Let the games begin


The Executive Committee has approved the allocation of R18m as part of the shared costs towards the bidding process for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

A report on the progress of the bidding process for Durban to host the 2022 Games was tabled at the EXCO meeting at City Hall by Deputy City Manager for Community and Emergency Services, Musa Gumede. In October last year Council resolved to support the City’s bid pending the final decision by National Cabinet.

“Cabinet has finally taken the decision to support the bid. A number of meetings have been held between the three spheres of government and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) to kick-start the process. It was agreed that SASCOC will lead the process including the appointment of consultants who will put together the bid document and lobby internationally for our bid,” said Gumede.

The total cost of the bidding process is estimated at R98-million, of which R35m will be shared between the City and the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government for costs associated with preparing the Bid Document, which will include the plans for all the stadiums to be used. Each party will contribute R17.5 and the City has set aside an additional R 500 000 for inbound and outbound travelling, including the hosting of delegations, travelling and lobbying.

Mayor James Nxumalo and two officials will travel to London for the lodgement of the Durban bid on 2 March 2015, which will also mark the launch of the campaign. The host city for the 2022 Games will be announced in September this year.

“If we win the bid the City will be in the news for the seven years leading up to the games. This will be good for tourism and the marketing of the City,” said Mayor Nxumalo.

The EXCO report says that South Africa can host the games as it has proven its capacity to host many international events like the 2010 Soccer World Cup, All Africa Games, Commonwealth Heads of Government and the COP 17 conference.

“Durban has the infrastructure required to host the Games. The dominant funding investments required in terms of infrastructure will be for the rehabilitation and upgrades of existing facilities,” said Gumede.

The Moses Mabhida sports precinct houses many of the required facilities within a walking distance including the Moses Mabhida Stadium, People’s Park, Kings Park Swimming Pool, GrowthPoint (Kings Park) Rugby Stadium, the beachfront promenade, Umngeni River and the Kingsmead Cricket Stadium.

The sporting codes proposed for the 2022 Games are netball, table tennis, shooting, cycling, badminton, judo, weightlifting, wrestling, boxing, lawn bowls, swimming, rugby 7s, athletics, hockey, beach volleyball and triathlon.

Cornubia has been identified for the Commonwealth Games Village with Kingsmead Cricket Oval used as a Media Broadcasting Centre and SABC Land/Kingsmead Office Park will be used as an International Broadcasting Centre.

Last year the City sent a team on a fact finding mission during the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

Midterm budget review lauded

EXCO has lauded the City’s performance in the first two quarters of the 2014/15 financial year which painted a positive picture of the service delivery and budget performance assessment. A report on the mid-year Budget and Performance Management as of 31 December 2014 was tabled before EXCO.

Highlighting the achievements, Finance and Procurement Committee Chairperson Fawzia Peer said the City still maintained a healthy credit rating which is the best globally compared to other municipalities.

“All rating agencies have indicated that the Municipality has received positive results. This is great as the overall national credit rating has been downgraded and this result has indicated that eThekwini Municipality is in a stable position and it must be kept that way,” she said. Cllr Peer said that the positive credit rating is due to the strict measures of compliance and monitoring controls currently in place. The City maintained the above average debt collection rate of 103.9% and has 69 days cash on hand.

“The Municipal Manager must be commended for adhering to strict control measures as the report indicates that as at 31 December 2014 no irregular expenditure has been reported. This is mainly due to the Municipal Manager putting monitoring controls and interventions in the supply chain management. Municipal entities have achieved a 100% spend on their budgets,” said Peer.

Deputy Mayor Nomvuzo Shabalala said the City has also done well in terms of economic performance with the report indicating that the City is making a significant contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). “We still need to do more especially in unlocking the blockages for investors,” she said.

However, EXCO members expressed concern with the utilisation of Section 36 by Municipal Departments without seeking authority from EXCO, especially in relation to the appointment of cooperatives. The City Manager Sbu Sithole was mandated to investigate the matter and bring any transgressors to account for their failure to comply with agreed procedures.

EXCO members were also not happy with the anticipated overspending of R1.062billion in the Housing Department for 2014/15 and R1.1billion for the implementation of the Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network (IRPTN) in the MTREF period.

Sithole said discussions are currently taking place with the Department of Transport and National Treasury regarding the anticipated IRPTN shortfall.

Mayor Nxumalo said: “The situation with housing is a serious concern for us. We are dealing with the matter with the Human Settlements MEC and the Premier. If we can get the human settlements accreditation we will be able to receive money directly from National Government. At the moment we have to rely on the Province and they use their own discretion to allocate the funds.”

Water loss

Members of EXCO expressed concern over the growing water loss challenge faced by the City. Municipal Manager Sibusiso Sithole said: “This is the greatest challenge in eThekwini. It cannot be “business as usual.” We have met with the relevant service department and they need to indicate to us how we can allocate funds to alleviate this problem. We are however trying to speed up the completion of the Northern Aqueduct which will assist in this regard.”

He said the City is engaging with Umgeni Water for technical assistance on how to deal with this challenge. Some of the interventions include the metering of all households to account for water usage, utilisation of technology to identify water leaks, increase the number of water tankers within the City to provide some relief to residents and the fast-tracking the aqueduct projects. Water loss for the month of December stood at 46%.

Audit committee

EXCO has agreed to extend the terms of three members of the Municipality’s Audit Committee until the recruitment process for new members has been completed. The committee’s term expires at the end of February 2015. Sithole said the positions were initially advertised and no suitable candidates responded and these have been re-advertised. The extension of the term will also ensure that new members of the Audit Committee are properly inducted so that they are up to speed with the processes that are currently in place. EXCO also authorised Sithole to utilise the services of the current members even beyond their term of office as and when required.

Traditional leaders

The participation of Traditional Leaders in Council business has been formalised after EXCO accepted a recommendation to allow them to take their seats in Council and Committee meetings. This follows the determination by MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube identifying 14 traditional leaders from across the Municipality to serve as active members of Full Council as well as participate in various Committees.

It was recommended that they receive a monthly stipend of R5000 per month, per traditional leader so that they can perform their duties and to cover their out of pocket expenses. EXCO also agreed to dissociate from the previous arrangement of engaging traditional leaders through a Section 21 company, Insengwakazi.

Human Settlements and Infrastructure Chairperson, Nigel Gumede explained that the monthly stipend would be used for logistical requirements and transport costs for traditional leaders to attend meetings and do their community work.

The traditional leaders can participate fully in Council deliberations but they do not have the right to vote. Mayor Nxumalo said: “We are formalising the relationship with Amakhosi and we are in an experimental phase where we can determine the challenges and gaps that we face going towards 2016.” A workshop will also be held through the Speaker’s Office and Regional Centres Unit to ensure proper induction of Amakhosi on their roles.

Sale of Liquor

EXCO resolved to support through a letter an application by the KZN Orchestra to the Liquor Board for authority to sell liquor at its concerts held at City Hall. Deputy City Manager for Governance and International Relations, Sipho Cele, explained that the new liquor regulations require the Orchestra to obtain permission to sell liquor at their events, which was not previously a requirement.

He said the Orchestra’s revenue would dwindle if it was not allowed to sell liquor. “We recommend that we should support the request because liquor has been sold in their events previously and we have not experienced any problems,” he said.

eThekwini Municipality

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Issue 68