8 February SONA Activations 2017 February 8, 2017 By Anga Mtongana Latest News 0 As the country prepares to listen to the annual State of The Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday 9 February at 7pm, Buffalo City Metro (BCM) together with Government Communications and Information System (GCIS), Road Accident fund (RAF) and Public Participation launched the pre-SONA activation campaign. Activities kicked off with a train ride from East London, passing Mdantsane and the last stop was Berlin on February 2. The main activity was to distribute government information products which include SONA leaflets, newsletters, general government information leaflets and interacting with people about their expectation from the upcoming SONA and about service delivery in general. This programme was one of the pre-SONA activations intended to create awareness about the upcoming State of the Nation Address scheduled for 9 February 2017. The theme for SONA 2017 is The year of Oliver Reginald Tambo: Unity in Action Together Moving South Africa Forward. Speaking to one of the train commuters from East London to Berlin, Bayambela Sifumba said, “I am concerned with how the government plans to deal with issues of unemployment and service delivery in our community.” According to the GCIS website (www.gcis.co.za), the President will provide an update on the implementation of the Programme of Action based on the National Development Plan (NDP). The 2017 SONA will also be delivered within the context of the current strides made by government to respond to the various challenges that our country is facing. Public Participation Practitioner Kenneth Kodwa said, “We set out to share information with the public about the SONA, we acknowledge the importance of community involvement in sound governance and also in keeping with the Batho Pele principals.” The public is encouraged to participate in discussions on Facebook (GovernmentZA) and Twitter on the hashtag #SONA2017 Other activation events include a radio debate amongst school pupils from two high schools in Duncan Village namely Kusile and Sinovuyo High on Kumkani FM, 6 February and a dialogue session with the community that will be held in Berlin 8 February. The SONA will be broadcast live on television, radio and social media from 7pm on February 9. Related 2017 Standard Bank Ironman 70.3 The East London’s superb location, nestled in the incredible coastal area makes it a perfect host for this testing exceptional race. This year, the race is expected to pull more pro-athletes from around the world including defending champions, Jodie Swallow and Matt Trautmann. The Metro’s Executive Mayor Xola Pakati said that he is delighted that the City hosts the prestigious event each year. “As hosts of such an important sporting event, Buffalo City receives international and local compliments. The event gives the city an opportunity to show the world the true South African hospitality as well as boosting tourism and adding to the economy of the City,” said Pakati. “Buffalo City is ready to host the 2017 edition of the Ironman 70.3 and we are looking forward to the spectacular race.” The race kicks off at 7am with a 1.9km swim at East London's Orient Beach, the swim’s first leg will be 300 metres long, the marker must be rounded on the right hand side (marker must be on your left). After turning left around this buoy the next leg is 700 metres, this buoy must also be rounded on the right hand side. The following leg is 200 metres long and again you must round the buoy on the right. The final leg before the exit to the beach is 500 metres long and you need to round this last buoy on the left. The exit to the beach is 200 metres away. The cut-off time for the swim is one hour and 10 minutes. Following the swim is a 90 kilometre cycle on the N2 Highway. The first portion is along the Esplanade (beach front) where after the route follows the R72 motorway towards the Nahoon River. The route then turns left and follows the N2 highway towards King William’s Town. It is a continuous climb with a few flat sections to the turnaround point at Berlin just outside East London at 45 kilometres. The return route is on the opposite side of the N2 highway back to transition. Aid Stations will be available at the 18 kilometre, 45 kilometre and 72 kilometre marks. The cut-off time for the cycle is four hours and five minutes. The last leg is the 21.1 kilometre run around the Esplanade. Triathletes run down the Esplanade, passing the Orient Theatre and along the eastern Esplanade up into John Bailie Road towards Schenker Road. The route turns back on the second loop of the race which also goes out on the pier before turning around to the finishing line. According to the race’s legend John Duke, who started competing in the Ironman events in 1982, the race is anybody’s game and anybody can claim the title and be the Ironman. "People who think that the title is unattainable, I tell them that it is possible. I can take a person that does not have an athletic bone in their body and make them into a triathlete if they’re willing to put in the time. I’m the perfect example. I am not a great athlete, just a hard worker." Residents should also note that there will be road closures: Entrance to the Orient Beach Complex will be closed to all public and vehicles from Friday 27 January to Tuesday 31 January 2017 The following road closures will apply on Sunday 29 January 2017 from 6am until 1pm. On the N2, it will be closed from Beacon Bay offramp (Exit 1051) to Blaney intersection. While on the NEX / R72, the road will be closed from Buffalo Park Drive to Wyse Avenue (Christian Centre intersection) from 6am until 5pm. At Currie Street / Esplanade Street it will be closed from Orient Road to John Bailie Road. Other road closures include the John Bailie Road, Turnberry Avenue, Glen Eagles Road, Galway Road and Epsom Road Intersection Metro unpacks the Festive Season Safety Operations Speaking at the briefing Portfolio Head for Health and Public Safety Amanda Mnyute said, “We had a joint operation from December 30 to January 2, 2017 with the aim to control the crowd during the festive season in all our beaches and other areas of the Metro.” “During this period some of the roads in the beachfront were closed to accommodate the traffic congestion and easy flow of vehicles in the Quigney areas,” she said. Mnyute added that children were lost and that was a major challenge this year for the City. “Over 40 children were lost and later reunited with their parents. Another major challenge was the consumption of alcohol and making open fires in areas that ae not designated for that.” “The number of drunken driving in the Buffalo City has increased from last year to 190 drunk driving incident during this festive season.” Buffalo City Metro Commander for Traffic Services Quinton Chetty said, “The traffic flow showed a great improvement due to the earlier road closures. This was done to create a vehicle free zone and create a safe environment for the pedestrians.” “Areas that were affected by the road closures include Quigney, Beacon Bay, Nahoon and Gonubie,” said Chetty. “The Metro conducted a Joint Operation Centre (JOC) which was situated at the Osner Hotel and was operational on 31 of December 2016 as well as on 1 and 2 of January 2017.” Stakeholders involved in the operation include the South African Police Services (SAPS), Emergency Ambulance Service, Provincial Department of Social Development, BCMM Traffic Department, BCMM Law Enforcement Services and Environmental Health Services. The following statistics recorded during the festive season: Statistics between November 2016 and January 2, 2017 for drunk driving was 119, inconsiderate driving was at 149, those who were held for speeding 7 333, impounds, suspensions and un-roadworthy vehicles were 155. Highest speed recorded in King William’s Town was 112km/h in a 60km/h zone and highest speed in East London was 163km/h in a 90km/h zone. Operation Commander for SAPS East London Cluster Colonel Errol Francis said, “Our operation started from 10 November to 31 January 2017 to prevent crime against people in the Buffalo City area.” “In the morning of December 31 and January 1, we had low levels of crime incidents reported, only five cases were reported, while later on New Year’s Day, 12 crime incidents were reported and on January 2, only four cases were reported,” said Francis. According to the Municipal Report, over 30 lifeguards were employed during the festive season and were operating in all the beaches. “The Metro has 19 fulltime Lifeguards and 39 Seasonal Lifeguards in all the surrounding beaches in the Metro were employed to minimise the number of drownings and swimming incidents.” This festive season saw at least 86 near drowning incidents and four drownings. “We urge people to learn to swim so that when they decide to go swimming during the festive season they are able to do so and limit the drownings,” said Mnyute. IDP and Budget concludes The Metro set aside Tuesday 9 May to discuss the 2017/18 financial budget at Mngqesha Great Place with the traditional leaders. The IDP and Budget is reviewed annually to allow the municipality to improve its plans and strategies and also allow citizens to give their inputs to the IDP for the year, the previous year and next financial year. This year’s theme for the IDP and Budget Roadshows is Unity in Action: A City hard at work. Speaking at the meeting, Chief Whip of Council Councillor Mzwandile Vaaiboom said, “The main purpose of the meeting is to present the draft 2017/18 IDP Review, Medium Term Revenue and Expenditure framework budget to the Queen of Rharhabe and all the Rharhabe Chiefs for inputs before Council adoption.” This follows after the City consulted with all its wards during the roadshows which started on 18 April until 8 May. Discussed during the event include including Tyutyu Phase 3 project, Umzonyana Dam Upgrade, water and the procurement of graders for rural roads. Other issues that came up range from the community hall that was requested in Masingatha, Mlakalaka and Godidi, the agricultural support, requests for ablution facilities in Kwelerana, Mdange Village requested fencing of grazing fields and the request for electricity in Tshatshu. Adding Executive Mayor Xola Pakati said, “Other upgrades that are planned by the Metro include the revamping of the Rharhabe royal family graves, build a tombstone for Chief Tshatshu, Construction of new King William’s Town Traffic Centre, storm water drainages, sanitation, dams and weirs, water treatment works, bulk mains, pump station, distribution mains, reservoirs, agricultural and rural development programmes. Following the Traditional Leaders Session, City officials met with the business sector to discuss projects pertaining to their needs for 2017/18. The Business Breakfast was held at the Regent Hotel in Quigney on Wednesday 10 May. Acting City Manager Bob Naidoo opened the session by giving an overview of the roadshows and its success. “We had a smooth flow of public meetings with hiccups here and there.” The Business Breakfast is held as part of the annual IDP/Budget consultation process, this is mandated by law to involve organised business as a stakeholder in the planning and budgeting process of the municipality. “This meeting is set to provide an opportunity for organised businesses to comment on the draft 2017/18 IDP and Budget before it is tabled in council for adoption and discuss concerns that arise during this engagement,” said Naidoo. Some of the issues raised at previous engagements with the business fraternity included procurement processes with the City’s Supply Chain Management Office, where it was raised that there were interferences at low level when awarding contracts and rural areas being neglected in terms of economic development. In response to this, Pakati assured businesses that the intention of the City is to bring more investment into the City not minimise it. “We are working with other stakeholders to look at what measures can be brought to local businesses to retain and grow the current investment, this work is being done with the Department of Trade and Industry because they have an existing Supply Side Policy which we do not want to duplicate,” said Pakati. Another concern was the inefficiency of the Monitoring and Evaluation of the Metro Growth and Development Strategy. Pakati said that tools are being developed for the strategy and the City is currently reviewing the Supply Chain Policy Framework to include some of the issues raised such as the 30 percent participation of local businesses. “It has been agreed in council that upon conclusion of the framework compilation, all relevant stakeholders will be engaged with for their input,” said Pakati. Attending stakeholders also emphasised that there must be separation between business and politics. Pakati acknowledged the concern but affirmed that the awarding of tenders follows a process which is defined by the Municipal Finance Management and there are no politicians operating in that space. He continued to say that tenders go through a bidding evaluation process and an adjudication process where political interference is barred. Closing off the meeting Speaker of Council Alfred Mtsi said that the principle of meaningful participation was exercised during this engagement. He assured stakeholders that their participation will be expressed in the development of processes undertaken for governance and administration. In closing Pakati announced that there will be a Council Open Day on Tuesday May 16, the adoption of the financial IDP/Budget on May 26 and the State of the Metro Address will be on Thursday 22 June. Frenchman wins EL Ironman 70.3 Guilaume took part in the 10th edition of the Standard Bank Ironman 70.3 South Africa held on Sunday, 29 January 2017. Gailaume described his race as a perfect race, saying that he fought hard to create a gap, finishing with a two minute lead ahead of South Africans James Cunnama finishing second and Kyle Buckingham, who took the third spot at the podium. “At the end of the bike ride I was leading by six minutes, I knew then that victory was certain but I had to keep fighting because I was up against the best,” said Gauilaume. He encouraged other triathletes to never give up even when the going gets tough. “Last year, I was tempted to stop competing in triathlons altogether because the past two years were very difficult, but my winning spirit would not let me quit. I trained harder and today my hard work has paid off,” said Gauilaume. Meanwhile, Britain’s Jodie Cunnama who confirmed her status as the most commanding female triathlete winning her seventh consecutive title expressed a mixture of relief and satisfaction with her win. “It was not an easy win, the race gets harder every year and having won six consecutive races there is a lot of pressure to retain the title, I am relieved and happy with the outcome,” said Cunnama. A delighted Susie Cheetham from Britain was the well-deserved runner up, with Poland’s Jerzyk Agnieszka in third place. Over 3000 competitors gathered at Orient Beach for the 1.9 kilometre ocean swim, followed by a 90.1 kilometre bike ride and a 21.1 kilometre run in temperatures hitting the lower 30’s. Ironman Communications Specialist, Michael Flanagan said that they are happy to host yet another successful Ironman 70.3 race which shines an international spotlight on the Metro and contributes to its economy. “The influx of athletes and travelling companions provides a substantial tourism injection into the Buffalo City Metro, bringing an estimated R40 million worth of direct spend into the City for the period of the event,” said Flanagan. He also added that reaching ten years is a big milestone. “Over the years this event has grown in size and stature and has become a major fixture on the international calendar.” IDP Budget Meetings kicked off The roadshows are set by the metro for communities give share their views on the 2017/18 financial year budget and planning. Below is the list of priorities raised by community members in each of the following wards. Ward 35 met at Quzini Hall with the following priorities raised. In Balasi Valley requested the clearing of bushes, fencing around the dam in Balasi Valley where a young boy recently drowned, the upgrading of sports facilities around the ward, the construction of roads across the ward, the community requested for land to use as a graveyard and a request for toilets was made. Ward 36 residents gathered at Mzintshane Community Hall raised issues ranging from the building of RDP Houses, a community hall has been requested for an upgrade, the electrification of houses in the Ward and construction of ablution facilities including the revitalisation of the factories in a bid to create employment in the ward and a request for speed humps in a nearby school for children cross the main road and high mast lights have been requested as well as the fixing of streetlights. Ward 38 had their meeting at the Dikidikana Community Hall with over 100 residents attending and raising issues including electrification of houses, construction of destitute housing units, ablution facilities in Lieveldt, Mamata and Mxaxo, water outages to be looked into, installation of taps, roads to be re-graveled and youth programmes to be a priority. Dubu Community Hall was filled up with residents from Ward 40, with the purpose of sharing their views and also give the municipal officials guidance on which areas needs to be improved in their area. Areas of improvement and in Ward 40 include the building of a community Hall in Qongqotha, a request to enforce by-laws on those who own shebeens about the opening and closing times of business, the fencing of cemeteries that are being damaged by livestock, housing rectification and construction of better ablution facilities. Another concern in the area includes a bridge that needs to be constructed in the Fordmarie are and streetlights. Ward 45 met in Berlin Hall with residents requesting for high mast lights, land, new houses for the wooden houses beneficiaries and the upgrading of stormwater drainages. The IDP Meetings for this week will continues as follows: on Thursday 20 April Ward 41 will meets at Nolizwe Mnyaka Community Hall, at 5pm, Ward 37 the meeting will be at Schornville Hall at 5pm, while Ward 39 will hold their meeting at Weir Hall at 5pm and Ward 44 meets at Sweetwaters Hall at 5pm at Sweetwaters Community Hall. For an updated schedule for the rest of the month visit http://www.buffalocitymetro.gov.za/Portals/0/slides/BCM IDP Schedule.jpg There will be an open council day held 16 May and the adoption of the final IDP and Budget will take place on Wednesday 31 May. The Executive Mayor Councilor Xola Pakati will deliver the State of the Metro Address, 22 June. Bursary Fund continues to change lives Raised in a low income family in NU2 Mdantsane, Tutu knew that his single mother Nombulelo Mkhokeli who works as a Nurse Assistant would not be able to afford university fees when he matriculates and that he would need a bursary to further his studies. However, Tutu admitted that he was not always been a dedicated student because during his early high school years, he had to deal with the struggles of peer pressure, that got him involved with the wrong crowd to be perceived as ‘cool’ and being mischievous. “In my first year of high school, I tried to choose my friends wisely but somewhere along the way I found myself belonging to a group where I was unable to exercise good judgment.” “Grade 11 was the hardest year for me, I had deeply succumb to peer pressure which hurt my mother a lot and one day I found myself sitting on a bathroom floor thinking about the direction my life was taking - that day I made a decision that I would refocus and dedicate all of my time to my school work and today I look back on that day and just thank God for the intervention,” he said. The turning point in the young man’s life came at the right time as he made it through Grade 12 with commendable results, obtaining a distinction in Physical Science. The Ulwazi High School former learner was one of the beneficiaries who were awarded with full bursaries during the Mayoral Bursary Fund Handover on Wednesday, 15 February 2016 at the East London City Hall. The Bursary covers all university costs including registration fees, tuition, prescribed study literature and materials as well as institutional accommodation and meals Tutu is enrolled at the Walter Sisulu University for a National Diploma in Analytical Chemistry, a field that has been of interest to him since Grade 10. “I have always been obsessed with experiments in the laboratory and the understanding of how various elements make up substances. This has been my field of interest and my love for it is growing with every lecture I attend,” he said. Recognising the value of this opportunity, Tutu expressed appreciation for the break saying that he will not take it for granted. “I know that there were many other deserving students so I do not take this grand opportunity for granted.” I am determined to take full advantage of this chance and make something of my life,” said Tutu. Executive Mayor Xola Pakati congratulated the beneficiaries, motivating them to commit to their studies and seal their own fate of success. Pakati also added that the skilling of young people is a major investment for the City. “I strongly believe that you will make an immense contribution towards the economic growth of the Metro, and we know that through your skills, we will overcome many of the challenges that have a negative impact on the socio-economic outlook of our municipality.” He further motivated saying that commitment, discipline and a vision to build a bright future for yourselves and your communities will produce great success. 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