Speech by Solly Msimanga Executive Mayor of Tshwane SoCA 2018: After almost two years the capital is in a good state
Note to Editor: This is the speech delivered by the Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Solly Msimanga, at his second State of the Capital Address (SoCA). This address was held at Tshwane House, Pretoria. Please note the hashtag is #TshwaneSoCA2018
Before we get into the business of today I would like to pay tribute to Mama Winnie Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela.
As a community and nation, we mourn the sudden loss of Mama Madikizela-Mandela, a woman of courage and strength, who passed away on 2 April 2018.
Our thoughts and prayers are with her family during this trying time.
We also spare a thought for our own officials who perished in the line of duty. We dip our heads down in memory of the five Soshanguve children who tragically passed away in a light-mast accident in November last year.
We send a message of hope and support to all the affected families and trust that you will find solace knowing they are resting in eternal peace.
Madam Speaker, when we assumed office in partnership with other political parties, there were sectors of the public who said we couldn’t do it.
Yet almost two years on, this government still stands and is making progress in the interest of the people who elected it.
While we may all have had our differences from time to time about the programme of action, I would like to start by thanking all the political parties present today for their contribution to governance in the city: the ACDP, COPE and Freedom Front for their role in the collaborative government; the EFF for the manner in which they have worked with us; and, of course, the ANC as the official opposition.
Without our collective ability to rise above the politics of parties we may not have been able to achieve what we have thus far.
The Council Chamber has been a place of vigorous debate over the last few months, all of which contributes to strengthening governance in the city.
During the 2016 election campaign, we made a promise to turn the City of Tshwane around; and that we would stop corruption, deliver better services and create job and work opportunities for our people. As the DA-led multiparty government we continue to deliver on the promises we made to the city’s residents.
It is a fact that we inherited a cash-strapped city where not enough provision was made to address the service delivery backlog that threatens the dignity of our people, who continue to languish in poor circumstances.
Understanding all these challenges, it was important that we worked smartly with the limited resources at our disposal. That required us to focus our attention on our priorities which are informed by the will of the people who we were elected to serve.
Noting that we have just concluded the commemoration of Human Rights Month, it is important to take stock of the principles that led us to this point in our democracy and remind ourselves of what our responsibility is as functionaries of local government.
Section 152 of the Constitution of the Republic is where local governments, like ours, find expression and intent.
Local governments are charged with the onerous task to:
Provide democratic and accountable government for local communities;
Ensure the provision of services to communities in a sustainable manner;
Promote social and economic development;
Promote a safe and healthy environment; and
Encourage the involvement of communities and community organisations in the matters of local government.
When the new DA-led administration took office in Tshwane in August 2016, we developed three guiding principles that would steer the focus of our work, namely stabilise, revitalise and deliver, each of which we would unroll during the terms of the administration.
Cable Theft and Crime Prevention
In the original conception of this speech it was not my intention to address this matter so early, but I have often found it quite peculiar that while Tshwane is not a major producer of copper, it seems to be one of the largest marketplaces for the sale and trade of copper. Of course the explanation for this is the high precedence of copper theft in the city.
Since we have been hit by another wave of cable theft I thought it befitting to address this now, as many of our residents have suffered power outages, particularly those in Region 3 and 4.
I wish to apologise to the residents of the city who have been subjected to rolling power outages because of thefts that have targeted our infrastructure. We are dealing with them as best we can with the resources available to us.
Cable theft needs a comprehensive and coordinated effort in order for us to ensure that we can provide sustainable and reliable electricity and water supply to our people.
It is because of all these power outages owing to cable theft that I will on Tuesday be meeting with the Executive Mayor of Johannesburg as well as the Executive Mayor of Ekurhuleni so that we may find a coordinated manner in which to deal with the scourge of cable theft that has befallen our metro municipalities.
I hope that we will be able to jointly lobby national government to form a crime intelligence task team to solve this matter.
The City Manager has also made an official request to the City of Ekurhuleni to use Regulation 32 to procure goods and services that can help us in the fight against cable theft.
The continued menace of cable theft calls for the joint effort of local, provincial and national governments working with communities to deal with this social ill. The incidents of cable theft are not only costly to the City of Tshwane but create unnecessary inconvenience for both the City and its consumers.
Extraordinary measures and interventions are now required to curb, control, manage and eradicate this disruptive and undesirable phenomenon.
In South Africa, cable theft is a national issue, especially in the province of Gauteng. As the commercial hub of the country, Gauteng offers many opportunities for cable theft.
The theft of cables has the potential to hamper the sustainable provision of services such as transport, communication, water and electricity. It affects the quality of life of residents and hampers local economic development as well.
There are well-organised criminal syndicates operating throughout the country. The syndicates target the electrical networks of major infrastructure such as railway networks, electrical substations and water treatment plants.
Our assessment of these incidents in Tshwane indicates that there is an active attempt to destabilise the city’s administration.
As such, the Cable Theft Unit in the TMPD has come under increasing pressure. The unit is employing proactive measures such as physical guarding and patrols to curb cable theft.
The incidents of cable theft are shocking to say the least. From November 2017 to date, the city has experienced at least 1 498 instances of cable theft and vandalism, in some regions far worse than in others.
Region Number of incidents
Total 1 498
The City of Tshwane loses millions a year to cable theft and there seems to be no coordinated plan by law enforcement agencies at national level to deal decisively with this issue, although policing of this nature falls squarely within their ambit as required by the Constitution.
While the City of Tshwane has modest law enforcement capabilities, like any other municipality, it is not empowered by current legislation to deal with what appears to be a cable theft syndicate across our municipalities. It is therefore critical that the Minister of Police, National and Provincial Police Commissioners, the MEC for Community Safety and municipalities work together to come up with a comprehensive and workable plan to drastically reduce cable theft, jail the culprits and move towards assisting us in providing reliable services to our people who need it no matter the party politics of the day.
Because of the market for this stolen commodity, we cannot target only those who steal cables; we have to know where the material ends up and who is buying it. This requires crime intelligence which sits in the SAPS.
Buyers have a responsibility to ensure that the material they are buying is not stolen property by insisting on the relevant documentation so as to see where the cable comes from. Often, we find that the buyers are in cahoots with the thieves, as they buy from them at prices below the market price.
Buyers purchasing this stolen property will not be spared and will be subject to the law, too.
And progress in this regard is being made. While not yet perfect, we are working around the clock to ensure every day that less and less of our services are being interrupted by criminals.
Madam Speaker, we are also giving renewed focus towards crime prevention and by-law enforcement. In the inner city we have created a dedicated multidisciplinary task team that is systematically tackling the issues associated with urban decay. They meet on a weekly basis and conduct operations continuously in problematic areas to keep the pressure on those violating the City of Tshwane’s by-laws.
Making the city safer and ridding it of all illicit activity are a key priority of this administration.
I am encouraged by the efforts by the TMPD with our newly hired Police Chief at the helm to build a safe and secure city.
Madam Speaker, building a strong, capable and capacitated City of Tshwane requires expert personnel and skills.
One of my primary goals after the election was ensuring that we begin stabilising the staffing structures in the City. The success of the political administration of Tshwane is tied intrinsically to the capabilities within the civil service.
Without the right people in the right positions, the administration would remain in a state of inertia.
I have highlighted repeatedly how the “Hollywood style” of governance severely undermines the service that is delivered to our people.
We found that at multiple levels of the administration there were “actors”, in that staff were often acting across different positions and thus unable to make key decisions about crucial matters of state.
We had acting Deputy City Managers, acting Executive Directors, acting Directors and the list went on. A key strategic focus of the administration has been hiring the right quality of leadership to guide departments.
This started early last year with the recruitment of the City Manager, the top Accounting Officer.
Thereafter, we supported his office with three highly experienced people in the form of the Governance Support Officer, the Chief Operations Officer and the Chief Financial Officer.
Then gradually the City began filling the positions of the various Group Heads and is now in the process of closing off the recruitment of their senior support staff.
At present the City sits with a vacancy rate of 25%, which will be addressed by the latest recruitment phase. This will ensure that the City is further capacitated to discharge its mandate to the people.
Stabilising the City starts at the top; it needs the right administrative leadership with professional skills and management experience.
The City of Tshwane is a complex administration with multiple layers and requires a variety of competencies. Having now stabilised the management structures of the organisation, we are in a position to ensure more consistency in the decision-making processes of the City going forward.
Another step last year was re-aligning the micro structure of the City so that we can begin the prioritisation of recruiting artisans such as plumbers, electricians and technicians. These are critical skills to the City as we expand on delivery capabilities that have been set by the political leadership.
With more teams on the ground the City will be able to increase its response times to faults that get logged at our customer care centres, which have seen marked improvement, too, since we took office.
We will also be able to take a far more proactive approach in terms of preventative maintenance, which will expand the lifespan of our infrastructure.
This recruitment process has already begun and will unroll over the next few months as we begin to ensure that we have capacity in multiple departments in the City.
Although the recruitment and human resource processes within the City of Tshwane are not necessarily news-grabbing headlines, they are fundamentally important towards the creation of a stable government, one where there is a clear line of responsibility and accountability that runs from the top of the organisation right down to the bottom. It allows for the creation of a streamlined bureaucracy which is focused on delivering a professionalised frontline service.
I want to encourage members of the public to peruse the City of Tshwane website as different opportunities are advertised in the future. We are constantly on the lookout for talent in order to ensure that we build a capable City to take us into the future.
Madam Speaker, stabilising the City required a strong legal team to get the administration out of a wholly unaffordable PEU smart meter contract which was fleecing residents.
We are pleased that as at October last year a full bench of the North Gauteng High Court delivered judgement in favour of the City of Tshwane in the PEU smart meter scam perpetrated by the former administration.
The biggest of these irregularities was a tender for the supply of “smart” prepay electricity meters and services by a company called PEU Capital Partners.
Ironically, PEU was initially appointed on a tender to give advice to the City of Tshwane on how to save money, but the deal soon transmogrified into something completely different, by-passing competitive bidding processes.
From the outset the DA pointed out that the tender and the deal were irregular, and would punch a hole in the City’s coffers.
We later discovered that National Treasury and the Minister of Finance agreed with our view.
But this information was deliberately withheld from the public, even as the previous administration voted to approve the deal in the municipal council.
Initially the City paid PEU 19,5c for every rand of electricity which ran through its about 13 000 meters. It was expected that PEU would ultimately install many more of these meters.
But when legal action threatened to expose the rigged tender, Tshwane’s previous administration concluded a sham “termination agreement” to allow the service provider a quick getaway.
In terms of the termination agreement, the City of Tshwane would pay R950 million as a “termination fee” to the PEU subsidiary TUMS.
The 19,5c fee was reduced to 9,5c, but still constituted bad value for money. The plan was for TUMS to hand over its business with the City of Tshwane to a new service provider that was hurriedly appointed.
The R950 million pay-out was interdicted pending the challenge to the original rigged tender. The money has been kept in trust ever since, pending the finalisation of the case now before the Court.
This judgement holds all deals between the City of Tshwane and PEU and its subsidiary TUMS as unlawful, and lays the basis for the City to untangle itself from a relationship which has cost our people dearly.
We also hope the judgement sends the right message to every unscrupulous service provider doing business with government.
Housing and human settlements
Proceeds from the mayoral mansion
Madam Speaker, at last year’s State of the Capital Address, I announced that, after extensive consultation, this administration would sell the mayoral mansion. We believed that it was unnecessary and that the funds for the sale could be used for other meaningful projects and programmes for the people of Tshwane who, as I have long asserted, are our true VIPs.
On 23 November 2017, the mayoral mansion was sold at auction for R5,1 million. I am happy to announce that the proceeds from the sale have been earmarked to build 40 RDP houses, including land and services, for well-deserving families in Atteridgeville X 19, where the City is currently installing service stands.
The decision to sell the mayoral house was an easy one.
We assessed the true benefits of this double-storey four-bedroom house, which benefits only one family and is occasionally used for meetings with diplomats, against providing a roof, property ownership, an asset base and dignity to needy families.
Common sense prevailed.
It doesn’t end here – not only are we providing homes to deserving families, but we are also contributing to the creation of work opportunities, because the construction project will contribute to employment in the community and benefit local families.
We believe that this will promote full community participation and involvement in the building of their homes and promote a sense of ownership and pride. Workers will be trained in construction and professional work areas and will be provided with skills that will be useful in the future.
The selection process will focus on the provision of homes to well-deserving families from different sectors of the community who are in need of housing. This is in line with the City’s vision to create integrated communities. This selection process will also be guided by the National Housing Code, which includes prioritising the following:
People living with disabilities
The following is taken into account:
The socio-economic circumstances of the families
The year of registration on the National Housing Needs Register
We have already started to identify beneficiaries for these houses. Our top priority is addressing special cases first.
We have Ms Evelin Khuboni, an elderly woman who registered on the National Housing Needs Register 1999. She is currently renting a back room at 11183 Dube Street in Mamelodi.
We also have Mr Joshua Toka, a resident from Atteridgeville who lives with a disability and uses a wheelchair. He and his wife survive on a government grant.
There is also Ms Ruth Letsoalo, a resident from Eersterust who lives with her daughter and granddaughter. She is currently unemployed and renting the garage that she and her dependents currently occupy for R1 500 a month. Her daughter is still in school and has turned 18, which means that the child grant she used to receive had to be terminated.
There is Mrs Kaamini Veramoothoo, a wife and mother of three children, who is currently on the City’s waiting list for rental units. The Veramoothoo family live in Laudium, and currently survive on Mr Gopal Veramoothoo’s disability grant as well as that of their daughter. Mr Veramoothoo is blind and his daughter, Prehanca, is autistic and hard of hearing.
We have Mr Baxter, who grew up in Paarl in a foster home with two of his seven siblings. He came to Pretoria in 1996 and he has been living in Fort West since 2006. He survives by recycling from his shack.
We also have Onthathile, whose grandfather, Patrick, passed away before he could be allocated a house that was approved in 1999. She was taken in by his brother, Victor Nkomo.
These are some of the beneficiaries who will benefit from the proceeds of the mayoral mansion.
The sale of the mayoral mansion further presents us with an opportunity to explore and advocate alternative building technologies that are reliable, durable, aesthetically pleasing, environmentally friendly, cheaper and easy to maintain.
The houses will therefore be constructed using alternative building technologies. In doing so, the City will be setting a different tone and standard for low-cost housing by building good-quality and bigger but affordable houses.
The construction of these houses will commence at the beginning of May 2018 when the procurement processes have been finalised, and it is anticipated that they will be completed by the end of May 2019 and unveiled in June that year.
Madam Speaker, we have prioritised giving dignity to our people by accelerating the distribution of title deeds. Ensuring that property owners have the legal surety that enshrines their home ownership is a critical economic intervention. It presents homeowners with the opportunity to leverage their house as an asset in order to access financial loans that will assist with funding a new business venture or furthering their education.
This is a private property right, a right that is enshrined in our Constitution. I am happy to announce that we are now at 90% of the target of 6 000 title deeds, having issued out 4 417 as of February 2018.
In the coming weeks, before the end of the financial year, we will be in various parts of the city, continuing our programme of issuing title deeds and promoting security of tenure. These areas include Nellmapius X 6, 7 and 8, where we will be issuing 390 title deeds. We also have Refilwe X 1 where 79 households will be receiving theirs, and Ward 16 in Mamelodi, where will be issuing 402 title deeds.
Many more are still in the pipeline and we are confident that we will meet our target by the end of this financial year.
Formalisation of informal settlements
Madam Speaker, the following informal settlements have benefitted from the incremental upgrading of informal settlements process. This included relocation to properly laid-out stands and the provision of rudimentary and basic services. Some of the areas identified are the following:
Rearrangement (also known as re-blocking) of 1 958 households in Mahube Valley X 15
Relocation of 347 Phomolong residents to Erven 2223 and 2224 in Nellmapius X 22
Rearrangement of 311 households in Erf 34041 in Phomolong
Rearrangement of 400 households in Mamelodi X 11
Relocation of 471 Brazzaville residents to Atteridgeville X 19
Rearrangement of 1 193 households in Pienaarspoort X 21 (also known as Lethabong)
Relocation of 281 households to Portion 2 of the farm Donkerhoek 370-JR.
Relocation of 112 households from Choba Informal Settlement to the Olievenhoutbosch X 27 low-cost housing project.Construction of bulk infrastructure projects has commenced in all seven of the following informal settlements:
At Mabopane X 1, construction of a water and sewer reticulation system is anticipated to be completed in June.
The construction of the bulk sewer line at Kudube X 9 will be completed by the end of this month.
At Olievenhoutbosch, the construction of 229 top structures is on track for completion at the end of the financial year.
Progress is being made at Refilwe Manor on the construction of a reservoir and sewer pump stations.
At Zithobeni Heights and Zithobeni X 8 and 9, we are working around the clock to complete the water reticulation system and the house connections to the sewer.
At Themba View, we have successfully re-advertised a tender and appointed a contractor for bulk sewer and water lines.
At this point, I would like to announce that the City of Tshwane is currently in the process of acquiring two land parcels. Additionally, we are conducting negotiations with the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements to transfer another two land parcels, which will benefit our relocation and formalisation efforts in the city going forward.
Madam Speaker, with the funding from the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements, we were able to implement housing projects at Erf 29355 in Mamelodi, Thorntree View, and the Rama City Human Settlements Project was launched by the Premier in the north-western part of the City near Rosslyn. Upon completion, Rama City will provide more than 15 000 units.
As the Premier himself highlighted in his speech, “the mega project would create a healthy and vibrant household economy that will ensure that job opportunities are created closer to places of work, thereby reducing travelling costs and it will also be close to other social amenities."
In Ga-Rankuwa X 10, a new contractor was appointed in February to revisit the existing incomplete infrastructure that has been vandalised over a period of three years. However, we must note that what we have found in the sewer lines in this area has been shocking: blocks of concrete, bricks, logs and the carcasses of dead animals, all of which indicates an active attempt to sabotage our infrastructure.
While this matter of the incomplete project with the previous contractor is before the court, the City took a decision to appoint a consultant to prepare a bill of quantity that covers the additional scope of work, ie demolishing.
Madam Speaker, in deference to our administration’s collaborative efforts for the betterment of Tshwane people, the City is working together with the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements to respond to the service delivery needs of our communities, particularly that of housing.
We have continuously met with communities of both Olievenhoutbosch and Mooiplaats in order to address concerns of RDP allocation before distribution commences.
At our recent meeting in Mooiplaats, together with the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements, we reported that 350 of the 841 approved beneficiaries will be moved from Mooiplaats to Olievenhoutbosch X 27.
The relocation is necessary because Mooiplaats is dolomitic and only a fraction of the land is habitable. The City is in the process of identifying other suitable pieces of land to relocate the remainder of the qualifying households.
We have noted the worrying threats by a group of Olievenhoutbosch residents that they will not vacate the illegally occupied houses meant for the Mooiplaats community. To this we say: law and order must always be upheld.
Madam Speaker, as the DA-led multi-party government, we support land restitution, and we support land redistribution. We support efforts to undo the terrible legacy of forced land dispossession which prevented black families from building intergenerational wealth.
The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa is on record saying that the government will not support illegal land invasions. In his words he said:
“We should not tolerate disorder and lawlessness of that type. Nobody has any right to invade land, to violate other people’s rights. All those who want to invade land, they will get to know that we will not allow that.”
In light of this, we encourage our people to not allow themselves to be used as political pawns to further the agendas of political parties who do not always have their best interests at heart.
This was demonstrated most recently in Olievenhoutbosch, where land parcels were unlawfully seized on the undue encouragement of a councillor in the area.
This was done in defiance of the prescripts of Section 25 of the Constitution, and indeed this does not speed up property ownership, but rather delays and aggravates a backlog that dates back as far as the advent of democracy in South Africa.
This is why our approach seeks to make people real homeowners and protects their right to build assets and wealth over time and hand these over to their children.
Madam Speaker, central to our offer to the people of Tshwane is the idea of job creation and the creation of work opportunities, notably through our EPWP programme, launched in December 2017, called Gata le Nna.
This programme gives effect to our commitment to the generation of these work opportunities for our people.
The City of Tshwane, like all public entities, is required to contribute to the creation of employment under the Expanded Public Works Programme. The EPWP aims to create employment opportunities for the unemployed and low-skilled people of South Africa through the delivery of public and community goods and services.
However, to create these work opportunities, we had to first clean up the way the recruitment process was conducted.
During the first quarter of this financial year, we made significant changes to the EPWP recruitment policy in order to relieve pressure on staff and councillors and to eliminate patronage and nepotism.
We adopted an open and inclusive recruitment and lottery selection system, giving every qualifying individual an equal opportunity to secure employment through the EPWP programme.
To date we have held three lotteries – the latest being in February 2018 –where beneficiaries are randomly chosen, which gives each applicant a fair chance of being selected.
Significantly, the City designed the database in such a manner so that we can appoint EPWP beneficiaries by their age, the ward where they live, their skill set and their gender, without referring to their political affiliation.
City of Tshwane departments and regions are implementing projects that are guided by EPWP methodologies and principles. The City’s contribution is in three main sectors: the infrastructure sector, the social sector and the environmental and cultural sector.
In the 2017/2018 financial year, the City set a target to create 23 000 work opportunities through the implementation of EPWP projects.
The infrastructure sector will contribute 12 200 work opportunities, the social sector 10 250 and the environmental and cultural sector 550 out of the total target of 23 000.
As the Executive Mayor, my office will have its own dedicated programme that uses 200 EPWP beneficiaries for rapid service delivery response and support in the city.
This programme will henceforth be known as Thusa le Rona.
Since assuming office and with the advent of the revised EPWP Recruitment Framework Policy, I am pleased to announce that we have, to date, created 16 125 EPWP work opportunities across various programmes and projects in the capital city.
It is important to note that 10 000 of these beneficiaries were recruited on the old system and 6 125 with our new lottery-based recruitment system since this Council passed the EPWP Recruitment Framework Policy in September last year, now known as Gata le Nna.
I am pleased to note that this system has received great praise from across all sectors in Tshwane and on a national level.
When we opened up the recruitment process, more than 120 000 job seekers registered on the database.
Should operators in the private sector want to draw beneficiaries from this database, the City will be more than willing to assist in this regard.
Some of the main projects that beneficiaries are working on include the project in Garsfontein to replace the water network, a project by PRASA to restore railway lines in Tshwane, re-gravelling and maintenance operations of roads in Bronkhorstspruit, as well as participants who are working as administrators and data capturers in various City of Tshwane clinics and many other projects.
Training programme for chartered accountants
Madam Speaker, the City of Tshwane embarked on a programme to train chartered accountants through the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants programme. This is a three-year learnership programme that allows trainees to qualify as finance professionals. The first batch of nine learners started their training in November 2017. Tshwane is the first municipality to implement such a programme.
In pursuing this programme, we were motivated by the determination to be a city that facilitates economic growth and job creation.
The Chartered Accountants Training Programme is expected to enrol around 10 trainees from previously disadvantaged communities per year, thus assisting to advance the BEE objectives of the City while at the same time addressing unemployment amongst the youth.
The programme will create a pool of finance professionals in the city. The spin-off for the municipality is that it will have access to critical skills from an internal source, and this will reduce reliance on the use of consultants.
Trainees who join the programme already hold a bachelor’s degree and then go through a series of board exams with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants throughout the traineeship period. Currently, there is one trainee who has passed their first South African Institute of Chartered Accountants board exam on the first attempt.
The impact on the economy will be multifold, with more accountants being developed and trained in Tshwane and Gauteng, thus helping to address the shortage of scarce skills and ultimately creating an environment in the public sector where future accountants can train and qualify as chartered accountants.
The City will achieve the objective of creating chartered accountants who are “industry” experts in the public sector – best placed to add value and to help improve overall financial management in the public sector, thereby injecting much-needed skills to improve service delivery.
The public sector has been plagued by poor governance for a long time. This can in part be attributed to a lack of internal processes within public entities to develop the skills of their people, and also to the unwillingness of professionals to become employees of public sector entities. This resulted in public entities having employees who are not thoroughly grounded in professional skills and ethical values.
The training programme is also expected to contribute positively towards the improvement of governance within the City and across the public sector as a whole.
Free transport for job seekers in the capital city
Madam Speaker, at the beginning of Transport Month in October 2017, the Roads and Transport Department initiated a youth pilot project to assist job seekers with free transport in Bronkhorstspruit in Region 7. This project is the first of this kind in the country.
The then Chilwavhusiku Mine was about to start operation in Bronkhorstspruit and was looking at just more than 100 employees during its first phase.
The City worked hand in hand with Black Royalty Minerals to provide buses for free to unemployed youths so that they could submit their applications at a dedicated location in Bronkhorstspruit.
We launched this week-long exercise that covered the four major areas of Region 7. One area per day was provided with two buses to ferry jobseekers to and from the dedicated location for CV submissions. In one week, more than 5 000 unemployed people were provided with free transport to submit their CVs. People came from other neighbouring provinces to be assisted by this noble gesture from this administration.
We are in the process of developing a programme that will see unemployed youths being registered and assisted with free transport when looking for employment.
Madam Speaker, a sensitive subject close to my heart is that of substance abuse.
A consequence of joblessness is the proliferation of drug abuse which can ultimately lead to other forms of crime. In order to combat the scourge of drugs, the city adopted an integrated and holistic approach which provides comprehensive and lasting solutions.
We are deeply concerned about the scourge of drugs on our communities, particularly our youth.
The continued use of drugs has left many people unproductive, pushing them further into poverty, or driving them deeper into drug-related crime and other illicit activity.
This often includes theft which targets city infrastructure and leaves it damaged, which has devastating consequences for our ability to provide reliable services to our people.
Realising a need for a specialised drug operations team, we immediately established the TMPD Anti-Drug Unit with the sole purpose of fighting and eliminating drug abuse in the communities of Tshwane.
Members of the unit were given additional training and equipment to take this battle to the next level, and I’m happy to say that across the city, drug lords and peddlers are now feeling the heat.
However, the war on drugs will not be won by law enforcement alone. It must include social interventions to prevent drug abuse while providing a safe haven for those who suffer the consequences of drugs and substance abuse.
The City’s Health Department is currently funding the Department of Home Medicine at the University of Pretoria, who developed the evidence-based Community-Oriented Substance Use Programme (COSUP).
To date, over 2000 people have been enrolled on the COSUP programme and more than 12 000 follow-up visits were conducted for intensive interventions.
This excludes people who are reached through awareness and education campaigns. It is estimated that we have reached more than 40 000 people through outreach and education.
As we speak, COSUP is also providing skills training to 92 rehabilitating substance users.
This programme not only assists addicts to overcome their addiction, but also helps them to face the social and psychological challenges that have contributed to their addiction.
Every day, our 24-hour call centre, Hopeline, takes calls and refers callers for assistance, and at the same time provides a basic transport service, accommodation, food and blankets in case of emergencies. Callers in need of support are also contacted and served by Social Workers who follow up on calls and ensure that the needs of callers are properly dealt with.
Hopeline is one of five response interventions to fight the scourge of drug and substance abuse and I am pleased to announce that since the launch of Hopeline, the City of Tshwane has registered increasing numbers of calls and has dealt with all the pleas for help by those affected by drug abuse.
From its launch in August 2018 until 25 March 2018, the City of Tshwane registered 422 calls from residents looking for help to locate the nearest drug rehabilitation centres. In July 2017, we signed 23 service level agreements with NPOs dealing with drugs and substance abuse. Our preoccupation is to fight the drug problem while creating opportunities for employment and productivity across the city.
We are committed to fighting drug and substance abuse problems to reverse the devastating impact it has on our communities.
We will continue to fight the scourge of drugs while creating opportunities for employment and productivity across the city, so that those wishing to break the chains of addiction may live a better life too.
Madam Speaker, promoting the health and wellness of residents is a central priority of this responsive DA-led government, and we recognise the challenges faced by many residents in accessing basic primary healthcare.
Appreciating the geographical layout of Tshwane, among other factors, we know that access to healthcare facilities is currently a challenge which we are committed to addressing.
Due to the differences in location and income, access is determined not only by the physical location of healthcare facilities but also by affordability of health services.
Low levels of access to decent healthcare lead to lower quality of life and have many knock-on effects on the productivity of the economy. However, the City has committed itself to improving access to public healthcare by:
Developing healthcare capacity based on the services that are rendered by the City, integrating the public and private healthcare systems better and allocating adequate resources to deal with communicable and non-communicable diseases
Partnering with communities to develop community-based healthcare services, which will allow for flexible delivery of health services while improving the distribution of health information
Creating strategic partnerships with knowledge and innovation institutions, towards developing efficient and effective health solutions
Instituting excellence in the provision of health services and monitoring our health outcomes.
We have also increased access to health services, where services are available from Monday to Friday from 07:30 to 16:00 and extended from 08:00 to 13:00 on Saturdays at 14 of our 24 facilities.
In Region 1 and 2 we have the Rosslyn and Karenpark Clinics.
In Region 3 there is the FF Ribeiro Clinic situated at Sammy Marks Square, Lotus Gardens Clinic, Phomolong Clinic in Atteridgeville, and also Atteridgeville Clinic in Mareka Street and Gazankulu Clinic in Maunde Street; as well as Danville Clinic and Hercules Clinic.
In Region 4 we have the Olievenhoutbosch Clinic.
In Region 6 we have Stanza Bopape II Clinic, Nellmapius Clinic, and Phahameng Clinic – all in Mamelodi East; and also Mamelodi West Clinic.
The full PHC package is provided at all the clinics – ART and ARV roll-out at all our 24 facilities. We have appointed 34 retired nurses on contract to alleviate critical staff shortages in the PHC clinics.
In August we handed the Block JJ Clinic in Soshanguve over to the MEC for Health in our province to jointly with the City provide quality healthcare services to all in the community.
It was clear that the community was in desperate need of a proper healthcare facility that would cater for all their health needs. The City as a caring government acceded to their call for a proper, dignified healthcare facility.
On 16 April of this financial year we will also be handing over the Zithobeni Clinic to our provincial government, to ensure that the community of Zithobeni receives the primary healthcare services that they rightfully deserve.
The pharmaceutical section has continuously managed to ensure that more than 90% of essential medicines are available at facilities at all times.
I announce today that the City of Tshwane is in the process of partnering with local pharmacies for the dispensing of this medication to our residents. This will alleviate the burden on our clinics.
It will also make it easier for us to bring primary healthcare and medication closer to the people who need it most, and avert some of the protracted waiting in queues often suffered by old, frail residents looking to get much-needed medication.
We will also be launching a multi-region upgrading of clinic dispensaries, to ensure that each clinic has a pharmacy according to the national norms and standards.
The heavy rains the City experienced during the week of 19 March 2018 has compounded the issue of sinkholes, particularly in Region 4. For the 2017/18 financial year, we have recorded a total of 27 sinkholes requiring varied extents of repairs and restorations.
To fix all the city’s sinkholes at once is estimated to cost up to R100 million and the city is committed to addressing the problem over the next financial years. However, site securing, geological investigations and periodic monitoring of the sinkholes are being done in the meantime.
We have committed R25 million from the operating budget to repair work on the Jean Avenue sinkhole and in so doing, bringing us one step closer to restoring optimum business activity in the area.
The sinkhole has caused massive disruption to business and traffic flow in Centurion. This is the largest single cost of repair and the tender has been awarded to a contractor with the necessary capacity to undertake the work.
Two other sinkholes prioritised for repair are those in Clubview (approximately R3 million), which has the potential to affect 900 households, and 2nd Avenue in Claudius (approximately R15 million).
Another massive, newly developed sinkhole is along the R55 in Laudium, estimated to cost around R40 to R50 million to fix. We are appreciative thereof that the Province will cover this cost.
In the coming weeks, the City will see how further funds can be reprioritised for the repair of these sinkholes within the present financial year.
There are about eight sinkholes in Laudium alone and three are already being attended to in the current financial year. The City is also budgeting for repairing three additional sinkholes in the approaching financial year, while two smaller ones will be temporarily treated.
Climate response plan
Madam Speaker, We can only manage that which we can measure and we are pleased to announce that the City of Tshwane has an internationally recognised carbon footprint developed in 2017 with technical support from the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.
This step alone puts us on par with global C40 cities such as New York, London and Copenhagen, and is the impetus for a wide-ranging set of measures to support the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a bid to stem global warming and the havoc it is wreaking – floods, droughts, unbearable temperature increases and the concomitant health impacts.
These measures are contained in our Climate Response Strategy and are guiding our efforts to take charge of our actions that are harmful to the planet and humanity.
The foundation of the strategy is to preserve our ecological infrastructure – green and open spaces, rivers, wetlands – as this infrastructure has considerable social, economic and cultural value.
By preserving, conserving and rehabilitating our ecological infrastructure, we have a natural bulwark against climate impacts, whatever form they may take.
In executing the Climate Response Strategy, we would like to acknowledge the efforts by National Treasury’s City Support Programme to ensure that the City of Tshwane’s spending is mindful of and responsive to climate impacts. We are making a considerable effort to ensure that in developing our budgets, we factor in climate-proofing measures.
This is supported by our Sustainable Procurement Strategy and our efforts to transform our consumption patterns and advance green purchasing such as our investment in green buildings, cleaner fuel vehicles and a drive towards sustainable energy mix.
Such ambitious efforts are receiving immense recognition on national, continental and international platforms as demonstrated by my recent election to lead to represent the African continent in the ICLEI Global Executive Committee as well as been asked to chair the Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement.
Roads and Transport
Madam Speaker, a safe and reliable public transport system as well as the state-of-the-art road infrastructure network are all the ingredients that contribute to creating a progressive capital city.
The Rainbow Junction Bypass, a Tshwane Rapid Transport project, is well on track and expected to be completed by the end of the current financial year. In February, the City held marathon consultations with concerned commuters and taxi organisations in Hammanskraal following disruptions to public transport for commuters from Hammanskraal into the CBD.
While some of the issues could be addressed within a reasonable space of time, there are matters bound in legal agreements entered into by the City and the taxi industry which cannot just be changed overnight.
We appreciate the agreement by both parties to allow the leadership of Tshwane time to look into the issues raised and we will provide feedback on that note.
Our Vision is to have a capital city with reliable and efficient public transport service with lower emissions, where we can gradually decrease private car usage, which will eventually lead to less congestion.
It is on this note that we have successfully launched the Belle Ombre Compressed Natural Gas depot which will be fully operational before the end of this financial year.
Of the 114-strong bus fleet, 40 are running on compressed natural gas (CNG), thus making Tshwane the first city in sub-Saharan Africa to run full CNG-propelled buses. We seek to reaffirm our position as a leader in green technology and other green interventions.
In October 2017, the City of Tshwane successfully took over bus service operations from AutoPax in Mamelodi. It has always been our desire to provide transport services to high-density areas that do not have fast modes of transport, places such as Mamelodi, Atteridgeville and Soshanguve.
We have also undertaken to do construction of internal roads in Ga-Rankuwa Unit 9 (11,1 km), Soshanguve Block GG (2,3 km) and Soshanguve Block LL (1 km walkways). We will be upgrading roads from gravel to tar in Ekangala and Zithobeni (1 km each).
As a result of flooding, storm water systems will also be constructed in Eersterust Ext 2 (2 km), Matengteng (3 km), Kudube Unit 6 (0,8 km), and Atteridgeville (3,8 km).
We are aware that some of our projects are taking time to get off the ground, and we have assembled a team to speed up the implementation of roads and transport projects.
Water and electricity
Madam Speaker, the Eldoraigne 132/11 kV substation and the Mamelodi 3 132/11 kV substation have been completed and handed over. Various other substations are currently also being upgraded.
This will contribute to the stabilisation and improvement of the energy supply to our residents.
About 7 00 electricity connections will be done in Mamelodi Ext 11, Atteridgeville Ext 11, Fort West Ext 4, Ga-Rankuwa Zone 14, Pienaarspooort, Olievenhoutbosch Ext 60 and Zithobeni Ext 9.
In Mamelodi Ext 5, about 74 households have been connected and over 200 households in Melusi Ext 2 now have electricity.
Nellmapius Ext 24 and Soshanguve Ext 19 have seen 2600 and 560 electricity connections respectively.
On public lighting, progress is being made on 35 high mast lights and the installation of 2 300 streetlights in all seven regions.
The people of New Klipgat can rest assured that the water generation and management will improve as we are well on track to complete the reservoir in this financial year.
Madam Speaker, all these projects are made possible by simply having money in the bank.
Our finances are in good standing. Since taking over the running of the city, cash and cash equivalents at the end of the year improved from R1,1 billion in the 2015/16 financial year to R2,1 billion in the 2016/17 financial year.
Unauthorised expenditure was reduced from R1,6 billion in the financial year 2015/16 to R634 million in 2016/17 financial year.
The stabilisation of the capital’s finances is the critical foundation on which to continue making progress in the delivery of services to our people. This will, in turn, be to the benefit of attracting investment into our beautiful city.
Last month we tabled our draft pro-poor Budget and Integrated Development Plan (IDP) at Council for public participation.
The draft IDP and budget which is currently out for public comment had our residents in mind, particularly those who are from poorer backgrounds and live in poorer areas of the city. This will ensure that all our people, rich or poor, get access to the service delivery to which they are entitled and opportunities to build a better life for them and their families.
Similarly, our proposed budget is preoccupied with dealing with the inequalities in our society, with the bulk of our capital expenditure earmarked for Regions 1, 2, 3, 6 and 7.
These regions accommodate the poor population in the city, who reside mainly in the previously disadvantaged township areas. Projects are targeting the provision of basic services in these areas. In doing this we will make it a priority that we engage region-specific service delivery priorities and not a spray-gun approach which often achieves nothing and ends up being expensive.
I urge our residents to participate in this process as we build the desired vision for 2030 – that of a prosperous capital city through fairness, freedom and opportunity together.
In doing so, I wish to announce that the City of Tshwane has developed an app that will be rolled out during this consultation process, that seeks to modernise democratic participation in the changing times of technology.
This is also to encourage our youth to participate in the running of the city they live in, given that the largest contingent of students call Tshwane home.
Some of the big projects for the 2018/19 financial year include the management of the reduction of water losses, for which we have budgeted R70 million in the 2018/19 financial year. Of this, R500 million will go towards electricity distribution upgrades on feeders, cables, lines and mini-substations. Upgrade of the waste water treatment works will cost R99 million in 2018/19, R190 million in the next year and R227 million in the third year.
These are just some of the investments we are only happy to make, to ensure that our VIPs – the residents of this city – receive the quality services they are entitled to.
Madam Speaker, as the capital city, we have a responsibility to ensure that we set the highest possible standards for the rest of the country. We must be a shining example for all our people across South Africa.
I am very proud of the accomplishments of this administration, but there is still more work to be done. I want to also apologise to those who have not yet felt the change of service delivery, and let them know that under this DA-led multiparty administration, they are not forgotten and we will respond to their needs.
Credit also goes to all officials who have rolled up their sleeves to help make this city become liveable, resilient and inclusive.
This administration will continue to honour the commitments it made to all the people of Tshwane; to be a government that they can be proud of.
Let us work together to build a world-class and prosperous city.
Issued by the City of Tshwane, 13 April 2018