5 July BCM increases capital budget by 11 percent July 5, 2017 By Tabisa Mntengwana Latest News 0 THOUSANDS of Buffalo City Metro residents can look forward to a promising new financial year in July after Executive Mayor Xola Pakati announced during his State of the Metro Address that the capital budget had increased by 11 percent. Pakati said the metro’s progressive allocation of capital budget was testimony of the City’s commitment “to better the living conditions of the urban and rural communities.” This means that more money will be allocated to making sure that the different needs of BCM communities – ranging from upgrading and provision of wastewater infrastructure, water services, the upgrade and construction of roads infrastructure network and storm water drainage systems, human settlements, electricity services and transport planning among other services – will be implemented. To ensure work will be done and to complement the R1.65 billion capital budget set for the upcoming year, Pakati said there were plans to roll out training and awareness to all Metro employees to also ensure reduced fraud and corruption tolerance. In the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 financial years, the capital budget is further expected to grow to R2.22 billion and R2.39 billion respectively. “We will be taking on a multifaceted and multidisciplinary approach, which involves educating employees during policy workshops about the strategy. Distribution of frequently asked questions to employees is to be done on a regular basis to enhance awareness and strengthen early detection and prevention,” Pakati said. Under its adopted theme Unity in action, A City Hard at Work, the Metro is moving ahead with its plan to position itself as a logistics hub of the Eastern Cape and taking advantage of its geographic location. Transnet has committed to funding the East London Port expansion programme and Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has committed to expanding the operations of the East London Airport in an effort to respond to the imperative of being a logistics centre. From next month, the construction of a R70 million bridge linking Needs Camp and Potsdam will commence. Residents of Qalashe will have a brand new pedestrian bridge by the end of July. A contractor has already been on site. Pakati said other road networks and links that would unlock the city’s development potential included: ● The North West Corridor, scheduled to start in May next year; ● Awarding of phase 7 of the upgrading of Mdantsane’s Qumza Highway to a dual carriageway is expected at the end of this month and ● Pedestrian bridges planned in Scenery Park, Duncan Village-Buffalo Flats, Duncan Village- Matinzima, Duncan Village-Gesini, Cambridge Location Phase 3, Amalinda Forest and Sithembiso Senior Secondary School in Mdantsane’s NU3. Other spatial plans include reversing apartheid spatial planning. This includes a review of the Bonza Bay local spatial development framework, which has already commenced to update and make additional land use policy proposals for the Bonza Bay Road study area. Staying true to its commitment of servicing the advantaged and disadvantaged, BCM set goals in the upcoming financial year, including the electrification of 1 000 informal dwellings and 1 600 formal dwellings. The rural areas will also not be left out as BCM will work closely with Eskom who supply electricity to all rural areas within the metro’s jurisdiction. Related 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. R13 million budget for street lighting The maintenance and the lack of street lights has been one of the issues raised by the resident during the draft Integrated Development Plant (IDP) and Budget roadshows. Project Manager Jean Smit said, “The aim of the project is to improve lighting levels and save energy within the areas of the Metro as well as to meet government policy of access to safe electricity for all.” In addressing the challenges faced by residents in certain areas when it is dark Smit said they have assembled a team that go at night to check the hot spots. “We have a seven day maintenance programme where there’s a spotting team that drives around at night to identify all the maintenance that needs to be done. They then submit their findings to the maintenance team to do the work in the morning.” Smit said at least 156 highmast lights have been erected and completed at the moment in the costal, inland and midland and that makes 63 percent of work that has been done.” He added that an additional 248 installations of highmast lights is anticipated to be completed in the current financial year. “The highmast lights that we install are 14 meters long to make it difficult for illegal connects and vandalism.” The programme has kicked off in three areas that include Mdantsane, Duncan Village and Dimbaza. Another project that the section is currently working on is the installation of concrete poles for the street lights along the Black Road. “Due to the vandalism that is happening in Ziphunzana Bypass. We have started installing concrete poles for the street lighting in Duncan Village, Gompo and Buffalo Flats to put a stronger electricity supply.” said Smit. However, he said illegal connections are a huge challenge in Ziphunzana and as a result three street lights are not working. “Already there are three lights in the Ziphunzana Bypass that are off due to illegal connections and electricity theft.” He said the section do not put street lights and highmast in informal settlements for safety purposes as they damage the electrical network, electricity theft and according to the law due to vandalism. “The electricity department is currently electrifying informal areas that meet the approved Council criteria.” The project has created job opportunities for BCMM residents said Smit. “BCMM residents are being employed by contractors that are hired by the Metro to do those electrification projects.” Smit added that there is not enough budget to cover all the areas of BCMM, “if we can have more budget we can do more projects.” he adds. Illegal connections have been the cause of several deaths and have caused a very unsafe working environment for the department to work.” Any electricity fault can be reported on 043 742 1437 before 8pm and after 8pm you can call the Call Centre on 043 742 2131. 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. Save Water Now BCMM Council has approved implementation of water usage restrictions as per the Dam Operating Rules. This is based on the latest dam figures which reveal that the main dam which supplies East London and Mdantsane, the Briddledrift dam, was recorded to be below 40 percent in the latest available data. The latest figure of this dam as at 39.1 percent. The other dams that supplies the City are Nahoon dam, which supplies East London and Mdantsane (currently sitting at 47 percent) and Rooikrantz dam (currently sitting at 90 percent). Buffalo City’s main reserve dam, the Wriggleswade Dam, which is managed by Amatola Water on behalf of the Department of water and Sanitation, is currently sitting at 85 percent. However, with the main dam now below 40 percent, the City is already sourcing water its reserve, the Wriggleswade Dam. The latest statistics below show a significant drop in dam levels in some of the main dams when compared to the same period in the previous year, which indicates that a drought situation is closely approaching the municipality if the expected rains do not materialize this summer. IDP Roadshows kick off The roadshows are held as part of the City’s plan to involve residents on the next financial year budget and planning. The first meetings were held at Skenjana Roji Hall in Bhisho for Ward 43, War Memorial Hall for Ward 35 and Phola Park Hall in Dimbaza for Ward 34. Speaking at Ward 34 meeting Portfolio Head for Municipal Services said that the objectives of the meeting is to present the draft IDP 2016/2021 and the mid-term revenue and expenditure budget for 2016/17 and financial year 2018/19. “The meeting is also to highlight service delivery achievements in each ward and present the proposed budget and projects of the wards.” He concluded saying that the meeting will also give an opportunity for residents of the ward to comment on the draft IDP and Budget before it is tabled in council for adoption. Discussed topic at various wards include bush clearing, grass cutting, illegal dumping, housing projects, the quality of roads constructions, library renovations at Ward 34 and street lightning. The next IDP Roadshows are as follows: Wednesday 20 April: Gompo Hall for Ward 2 at 5pm, Robbie de Lange Hall for Ward 46 at 5pm, Carnegie Hall for Ward 27 at 5pm and NU 5 Rent Office for Ward11 at 5pm. Council Open Day The public hearings took place from 14 April until 13 May to communicate the plans of the City and future development to residents and stakeholders for the 2016/17 financial year. The objective of the day was to give feedback on key issues raised from the wards and also reflect on matter raised by the business fraternity and the traditional leaders. Speaking at the Council Open Day, Executive Mayor Alfred Mtsi said, “The priorities for the next finical year are to provide adequate housing for residents, providing clean and safe drinking water and creating various ideas to ensure the City is kept clean.” “The strategic outcomes we have set out as a Metro are to be an innovative and productive, green, connected, well – governed and spatially transformed City.” “Indeed we have made strides in attempting to realise our vision of being a developmental local government,” said Mtsi. Presenting at the council open day Mtsi said, “A total of over 200 000 households in the Metro have access to water and over 90 percent receive the basic minimum requirements.” He also added that the electricity department spent over 90 percent of its R85 million budget on refurbishing, upgrading and enhancing the electrical network throughout the City he also said that over 16 000 indigent people receive free basic electricity since the financial year of 2014/2015. In regards to housing Mtsi said, “Second Creek residents received decent housing with full ownership due to the quality of the housing unit delivered by the Human Settlements Directorate the Metro has also won an award for the best rural housing project.” He also added that as part of the rural development programme many housing opportunities will be provided to many rural communities in the Metro. “It is our mandate to provide basic waste management services to citizens of the City this includes street sweeping, waste and litter collection, refuse removal and sundry solid waste management services,” said Mtsi. Mtsi also mentioned some of the challenges facing the Metro such as illegal dumping, land for central transfer station, community mindset, behaviors and enforcing waste management by-laws. Looking at roads, Mtsi said that currently the Roads Department is operating a ward based project which consist of 500 volunteers, 10 volunteers per ward. “The ward based volunteers will assist with pothole patching and storm water clearing,” said Mtsi. The meeting was attended by various key stakeholders of the IDP such as Councillors, Municipal Officials, Community Development Workers (CDW), Traditional leaders and private sector as well as members of the public were invited to engage and discuss the implementation of the IDP and to discuss the successful projects that have been completed in the Metro thus far. The open day was part of the public hearings before the adoption of the 2016/2017 IDP and budget by Council on 31 May. Comments are closed.