2 November City launches swimming project for kids November 2, 2017 By Tabisa Mntengwana Latest News 0 Drownings are listed as one of the top causes of unnatural death amongst children in South Africa especially during the festive season. The City in its efforts to eliminate these fatalities has embarked on a six-month swimming programme with 20 youngsters in Buffalo City from ages of nine to 15. These kids will be equipped with water safety skills and an introduction on swimming. Every summer, thousands of visitors flock to the beaches in BCM and sadly so, many families go back home with one of their loved ones wrapped in a body plastic bag. To prevent any more of these tragedies, the Metro and its Sister City, the City of Leiden established a Water Safety Project in January 2016 where youngsters from Isibindi Child and Youth Care and Safe Park in Duncan Village were given introductory swimming lessons and trained on water safety. This year, the programme continues with a six-month swimming programme where 20 youngsters from the Safe Park and another 20 from Scenery Park ages nine to 15 will be equipped with water safety skills. The group from Scenery Park are children who were involved in the drowning tragedy at the Umzonyana Dam in Scenery Park where a young life was lost in February 2017. The programme will ensure the identified participants are able to practice water safety activities in different aquatic environments and are able to swim and surf in a safe and fun way. BCMM Spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya said, “It is our aim that the life skill of swimming is imparted to as many children as possible and that they are exposed to the different forms of water sport including swimming, diving and surfing without fear.” Buffalo City and the City of Leiden will spend a total of R137 550 towards the project covering costs that include swimming equipment and gear, transport to the venue and salaries for the project team. The programme was launched on Wednesday 1 November 2017 at the Orient Beach Pool. Speaking at the event, one of the learners Lisa Quluba who was very excited to benefit from the programme said, “I look forward to learning how to swim because I want to be able to save others.” Motivating the participants, International Surfer, Craig Jarvis said, “Every time I see a young child get on a surfing board for the first time, I relive my childhood as I recall standing on my very first wave here at the orient beach.” He then encouraged them to get familiar with the sea water as “the ocean can be your best friend but it can also be your enemy that is why safety is very important, it is sad to hear of children drowning at sea when it can be prevented through training and education.” Special Programmes Portfolio Head, Xolani Witbooi appealed to the young group to commit fully to the programme so that one day they can represent the City at international sporting events such as the Olympic Games and also impart the knowledge to others. Related Water safety for Duncan Village kids The group is part of the Duncan Village Isibindi Child and Youth Care and Safe Park project which is a programme between the Metro and its sister city the City of Leiden. The swimming programme kicked off on Monday 25 January and will end on Sunday 7 February. According to a Municipal Report the Water Safety Project is being funded by the Leiden Stitchting Stedenband who contributed towards the establishment of the Duncan Village Isibindi and Safe Park programme. “The current Water Safety project includes activities ranging from basic water safety skills and basic swimming lessons which are provided by the Dutch foreign national sports coach.” Speaking about the benefits of the programme Koliswa Notwala Duncan Village Coordinator for Isibindi Child and Youth Care project said, “This has been a great opportunity for our children and we are hoping that in the near future our funders wont only look for swimming but help our kids to be involved in other sporting codes – soccer, rugby or music.” She added that the children will benefit a lot from the swimming project is it is rare to find children from disadvantaged backgrounds with proper swimming skills. Speaking to one of the beneficiaries 12 year old Zusakhe Soqhaga said, “The swimming lessons will help me when I go to the beach with my family during the holidays.” Adding to that Liyema Cekisa who is also part of the project said that the swimming lessons will help when she is playing in the water. “I will know what to do to be safe.” Sharing his views about the programme Dutch Coach Maarten Weeda said, “It has been a great experience to be working with the kids, others are learning fast and with others I have to be patient as they are sometimes afraid of the water.” Electricity Smart Meter Technology This process will kick off with the industrial and commercial sections as the first phase and later in the project the domestic billing will kick off as phase two. This project includes the electricity meter audit, changing the old meters to the new smart meters. “We have picked up that many businesses in this City, in fact over 100, are using old meter systems that are outdated and ultimately cost their bottom line,” Ngwenya. The City is aiming at replacing at least 200 industrial and commercial sites as part of the pilot phase to be implemented in the 2017/ 2018 financial year. Thereafter the program will be rolled out to the masses. This is a transversal contact (RT 15/2016) done by BCMM and is supported by the National Treasury. Th primary benefits of the project for the consumer includes accurate billing, better monitoring of electricity consumption through a Mobile App and completeness of monthly billing. A Mobile App (SmartWire) has been developed for consumers to monitor their electricity consumption. The App gives the consumer to view their electricity consumption in a 30-minute interval. In the later stage the City will have a USSD for easy access to consumers with queries. The City also has a control room (Intelligence Operating Centre) which is situated at the Munnifin building 3rd floor to deal with the roll out and implementation. At least R59 000 will be spent in changing the old meters to the new smart system in the first phase. For more information on the kindly email the Project Manager Office on Smart_Metering_Query@buffalocity.gov.za “We are tightening the screws and ensuring that the City is innovative, connected and productive in its approach to service delivery. In October we introduced an advanced prepaid vending system which enabled people to buy electricity in the luxury of their comfort and increased many vending areas. “Now this platform is meant to supplement that and all these efforts that we are putting together to enable people to monitor their consumption, budget properly and ultimately be able to pay for services easily,” Ngwenya. Buffalo City Homestay Programme to kickoff in August The homestay concept was adapted from the Metro’s sister city Jinhua, Zhejiang Province in China. Jinhua launched the “Home-stay in Jinhua’s historical Villages” project in 2015. Through this project Jinhua City aimed to tell the story of Jinhua and promote its rural villages by attracting tourists from all over the world who are interested in travelling to historical villages. The Metro saw the need to implement a similar project because of the rich cultural and historical background pertaining to the Xhosa Culture, and the realisation that cultures across the country are slowly being eroded by western influence and therefore need to be preserved. The project will aim to transform Mngqesha into an international center for ecotourism with distinctive local cultural elements, as well as provide an attraction for international visitors to the City. It will also ensure that surrounding rural villages are working centres of economic activity so that villagers do not leave for the cities, but contribute to developing rural villages. 30 international applicants who have a strong interest in South Africa and in particular the Xhosa culture, will be selected for the two week stay in Mngqesha Great Place and will have direct experience of living in a Xhosa Village, its culture, history, folklore, architecture, art, crafts and cuisine. They will also have the opportunity to experience other interesting sites and places of interest in the City. Participants will be required to make suggestions on improving all aspects of the village as a cultural tourist attraction and produce promotional material such as pamphlets, maps and web articles to create an interest in the respective participant countries to visit the project. The two-week exchange will then conclude with the project evaluation as well as the Farewell Ceremony where participants will have the opportunity to show off their talents and skills to the local villagers. For application forms to be part of the Homestay Programme follow the link: http://www.buffalocitymetro.gov.za/Portals/0/slides/HOMESTAY_IN_SOUTHAFRICA_APPLICATION_FORM.pdf Electricity Indaba hosted by the Metro According to a Metro’s press statement Municipal Report the Indaba aims to give various role players in the electricity sector to discuss and inform all of the impact and cost of illegal implications as well as the occupational health impact the illegal connections have on the people and electrical infrastructure of the Metro. The Electricity Indaba also discussed the alternative energy systems that the City is already using and future plans. Some of the topics that were discussed include legal implications, the effect that illegal connections impact on the community and electricity losses. Speaking about the purpose of the day Portfolio Head for Infrastructure Services Mteteleli Sam said, “The purpose of this session is to discuss and debate issues that affect a large portion of our population, which is the issue of illegal connections. “Illegal connections do not only affect BCMM as an institution but it deals with the day to day impact on the Metro’s ability to provide an effective service to all, as electricity and energy affect the day to day lives of the citizens of the Metro.” He added that illegal connections affect the Metro’s budget as funding is spent to replace and repair networks that are damaged, on a more social level they have also resulted in the identified deaths of at least 47 BCMM residents, some of which have been innocent by standers of this illegal act. Some of the stakeholders that were there include, SAPS, Southern African Revenue Protection Association (SARPA), Eskom (Operation Khanyisa Program) the Department of Energy, the Department of Labour and Border Kei Chamber of Business. Speaking about the Metro’s electricity and energy status quo Acting HOD for Engineering Services Luyanda Mbula said, “The electricity department intends to continue with its capitalisation program. The department completed a major project in June 2015 with the 80 MVA Queenspark Zoo substation coming in line, this has improved supply to the CBD and also ensures additional capacity for RDP Electrification.” “We have completed over 200 projects in the last three years to upgrading, refurbishing and renewing cables, transformers, switch gear, mini substation and switch houses.” “We work hand in hand with the Department of Energy, we apply for funding based on information we receive from the Department of Human Settlement, at the moment the back log that we have for electrification of formal houses is at 2500 housing un-electrified houses,” adds Mbula. He added that the department has a severe shortage of skilled labour, the plant, vehicles and equipment need to be replaced, aging infrastructure that needs to be replaced, and theft of copper and vandalism of equipment. The session ended with lively debates that included possible short, mid and long term solutions and have programmed way forward to address the electrical and energy challenges within the Metro and surrounding areas. MGDS vision to bolster the City The purpose of the day was for the City representatives and external stakeholders to interact, represent community needs and priorities to be achieved by 2030. Speaking at the meeting Executive Mayor for Buffalo City Metro Alfred Mtsi said, “I want to see space created for the many super talented Metro citizens who have good ideas on how to save the future of the city.” The City’s MGDS Coordinator Abongile Dlani listed five strategic outcomes to be achieved in the next five years that include: · Creating an innovative and productive city with rapid and inclusive economic growth and falling unemployment; · A green, clean and healthy city of subtropical gardens that makes the best of its natural assets; · A connected city with cheap, high quality connections to information and communications technology (ICT) and · A well governed city and a spatially integrated city. Dlani presented the Metro’s MGDS overview which puts officials to work building business confidence by supporting thriving sectors which in turn would lead to more growth and jobs. The over view calls for quick decision making when dealing with investors and most importantly for the Metro to release land for development and economic growth. Acting General Manager of the IDP and Performance Management System Nozuko Frans highlighted priority issues and challenges the Metro needs to focus on. “BCM has prioritised finding houses for the disabled and people who have been on the housing list for more than 20 years, meeting requests for toilets, water supply, fixing faulty electrical poles, upgrading and maintaining sports fields, regularly collecting refuse, building new storm drains and maintaining existing drains.” The outcomes of the summit have been adopted by Council at the executive mayoral lekgotla that was held on November 16 t0 18 and that they should reflect in the new Integrated Development Plan (IDP). The meeting also comprised of three clusters that include Institutional and finance that covers communication, By-laws, Public participation, budgeting, special programmes, disabled, elderly and youth. Economic development for SMMEs, agriculture, tourism, safety, disaster, fire and rescue services, environmental health and township economy. Infrastructure and Spatial that include water, electricity, roads, sanitation, spatial planning, human settlements, urban generation and transportation. The socio- economic cluster which is led by BCMM Executive Mayor called for linkages to rural development with manufacturing plants to supply the rural areas. The forum called for the establishment of an investment council and the revival of the metro agricultural forum. First Mayoral Imbizo kicked off on Tuesday 10 October in King William's Town at the City Hall Hundreds of Buffalo City Metro Municipality residents braved the cold weather conditions to attend the first Mayoral Imbizo in the king Williams Town City Hall Tuesday 10 October. The venue was changed after following advice from the Disaster Management Unit from Victoria Grounds, despite the wet conditions residents still showed up in numbers to engage the City’s leadership lead by the Executive Mayor Xola Pakati, his Mayoral Committee, Speaker, Chief Whip and administrators lead by City Manager Andile Sihlala. Charing the session, Council Speaker Alfred Mtsi acknowledged 26 community members representing the 13 wards which form the Inland Region, allowing for two questions per ward. The City is pleased with the turnout which led to an overflow due to space restrictions. The day started with a site visit to the Berlin November venue to inspect the work being done in anticipation of the signature event. Infrastructure is one of the 10 priorities identified by the Mayor and his committee, it is therefore imperative that progresses is assessed and monitored on a regular basis. Project sites to be visited include the Phakamisa waste water treatment works plant site and the Tshatshu and Qalashe Bridge. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held in Kuwait to signify the completion of a VIP toilets project. Lastly there will be two projects launched on the day. An Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) waste mini station and cleaning project and the Barcelona 10 communal toilets and taps in Zwelitsha. Pakati will give feedback on matters raised in the previous meeting and also relay future plans the City has in delivery adequate services. Members of the community will also be given a chance to raised issues affecting them in their communities. The Mayoral Imbizo forms part of government public participation processes as well as bringing government closer to the people. The Imbizo roadshows continue as follows: • 12 October – Mdantsane at the NU6 Sports Field opposite the NU6 Mall at 12h00 • 13 October – Mzamomhle sports field at 12h00 • 15 October – Ncerha Village 2 field opposite the community hall at 12h00 Comments are closed.