Sadia Sukhraj in Shallcross recently. I wish to categorically condemn the recent incidents of violence in the City that continues to affect us all as residents and as the leadership of the City.

The killing of innocent Sadia on her way to school during a botched hijacking is a sign that extraordinary steps are required from law-enforcement agencies to deal with crime. We hope the police will arrest those involved in the hijacking. I also call for peace and stability in Chatsworth and Shallcross. I understand that it is a very difficult and emotional time for Sadia’s family and the community but we have to let calm heads prevail and give the police room to do their work.

We observed a moment of silence in Sadia’s honour at an Executive Committee meeting on 29 May. May her soul rest in peace. Last week we also lost a leader from Abahlali BaseMjondolo who was killed in front of his house in Mariannhill. We wish these families strength during this difficult period. We also pray for families of councillors and political activists from the NFP, IFP and ANC who lost their lives. We send our deepest condolences to their loved ones.

Simply condemning these killings isn’t enough. We need to all work together to fight crime. Fighting crime is not the responsibility of law enforcement agencies alone, we all need to play our role. Let peace prevail in our beautiful City. Meanwhile, it is important to note three momentous events that took place in our City recently. The three-day Inner and Outer West Regional Business Fair, held at the Hammarsdale Junction Mall was a resounding success and saw 14 470 visitors come out to support the over 100 exhibitors.

This displays our commitment to economically empowering our people. The Youth Employability Indaba and Career Expo received wonderful publicity and was attended by over 18 000 young people and about 100 exhibitors from government, public institutions as well as the private sector. Finally, we hosted the African Renaissance Festival which was graced by President Cyril Ramaphosa. The African agenda has a special place in our hearts as the people of this City.

We also wish to thank our Premier Willies Mchunu, MEC of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Sihle Zikalala, former Premier Sibusiso Ndebele as well as Deputy Mayor Fawzia Peer who attended the event. We are all called upon to work together and unite Africa.

May 21
Let peace prevail in the City

I CONDEMN the threats made against foreign shop owners trading in the Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu (INK) areas in the strongest terms. While we, as the City, are cognisant of the challenges facing local shop owners in the INK area, violence is never the solution. EThekwini Municipality is working tirelessly through my Office with other spheres of government to holistically deal with the issue.

This includes dealing with threats of violence as well as exploring solutions to the problems faced by South African shop owners. However, I must reiterate that violence will not be tolerated and will be dealt with effectively by law enforcement agencies. I condemn the inflammatory remarks reportedly made by a business forum in the north of the City. This follows a letter that has been circulated to foreign nationals ordering them to stop trading and to leave the area by 18 May.

My Office earlier this week received a letter supposedly from the Northern Region Business Association business forum which called for foreign nationals to stop trading. We, as the City, will not tolerate acts of incitement or intimidation of any kind. I wish to reassure residents of eThekwini and foreign nationals living in the City that Municipal leadership is working with provincial government and security agencies. We are aware of the threats being circulated and do not wish to see a repeat of the brutal attacks perpetuated against foreign nationals which occurred in previous years. Since those attacks the City has had ongoing dialogues with foreign nationals and local businesses.

These engagements were held through business forums and we also used community level war rooms to identify challenges that might arise. I appeal for peace and calm during this time. Violence and disruption is never the solution to any problem we may face. An emergency meeting was called by provincial government this recently which after robust engagement from all principals present plotted the way forward to ensure that peace will be maintained in the City.

May 03
We owe it to Madiba

Election Day, 27 April 1994, the day that gave us freedom!  I still remember this day like it was yesterday. I remember very well standing in a queue with thousands of South Africans who were waiting enthusiastically to cast their vote in the first democratic elections at Ohlange High School.

This is the same school where Former President Nelson Mandela also cast his first vote. At the time, I was still a member of the Amaoti Civic Organisation and we were not only excited by the fact that we will be casting our vote for the first time but by the fact that we were also in the presence of the great Nelson Mandela.

Whenever we celebrate this day as we celebrate this day, it is important that we remind each other that the Vote was never free. It is because of people like Nelson Mandela who believed that the cornerstone of a free and democratic and society was: one person one vote. Fellow citizens Durbanite lest we forget it is equally important therefore that we don’t take this freedom for granted or forget the depth of sacrifice of the likes of Mandela.

This year marks the centenary of Mandela.  Remember his legacy and be the legacy. The centenary aims to promote Madiba’s ethos of Ubuntu by advancing our collective unity, irrespective of race, creed, and orientation. This is an opportunity to recommit ourselves to his principles and building the nation we envisioned at the start of our democracy. The centenary will be marked with a year-long series of awareness, educational, celebratory and legacy commemoration events.

It will build up to main centenary celebration on the 18 July 2018 which is former President Nelson Mandela’s birthday. Nelson Mandela’s courage and commitment to our freedom should inspire us to serve our people with a sense of accountability, dignity and humility. This should serve as a reminder that   as public servants we must always be committed to the principles of Batho Pele (People’s First) and as we are building towards our vision of being the most caring and liveable City in Africa, this should inspire us to go an extra mile for our ratepayers.  We owe it to Madiba to provide quality service delivery and good customer care at all times.

We owe it to Madiba to honour his legacy and walk in his footsteps to build our rainbow nation. Long live the legacy of Madiba.

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