1 February Catch the Audit Opinion Media Briefing Live February 1, 2018 By Tabisa Mntengwana Latest News 0 Catch the Executive Mayor Xola Pakati together with the City Manager Andile Sihlahla, live at the East London ICC on Thursday 1 February addressing the media in giving perspective on the improved audit opinion that was conducted by the Auditor General. Buffalo City Metro is the only Eastern Cape Metro to receive an unqualified audit opinion for the 2016/17 financial year. Catch the briefing live on DispatchLIVE, TruFM, Keith Ngesi Radio (KNR), MdanstaneFM, KumkaniFM, www.buffalocitymetro.gov.za and on Facebook: @BuffaloCityMetro page. Follow the proceedings on: https://www.facebook.com/dispatchdd/videos/10155515084382779/?hc_ref=ARS2Ma7riVj4IzWtWap8-XOhJ5idRwQfQLhwuknHgqUwFppTFjX9dnOw2Zo3SIxo3jI Related Audit Opinion Media Briefing The Media Briefing will be held at the East London ICC at 10.30am. Buffalo City Metro is the only Eastern Cape Metro to receive an unqualified audit opinion for the 2016/17 financial year. Catch the briefing live on DispatchLIVE, TruFM, Keith Ngesi Radio (KNR), www.buffalocitymetro.gov.za and on Facebook: @BuffaloCityMetro page. 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. Service delivery projects monitored The projects that were visited include the construction of sidewalks in Dimbaza, re-gravelling of internal roads in Cwengcwe Village, Joubert Street Mini-Substation replacement in KWT and the replacement of School Street Mini-Substation. The site visits took place on Thursday 4 May. Speaking about the purpose of the site visit Portfolio Head for Infrastructure Services Ncedo Kumbaca said that, the visits are set to monitor the progress of the projects and to make sure that everything is going according to plan. “It is the municipality’s responsibility to ensure that money spent on upgrading our facilities and infrastructure in the metro is used appropriately.” The first visit was the sidewalk construction in Dimbaza. Currently, the excavation has been completed and the team is busy with levelling and concrete pouring. This project is set to be completed by the end of May. The village of Cwengwe which was previously under the Amathole Municipality was the second area to be visited. There is a project of re-gravelling of roads. “Cwengwe is one of the areas inherited from Amathole District Municipality. The area doesn’t have access to running water, sanitation and proper road networks. We need to lay the ground work in terms of infrastructure in order to bring much needed services to the people of this area,” he said. 35 locals from the Cwengwe Village were employed for this project, which has a budget of over R990 000. Following that, the team headed to King William’s Town to assess the progress on the Bulk Electricity Infrastructure Upgrades. According to Kumbaca, two mini-substations have been replaced both in Joubert Street and in School Street. “These mini-substations were over 30 years old, resulting in constant power outages in these areas.” Earlier in the year, there was a fatal accident, where a school boy in the Westbank area where a young learner was electrified while playing near an open electricity box. During the site visits, the delegation met with community members who had raised concerns regarding the condition of boundary boxes, commonly known as “danger boxes” around the King William’s Town area. The boundary boxes were found to be old and in poor condition which prompted that they be urgently replaced. Kumbaca added that the constant influx of people from rural areas to the urban areas has put great pressure on the Metro’s infrastructure and the efficiency in which services are provided. “We are constantly racing to meet the needs of our people in the best way possible.” Site visits are to continue in the East London area as the Metro continues to improve its infrastructure bringing service delivery to the people. Roads essential to service delivery On Tuesday 15 May, The Executive Mayor Councillor Xola Pakati will be launch the upgrading of Mdantsane Roads Cluster 3 project in ward 21 at the NU15 Community Hall. Newly elected MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism Lubabalo Oscar Mabuyane will deliver the keynote address. The project for the upgrading of roads to surfaced standards is valued at over R127 million rand. Part of the scope of work prescribes that 30 percent of the project will be implemented by Small Medium and Macro Enterprises (SMME’s). The upgrading of internal roads is part of the Metro’s intensive campaign to fix roads in Mdantsane and this particular program is aimed at rectifying road challenges which led to the original contract being terminated due to poor performance. 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. Road works central to service delivery At the top of the Metro’s priorities for the villages is for the thousands of villagers to have decent roads and infrastructure. Executive Mayor Xola Pakati said an additional 261km had been assessed from the 28 villages and 20 kilometres already been attended to in April and May. In the new financial year, the Metro is set to continue with the implementation of the roads master plan “to assist with planning for future roads programmes, projects and also with finalisation of the procurement process for the pavement management system”. The Metro prides itself with the R70.7 million Phase 2 of the Quenera-Beacon Bay link road, which is already under construction. Phase 3 of the Mdantsane roads, which is valued at R372-million, and the R128 million Fleet Street projects will also continue. “During March 2017, council approved a memorandum of agreement between the City and the Eastern Cape department of roads and public works in order to address provincial roads within BCM. “The department is exploring alternative resurfacing technology for gravel roads that will yield more stable gravel surface and longer lifespan,” said Pakati during his State of the Metro Address in June. The Metro is also working with South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) to rehabilitate the N2 route between Buffalo River and Breidbach intersection and the N2 route between Alexander Road and Bhisho. “The N2 from Breidbach to the entrance into King William’s Town is currently being overlaid, with a new traffic circle having been constructed at the intersection of the N2 and Hargreaves Road. The section of Alexander Road from the outskirts of King William’s Town to the intersection of Grey Street is currently in progress,” said Pakati. “The section of the N2 route from Grey Street to Cathcart street on Buffalo Road is currently being rehabilitated. “It was the decision of Sanral to extend the rehabilitation of Buffalo Road, which is a provincial road as far as Everitt Close on the outskirts of King William’s Town.” As part of the infrastructure programme, BCM has created 22 000 temporary jobs as part of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) by the end of May, with a salary bill of over R8.5 million. Thousands of young people have been employed in major projects including: ● The upgrading of the Mdantsane gravel roads to surfaced standards cluster 2 where 827 jobs were created; ● 798 jobs were created from the upgrading of Mdantsane gravel roads surfaced standards cluster 3; ● The rehabilitation of Fleet Street created 962 jobs; ● 345 people benefited from the construction of concrete roads east of Gullsway; ● The electrification of Mdantsane Buffer strip saw 339 jobs created and; ● The King William’s Town public transport facilities upgrade has created 316 jobs. Comments are closed.