We understand that the process took longer than it was supposed to but we had to be thorough so that we get the best candidate that can fulfil the task of taking Buffalo City to greater heights. We believe that we have found that candidate in Mr Mxolisi Yawa.
Mr Yawa finds our municipality in good health in terms of governance fundamentals and service delivery architecture. Although our systems are imperfect, they are working and we made it clear that we require him to mature these so that our municipality can be put on an upward trajectory economically and socially. I always make the point that we have done a lot, but more still needs to be done and that more must be done. Having a highly professional and competent City Manager will help our institution to work harder, smarter and with increased agility.
The 2021 Local Government Elections saw an increase in electoral support of the governing party, and this proved the fact that our residents were quite pleased with the progress they are seeing in their city and they were giving us the mandate to do more. We also acknowledged the fact that the electoral support was not a blank cheque, but it required certain things to be done better and much faster, and we committed ourselves to focus on these. This term is therefore about firming up what we have achieved over the past term, correcting those things that have not been adequately addressed and consolidating a legacy of development for all the people of Buffalo City. We are welcoming our new City Manager during this period when need to accelerate development and delivery to our residents.
Amongst the many tasks that Mr Yawa will be ceased with, is the review and implementation of our Metro Growth and Development Strategy, Vision 2030 which seeks to build a Buffalo City that is highly productive, green and clean, spatially transformed, globally connected and well-governed.
This being a period where we are still recovering from the effects of COVID-19, we need a clearly outlined and well-executed economic strategy. We need clear plans and actions for consolidating our status as an automotive city, including deepening the local supply chain impact and diversifying our economy into new growth sectors and industries. We know that this will be tough due to the energy constraints that we are currently facing as a country, but we are confident that the person we have appointed will be able to better navigate this challenging terrain.
One thing that gets our economy working is the fact that we have very cordial relations with businesses, and we have a regular open platform where we invite businesses to raise their concerns and we raise ours. This relationship has worked well over the years and the City Manager will work to ensure that it is not only maintained but strengthened. One of the key projects birthed by our solid relations with business is the Call-to-Action programme done with the Border Kei Chamber of Commerce and Business.
Our City manager will also help us to better address apartheid spatial patterns by accelerating the provision of adequate housing and affordable services in better living environments. Council already has a land audit that will better guide the management in human settlement development and land use management. Amongst other tasks at hand is addressing the proliferation of land grabbers that are undermining our efforts of spatially transforming the City.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We have created the building blocks for a smart city that is globally connected and we need this to now be taken to new heights so that we eventually have a technologically smart city, with sophisticated transport and telecommunications systems. Our City Manager will have to pay detailed attention to our information and communication technology to improve the digital capacities of not only our city but of our businesses and residents.
Another task at hand is creating a clean city and this should be a major preoccupation. We have already invested a lot of resources in the waste management fleet and infrastructure, and we also created a dedicated Waste Management Directorate with a permanent Head of Directorate. This has resulted in the city being cleaner than it used to but we are not at the place where we want to be. We want to be the cleanest and greenest city in South Africa, and we know we can count on Mr Yawa and the entire management to get us there.
Good governance is the main pillar of all the work that needs to be achieved. I always raise the point that the fundamental objective of increasing the speed of service delivery and development vests on there being a capable and credible local state with all the required systems and competent management.
In the previous financial year, we achieved an unqualified audit and we want this to now be successive clean audits. Our new City Manager, Mr Yawa is the man for this job as he has presided over the Senqu Municipality during a period where that municipality achieved successive clean audits. We want clean audits in our city and we want them to be supplemented by adequate development.
Members of the Media,
Beyond all of these, we know that several challenges characterised the work of the municipality and these are things that our residents and business consumers have an interest in. One of these is the issue of billing. Mr Yawa comes here knowing that he will have to work hard to make this a thing of the past.
The stepping up of law enforcement efforts is another area that needs attention. Municipal infrastructure is being vandalised by thieves who are selling our cables to strap metal dealers and before the President responds to our call for the banning of scrap metal dealers, we expect deliberate actions to be taken regarding this industry in our city.
Whilst all of this is being done, basic maintenance will also form priority, more particularly projects such as pothole patching and road resurfacing within townships and suburbs.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media,
This was our way of introducing our new City Manager, Mr Mxolisi Yawa, to you and the residents of our city. My remarks are not conclusive on our expectations from Mr Yawa and also our reasons for having chosen him to be our City Manager. As the City Manager settles in his office, we will begin all the processes of contracting and the issues that our residents and consumers continue to raise will form part of his performance contract. We are confident that he will deliver.
Join me in welcoming Mr Mxolisi Yawa into our city and I am sure all of you, like me, are excited about this new journey we are starting.
I thank you!