The Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Mr Obed Bapela accompanied by the MEC of CoGTA in KwaZulu-Natal(KZN), Mr Sipho Hlomuka embarked on project inspection exercise as part of the Local Government Week which unfolded between the 07 – 12 September 2020. The Local Government Week was held under the theme: “Ensuring Capable and Financially Sound Municipalities”.
The Siyahlola programme was undertaken on Friday, 11 September as part of the ongoing monitoring and evaluation exercise targeting areas that were previously affected by floods in the eThekwini Metro. The primary aim was to assess progress on the implementation of disaster relief interventions to rebuilding the public infrastructure.
The programme started with a briefing at the eThekwini National Disaster Management Centre which plays a critical role in the promotion of an integrated and coordinated system of disaster management, with special emphasis on prevention and mitigation.
The eThekwini Metro was allocated R62 million from National Treasury in 2018/19 financial year for post-disaster reconstruction and rehabilitation of 105 engineering projects. To date, 100 projects have been completed with only five (5) projects still outstanding. Furthermore, the provincial CoGTA is also funding community service centres under the traditional authority such as the Thusong Service Centres which constitute a one stop shop for access to government services within community proximity.
Some of the projects include the Umnini Trust Traditional Administrative Centre that has been rehabilitated to an accumulative amount of over R8million, the reconstruction of Gabions and Outlet repairs in 57 Sigwegwe Road to the tune of over R2 million, and the construction of a new pipe network at 30 Umathinta Drive, costing over R3 million in KwaMashu, as well as the upgrade of damaged storm water network of 3 Khulanathi way for over R4 million in Ntuzuma.
Deputy Minister Bapela remarked that, “the eThekwini Metro is one of the national DDM pilot site encompassing characteristics of both an urban and rural municipality. eThekwini is endowed with vast opportunities in the ocean economy including tourism which could propel it to be a leading economy in the country. However, for the metro to be the leading tourism destination it must deal with the impediments such as crime and grime”.
More rain is projected for KZN due to the global climate change hence the need to augment disaster awareness programmes for prevention and mitigation. Therefore, one important tool of assessment for the DDM is spatial integration which affords communities to reside next to their places of work. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the inability of municipalities to collect sufficient revenue because of the none-payment of municipal services that is accumulating debt exponentially. The province is also known for its wealth of traditional authorities which presents a valuable opportunity for social partnerships.
“This Siyahlola visit symbolises the implementation of the Local Government Week”, said MEC Hlomuka. The Deputy Minister was also joined by Cllr M Sithole, who applauded the metro for being the first to develop a Climate Change Action Plan to deal with the impact of climate change.
This visit was in line with the principles of the District Development Model (DDM) which gives expression to section 154 of the Constitution that enjoins the national and provincial government, to support and strengthen the capacity of municipalities to deliver on their constitutional obligations.