22 June BCMM SOMA 2017 June 22, 2017 By Tabisa Mntengwana Latest News 0 The State of the Metro Address is held at Abbotsford Christian Centre, the day kicked off with a Media Lock-Up at the East London City Hall at 8:30am. Watch the SOMA live https://youtu.be/CsGNRySkX9c Also, follow us on Facebook (Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality), Twitter (@OfficialBCMM) and listen live on Keith Ngesi Radio (www.keithngesiradio.com) and www.bcmmnews.co.za #BCMMSOMA17 Today's SOMA will be the first in local government to hoist both the SA's National Flag alongside the AU flag and to sing both anthems respectively. Related SONA Activations 2017 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. 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 Mtsi delivers the SOMA Mtsi said the Metro had to operate and deliver adequate services to communities during the difficult economic circumstances due to low global economic growth. “As the Metro we had to do more with less as a result we had to find ways of strengthening the economy through partnerships.” However, the Metro manage its finances well and it was rated the second most financial stable metropolitan municipality in the country by the Rating Africa falling by just two point behind the leader. “The City has achieved a credit rating of A which signifies a strong cash position in the long term with minimal exposure to long term debt.” He said, even though the City is financially self-reliant and it is in a position of taking on additional long term loans, “We will ensure that there is a direct impact on improving the revenue of the municipality through economic growth and job creation.” “In making such decision we will ensure that there is a direct impact on improving the revenue of the Metro,” Mtsi adds. Looking at the 2016/17 new financial year, Mtsi said that 96 percent of the R7.4 billion Capital Budget will be allocated towards service delivery and basic infrastructure to improve service delivery as well as efforts towards Local Economic Development to improve investor appeal to the City. The Executive Mayor also said, the metro is currently upgrading the Zwelitsha and Reeston Waste Water Treatment Works (WWTWs) to regional WWTWs at the value of R500 million and R300 million respectively to improve development in the areas. “We are upgrading Zwelitsha and Reeston Waste Water Treatment Works (WWTW) to regional WWTW at the value of R500 million and R300 million respectively.” In addressing electricity challenges, Mtsi mentioned that the Metro has spent R15 million in electrifying informal settlements in the past financial year and invested more than R400 million into developing and upgrading bulk electricity infrastructure. “In the past financial year more than 887 informal dwellings, received electricity taking the overall figure to 3 085 in the past five years for new electrical connections.” “Over the past five years the Buffalo City Metro has refurbished switch houses, mini-substations, transformers and MV lines at various areas within the Metro,” said Mtsi. In addition to the infrastructure development, the Metro is in discussion with the South African Road Agency (SANRAL) to plan the upgrades of the R72 bypass that links R72 to the N2 as well as the Mount Ruth off-ramp from the N2. He added that the City committed a total of R340 million for upgrade, maintenance and the completion of major projects that include Fleet Street and Gonubie Main Road. On sports and recreation, Mtsi said the City has spent an amount of R12 million to develop safe parks for children including the upgrading of the Buffalo City Stadium to meet the Premier Soccer League standards (PSL). “Sports and recreation is an element of a happy and healthy society and we have recognised the necessity of providing safe playing areas for our children.” He added that the Metro has also initiated a number of multi-year projects aiming at maintaining and enhancing facilities with the redevelopment of the NU 2 swimming pool being one of the flagship projects. The Metro has made great strides in delivering secure and comfortable homes to its citizens and as a result it has been recommended for Level 2 housing accreditation. “We have delivered new low cost houses to vulnerable communities, victims of natural disasters to fight homelessness as well as to communities lying outside the urban edge in the Metro.” He mention that the City has taken the following number of intervention that aim at redressing the inherited socio economic imbalances: • The Integrated Sustainable Human Settlement Plan which will define what is required to unlock housing delivery in strategic areas across the Metro and identify what other social and infrastructural services would be required to do so in a holistic and integrated way; • The Buffalo City Metro’s Informal Settlement Upgrading Policy and Strategy has been developed, accompanied by upgrading plans for 32 informal settlements, through the National Upgrading Support Programme (NUSP); • The Land Identification Study for Partial or Full Relocation of Informal Settlements in BCMM has been adopted by Council; • The Mdantsane Industrial Township Feasibility Study identifies and assesses the suitability of land with industrial and warehousing potential adjacent to Mdantsane along the N2 and • The Newlands Local Spatial Development Framework has been adopted. BCMM Executive Mayor Xola Pakati in Duncan Village C-Section donating to a creche The Little Kids Centre is one of the 271 organizations that applied for the Buffalo City Metro Municipality Grants-In-Aid for assistance to enhance growth of community development. The fund is an initiative done by the Metro to provide grants to non-political and non- profit making organizations to help support and improve BCMM communities. A total of R1.4 million budget has been set aside for the selected organizations across the Metro that deal with child and youth centers, HIV/Aids centers, social and welfare organisations, home-based centers, early childhood development centers, arts and culture organizations, disabled and old age centers, support groups, alcohol and drug centers. Thereafter he joined and addressed the rest of the beneficiaries at the East London City Hall received their allocation which ranges between R10 000 and R30 000. After the event: The Executive Mayor together with the Speaker of Council, Councilor Alfred Mtsi, visited the Reeston area in Dice at 2 pm where people were killed last week and a Councillor was subsequently arrested. The Buffalo City Municipality leadership have come out strongly condemning the acts that have led to violence and loss of life. This was a courtesy visit to the families and local leadership of the area. BCMM youth taking charge of their health At least 200 young people from various areas of Buffalo City Metro were part of the Preventainment initiative which focuses on youth development and health consciousness looking at the scourge of HIV/Aids and teenage pregnancy. The event is an initiative held due to the high rate of teenage pregnancy and the HIV/Aids pandemic at some of the schools in the Buffalo City Metro and also to make awareness to the young people on new infections in young people between the ages of 16 and 25. Preventainment is a term coined by the organisors, linking the message of prevention with entertainment to appeal to youth. The event was intended to encourage youth to make use of available health facilities and engage in open dialogues to express the challenges they face as teenagers. “Our mission as the Metro and the Department of Health is to get the youngsters to engage with us making use of the suggestion boxes and complaint forms at various clinics, hence we came up with the word Preventainment so we understand your struggles as the youth,” said Portfolio Head Xolani Witbooi. During the programme various health issues were discussed including the importance of washing hands, the causes of HIV/Aids, prevention of STIs and it was followed by a demonstration of washing hands. “It is important to wash your hands everytime you need to, including after using the bathroom and before eating,” said Xolisa Melude Health Practitioner from the Community Leader Trust. The day culminated with the youngsters grouped into groups of 10 to discuss topics including the lack of confidentiality from nurses, no services on weekends, substance abuse, the separation of treatment collection points and poverty, peer pressure and lack of knowledge and transparency from parents. One of the youngsters at the event Sange Hibana from Inkwenkwezi High School said, “Events of this nature are important because they teach us about abstinence, the use of condoms and the significance of contraceptives.” Roadworks underway in BCMM According to the Municipal Spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya Fleet Street users need to have a little patience while the City is working hard in making its roads user friendly and up to standard. “Fleet Street users need to have a bit of patience.” While Fleet Street motorists are cautioned to have patience, Batting Bridge users can use the bridge since the weekend as works have been finished in that area. The bridge was closed from July 14 and was opened on Saturday 22 July in time for the schools reopening. The contractor in Fleet Street has over the weekend completed works on the northern side of Fleet Street which is between Station Street and Oxford Street - this section has been tarred and is open for public use over the weekend. A two-way traffic for east and westbound which is towards Quigney and towards the East London Airport direction traffic will be provided with alternative routes. The contractor will then close the southern side and commence with excavations and layer works as of Monday 25 July, with completion of this works anticipated to be achieved by the second week of September this year. Following that, the works will move to Zone 1 works which include the Oxford to Pontoon Roads with road works planned completion to be complete by December this year. “We will advise motorists close to the works beginning accordingly on this stage with finer details of planned works and traffic accommodation and also deploy pointsmen accordingly,” said Ngwenya. Comments are closed.