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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
01 August 2012


Deputy Mayor, City Manager, Speaker, Members of Exco, members of the media, I greet you all.

We have called this media briefing to give you a report on some of the important decisions that have been taken by Council at its meeting held on Monday, 30 July 2012.

Following the full Council meeting, Council went into committee to deliberate on issues that are sensitive and required Councillors to apply their minds. These matters included update and clarification about the release of the Manase and Associates Report and the
Organisational restructuring process.


Ladies and gentlemen of the media, I wish to take this opportunity to clarify the issue of the release of the Manase Report. After having assessed and evaluated the pros and cons of releasing the report, Council took a decision that this is not an opportune moment to release the report to the public for a number of reasons:

1. The Municipality has started with the Disciplinary Processes against people implicated in the report. This means that releasing the report in whatever form may prejudice the parties involved, including jeopardizing the interests of the Municipality.

2. Critically, the report contains affidavits and information provided by whistleblowers who may be called to give evidence at the disciplinary hearings.

3. Another important issue is that the Anti-Corruption Task Team is also investigating issues raised in that report, and releasing it may compromise these investigations. We are therefore saying that the timing of releasing this report may not be opportune at this stage.

At no stage have we ever said that the report will remain secret. I want to reiterate that we remain committed to our undertaking to release the report once all the processes have taken their course, including the disciplinary processes. However, in the interest of transparency, Council earlier took a decision that all political parties represented in Council can make an appointment to view the report in the City Manager’s office, as long as they don’t make copies. In fact, it is very strange that the DA says that they suspect that there is a cover up because they were the first to have used that opportunity which they have never been denied. So to impute that the Municipality is hiding something is in fact being uneconomical with the truth. They are simply grandstanding and playing political gimmicks to further their nefarious aims.

We are pleased to announce that eThekwini Municipal Council has on Monday, 30 July 2012, taken a giant leap into the future by approving in principle a new institutional framework. The new institutional framework is basically a vehicle for driving the achievement of an overarching City development outcome of a high quality of life for all people of Durban. Particular emphasis is placed on Women, Youth, Disabled and all
Vulnerable Groups, who live in various neighbourhoods, especially informal settlements, rural areas, townships, flats, and different suburbs across the length and breadth of our City. It seeks to build on the solid platform that has been built in the preceding years and especially in the last 18 years of the democratic dispensation. Concurrently, it is informed by our new drive to transform Durban from a Good City into a Great City.

There are many answers to questions about what a Great City is. In our perspective for Durban to be a truly Great City she has to distinguish herself and illuminate greatness by surpassing all Cities on the continent in terms of the following attributes:

 Ensuring a high quality of life for all her residents;
 Meeting the basic services, human settlement, transport and connectivity needs of all her people;
 Growing and diversifying her economy through facilitating a conducive environment for business development and investment leading to increased opportunities for sustainable job creation and entrepreneurial spirit;
 Building human and social capital of her people through access to quality lifelong education and training, health, arts, sport, cultural, and recreation opportunities, and safe from crime, grime, disasters, diseases and social pollutions such as drug abuse;
 Meeting high standards of good governance and integrity by demonstrating a caring attitude to her people and rooting out corrupt practices in all their guises;
 Becoming the most Digitised City;
 Maintaining and sustaining its status as the most financially viable and best managed City; and
 Leading the agenda for sustainability and becoming the most ecofriendly City on the continent.

Based on the above perspective, the new institutional framework calls for:

 The creation of dynamic capabilities in terms of long-term planning,strategy operationalisation and execution, people management, place management and utilities management;
 Building level 5 City leadership at the executive management level of the City; and
 Shifting from an independent leadership culture into one that is interdependent and infused with values of a high performance organisation.

Amongst the proposals suggested by the new framework, the following are critical:

1. Governance
 City Planning Commission will be established to align long-term City Growth and Development Strategy with the work of the National Commission and KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Commission;
 City-wide Stakeholder Forum will also be created to ensure proper and effective consultation in the planning and budgeting processes of the City and ensure greater transparency in how the City is governed;
 Ward Committees will be central to driving ward-based budgeting and planning to feed into the City-wide processes;

2. Mayor’s Office
The capacity of this office is strengthened by:
 Establishing a new position of the Head of Mayor’s Office;
 Making permanent current ad hoc arrangements in respect of Service Delivery Co-ordination, Youth Development, Women, Children, Disabled and Vulnerable Groups, Economic Policy Advisory Services and institutionalisation of Sukuma Sakhe. This will ensure that all transversal programmes are properly co-ordinated, integrated and
mainstreamed into all City processes. Some of these functions currently exists in disparate forms across different units and are been brought together in a synergistic manner to ensure seamless delivery of services and value for money.

The changes suggested are based on the realisation of the following dynamics:

– That the Mayor’s Office is central to City repositioning and branding;
– That increasingly we play at global platforms and our capacity must reflect this new role;
– That political oversight and management of the Council Strategy, Policies & Budget processes needs a strong political centre; and
– That the Mayor’s Office must provide and lead chief political communication with all stakeholders and spheres of government and drive implementation of transversal
programmes, including Sukuma Sakhe, and HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis.

3. Office of Municipal Manager

This Office is strengthened by making the following changes and adjustments:

 Manager: Office of the Municipal Manager is established to address the day-to-day needs and customer relations management issues of the Office;
 Reconfiguration of strategy planning and execution of capacity by establishing the Office of Strategy Management. This Office will play a pivotal role in terms of ensuring vertical and horizontal integration of planning and execution of City Strategy. Amongst the new changes that will be accommodated within this office will be:

o Head: Sustainable City Initiatives Unit to drive the post Cop 17 agenda at a strategic level
o Head: Transformation Unit to drive issues of Employment Equity and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment strategies
o Head: Area-Based Management to ensure better place management and integration of communities across the City
o In addition, Enterprise Risk Management, Organisational Development and Change Management, City Policy Research and Advocacy, MILE, City Performance and Reporting Units will also be part of this Office
 A new position of Chief Information Officer is also established to address issues of Information Communication Technology on a holistic basis and to address all IT Risks facing the City;
 From the assurance perspective, Internal Audit, Metro Police, Legal and Compliance and City Integrity and Forensic Investigations Unit will also report to the City Manager.

3. Strategic Executive Management Team

In terms of this level of management two changes are proposed. Firstly, a new position of a Deputy City Manager: Programme Management is established. This will ensure effective and efficient management of Catalytic Projects and ensure proper development and prioritisation of development projects through ten year project pipelines and financial
modelling. This is in line with the model of the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordination Commission (PICC). Basically, Programme Management will do the following

 Provide a matrix structure for management of all projects
 Become a single window of project prioritisation, planning, scheduling and coordination of supply chain and implementation processes
 Drive project pipeline development and multi-year project budgeting processes
 Elimination of waste and duplication and fostering of integrated implementation processes
 Project management methodology & maturity
 Project management training
 Project tracking, monitoring and evaluation
 Project auditing and risk management processes

Secondly, the position of Deputy City Manager: Safety and Security has been disestablished and all functions following under this cluster will be transferred into the Health and Social Services Cluster, which will be renamed: Community Services Cluster.

4. City Treasury Cluster

A new position of Deputy City Treasury is created to serve as a Chief Operations Officer of the Cluster. This position is created to ensure proper succession planning in the light of the fact that most senior people at Treasury are nearing retirement and to drive the transformation of Treasury from an employment equity point of view. In particular, this
position will also look at critical finance strategy issues such as long-term financial modelling, investments, high level debt management strategies,pension funds management and other issues.

5. Economic Development Cluster

Within this cluster, several changes are suggested:

 An Economic Development and Investment Council is proposed to
guide City Leadership on the issues of growing and modernising the economy for sustainable job creation and entrepreneurship development;
 Durban Tourism will be re-established as a City Agency to ensure better focus on tourism development. It is also proposed that a City Tourism and Events Forum be established to ensure proper coordination and integration of the sector and the development of new products;
 A review of the composition of the Boards of uShaka Marine and the International Convention Centre is proposed to inject new blood and energy into these structures, but also within the ambit of ensuring a right skills mix. For uShaka Marine, a new governance model will also be finalised within three months in view of the fact that the existing
management contract expires next year.

Shareholder Compacts will also be developed to guide the relationship between the different entities and the City and to clarify performance expectations of the parties;

 In respect, of the Moses Mabhida Stadium, it is proposed that the Natal Rugby Union and the Sharks be formally and officially approached to commence negotiations about the use of the stadium to arrive at an amicable and win-win solution. This will help in
finalising the plans for the entire sporting precinct around Moses Mabhida.

Area-based Management

Existing ABM’s will be strengthened and reconfigured.
 PINK Areas (Phoenix, Inanda, Ntutuma, KwaMashu)
 South Industrial Basin
 Rural ABM
 Central Durban Areas

New ABM’s will also be established for areas below. The idea is have a wallto-wall ABM as a future objective, albeit implementation will be done on an incremental basis. Priority will be given to areas which are budgeted for in 2012/2013. More roll-out will take place in the 2013/2014 Financial Year.

 Beachfront
 Umlazi, Lamontville, iSipingo
 Chatsworth and Greater Marrianhill Areas
 Southern Areas
 Greater Western Areas
 Greater Pinetown Areas
 Northern Areas

As way forward, consultation processes will take place with unions and individuals who may be affected by the new changes. No retrenchments are contemplated by the proposed changes. The cost implications of some of the changes will be worked out after the positions have been profiled and graded. Where necessary there will be adjustments made on the budget during the Mid-Term Performance Review in January 2013 to accommodate the necessary changes. The principle utilised is about better
utilisation and reconfiguration of existing resources. It should also be noted that some of the positions suggested are an absolute requirement for the City to be better placed to deliver services and to address all the risks identified by the Auditor-General. The second phase of the institutional review will focus more on micro-changes within Supply Chain Management, Human Settlement, and other units.

Finally, Council has noted that significant progress has been made regarding the filling of all critical vacancies. These posts have been advertised both internally and externally. We appeal to people who have the right skills mix, qualifications, experience and change-orientated to join us on the journey to greatness that we aspire to as a City.

In conclusion, our clarion call to the all the people of Durban, all political parties and all our employees is to embrace these changes and focus on the future rather the past, which is divisive and less constructive. Let us reverse the clock of negativity and backwardness and together build a Great City.

Finally, let me take this opportunity to congratulate our very own Chad Le Clos for his unbelievable first place by winning the 200m butterfly gold medal at the Olympics and for beating the world’s best Michael Phelps. We are very proud of this home grown talent and all the people of South Africa are delighted by your achievement. We are fully behind Team South Africa and we are confident that they’ll bring home more medals.

And we would also like to wish the Sharks the very best in their Vodacom Super Rugby Final against the Chiefs in New Zealand on Saturday. We look forward to welcoming the trophy home, here in Durban.

Issued by the eThekwini Municipality’s Communications Unit. For more
information contact Municipal Spokesperson Thabo Mofokeng on 031 311
4820 or 0827317456 or e-mail [email protected]

8,590 Posts
Cross-post from Durban thread...


City restructure to 'improve governance'

02 August 2012 - 08:29
By Shaun Ryan

Transforming Durban into the best city on the continent is the goal that eThekwini officials are working towards.

City mayor James Nxumalo say this is why they have agreed, in principle, to approve a new institutional framework for the municipality.

Key changes to the current system will see the implementation of a City Planning Commission to improve governance across the municipality.

The offices of the mayor and city manager will be strengthened through the appointment of new managerial positions.

"We've identified some weaknesses within our systems, within our organisational structure. When our municipal manager joined us in January, we said to him that we wanted to give him the opportunity as well to make his own recommendations," Nxumalo said.

He says a top priority for the restructure is a development strategy that will pave the way for a better life for all Durbanites.

He has added that the decision to review the organisational structure of certain offices hasn't been spurred on by service delivery protests that flared up in parts of Durban recently.

23,200 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Personally i am very encouraged by the report. it is tabled as part of the 2012/13 term, therefore will be implemented in that term. And the comments on the Manase Report make sense and the fact that the DA have been given access to read the full report and digest it even when things are heading sub judice blows a bit of egg on their face in terms of the comments they have made.

8,590 Posts
I will be okay with the poposed new positions if they're going to facilitate service delivery, economic growth, and city developments (and not amount to job handouts to loyal ANC cadres).

I am partcularly intrigued by the position "Deputy City Manager: Flagship Projects". While I think this may be a re-titling of Julie-May's old job (Head: Special Projects), its elevation to Deputy City Manager level hopefully means there are many flagship projects on the way to warrant that position. I do think the new digout port and proposed new link to the N3 from the N2 south will necessiate a full-time city team to look after those massive projects! That's aside from the major growth in the city's northern suburbs (airport precinct, Cornubia, Umhlanga, Sibaya, ect.)


City boss creates new jobs costing R7m
August 2 2012 at 12:09pm
By Gugu Mbonambi

Durban - The eThekwini municipality’s top structure is to be reorganised again – this time to suit the needs of new city boss S’bu Sithole. The changes are a radical shift from the organisation created by Michael Sutcliffe in his 10 years as city manager.

Eight new top posts are to be created and, according to estimates based on the municipality’s June 2010 salaries and allowances structure, they are to cost ratepayers another R7 million a year.

Opposition groups say Sithole has done nothing more than create an extra layer of bureaucracy and continue a culture of cadre deployment.

The new bosses, to be answerable directly to Sithole, include:

* A head in the mayor’s office;

* An administration manager in Sithole’s office;

* Three department heads who are to deal with sustainability, area-based management and transformation;

* A city IT boss;

* A deputy city manager for flagship projects; and

* A new deputy city treasurer who is to be called a chief operations officer. This will be to drive transformation in the treasury unit.

The controversial safety and security cluster has been scrapped and its functions handed to the health and social services cluster. This has been renamed the community services cluster.

Sithole also wants an economic development and investment council to drive job-creation and entrepreneurship development. A city planning commission to spearhead and align economic growth and development strategies in the city is also to be created.

On Wednesday, mayor James Nxumalo said the new framework had been approved by the council “in principle”.

“When Michael Sutcliffe joined the city 10 years ago he was given an opportunity to make his own changes. Mike played his role, now the new city manager has to make his changes.”

Sithole said there were many elements of the current structure that worked, but his vision was to streamline all departments.

There were staff members in the municipality who called themselves “project managers” but added no value and some were placed in departments where their skills were not used, he said.

“If you have the right systems in place and have qualified project managers you will deliver services to the people faster… no retrenchments are contemplated (with) the proposed changes,” he said.

Asked how much all these changes would cost, Sithole refused to give details.

More than R6 billion is earmarked for salaries, allowances and salary increases in eThekwini for the 2012/13 financial year.

Sithole’s ambitious new structure has been criticised by the opposition, who say it’s more red tape.

DA caucus leader Tex Collins questioned Sithole’s rationale for adding heads of department, saying the city did not have the budget to pay more managers’ salaries.

“We asked him who on earth would cover the costs of all the new people. But he did not give us a response… He has given us a skeleton structure and wants us to implement it by January. But who is going to fund it?” Collins said.

The new organogram was “nothing more than a thinly disguised veil for cadre deployment”.

“The city manager has lost the plot,” Collins said.

“I would have scaled down this hugely inflated structure, restructured the housing unit and other critical departments instead of employing additional staff that you don’t need.”

Minority Front councillor Patrick Pillay said Sithole should have consulted unions, ratepayers and businesses before making such radical changes.

“The appointment of managers must not be based on affirmative action but on skill and merit. We would have liked the structure to be scaled down because there is no budget for new posts,” he said.

Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union regional manager Themba Shezi said Sithole’s organogram affected only employees who reported directly to him.

The municipality employed more than 20 000 people. It made sense to have many managers “to spread the reporting lines”.

“We will look at the organogram when it is tabled and we will get involved only if it affects our members,” Shezi said. - The Mercury

8,590 Posts
Good decision and well overdue...


Durban’s blue flags to fly again

June 14 2013 at 11:39am
By Tony Carnie and Bernadette Wolhuter

Durban - Five years after pulling out of the international Blue Flag beach excellence scheme, Durban has done an about-turn and rejoined the programme.

The decision, announced by mayor James Nxumalo on Thursday night, has been widely welcomed and is expected to go a long way towards restoring confidence among local bathers and tourists about the cleanliness of sea water on the Golden Mile.

Initially, the city is hoping to retrieve blue flags at four local beaches (uShaka, eMdloti tidal area, eMdloti main and Umgababa) and, at a later stage, the main beach at uMhlanga Rocks and Westbrook on the North Coast.

However, before the flags can be hoisted, the first four beaches will have Blue Flag “pilot status” for a year until the city can demonstrate that the city complies with all 33 quality criteria required by Blue Flag International, which currently recognises 3 850 beaches and marinas in 48 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and the Caribbean.

The Blue Flag scheme dates from 1985, when several French coastal municipalities were awarded the flags for complying with sewage treatment and bathing water quality criteria after mounting concern about the deterioration of water quality at several Mediterranean beaches.

The scheme is run by an NGO, the Foundation for Environmental Education, and effectively provides an independent guarantee that beaches comply with strict criteria on water quality, environmental education, lifeguard training, safety, and other issues.

Durban pulled out of the scheme in 2008, during the tenure of former city manager Michael Sutcliffe, who argued that Blue Flag administrators were applying “double standards” when comparing the cleanliness of sea water in Durban with that in Europe.

However, if Sutcliffe had not pulled out of the scheme in a huff, it is likely that all of Durban’s formerly accredited beaches would have ended up losing their blue flags, because of the high levels of sewage contamination in several areas.

Problems emerged in 2006, when four local beaches failed to comply with sewage pollution standards.

Blue Flag also stipulates that an independent laboratory should be responsible for testing all sea water samples. Sutcliffe insisted that the city’s own laboratory technicians should do the tests.

Now, however, it is understood that all samples will be analysed by the CSIR, rather than the city, to meet the requirement for independent tests.

Nxumalo said that since Durban pulled out of the scheme in 2008, there had been a number of calls from the public, hospitality and business entities, as well as the provincial and national governments, for the eThekwini Municipality to re-enter the programme.

In January, the council resolved to re-enter the Blue Flag scheme this year, and it is believed that city officials formally submitted an application to re-enter the scheme on a pilot basis two weeks ago.

“Our biggest challenge is undoubtedly the state of our water quality at our beaches,” Nxumalo said.

“A critical review of the city’s water quality results has narrowed the potential pilot Blue Flag beaches to six candidates.”

Durban Chamber of Commerce chief executive Andrew Layman expressed his delight at the news, and offered the municipality his full support.

“We feel very strongly that some, if not all, of Durban’s beaches should have their Blue Flag status reinstated,” Layman said.

“As an international symbol, Blue Flag status indicates to tourists the quality of both the water and the amenities at our beaches.”

The head of Umhlanga Tourism, Peter Rose, said re-entering the programme was a step in the right direction and he supported it. But he questioned whether Blue Flag status was recognised by US tourists, who he said made up the second-largest group of tourists to the country.

Blue Flag was mainly recognised in Europe, and Durban had established itself as a premier tourist destination before Blue Flag had begun.

“Having Blue Flag beaches is not the be all and end all,” he said, “but I would still rather we had them than not.”

The Mercury

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Soaring costs of Durban’s billing system

July 8 2013 at 10:55am
By Gugu Mbonambi

Durban - Durban’s new billing system continues to cost ratepayers an inordinate amount with it now emerging that an IT consultancy is being paid R650 000 a month by the eThekwini Municipality to oversee its implementation.

To date, the incomplete Revenue Management System has cost Durban ratepayers about R505 million to develop, far more than the cost estimates of between R90m and R150m approved by council in 2004.

Municipal spokesman Thabo Mofokeng confirmed that the project manager, IT Advisory, was being paid R650 000 a month as of January 1 this year for the next two years to oversee the implementation of the project.

Councillors were initially sold on the idea of an in-house billing system by then city manager Michael Sutcliffe, and were convinced that no commercially available product met eThekwini’s requirements. Another advantage was that in-house development would negate the need to pay annual licence fees.

But Mofokeng also said that the city was forking out R1.1m annually in licence fees. And, the overall annual amount being paid to city works for maintenance was R14.7m.

IT Advisory was appointed after the city’s executive committee recommended, in October last year, that an independent project manager be appointed to report directly and independently to council.

The Mercury was unable to trace the company, and requests for company details, as well as who owns it, remain unanswered by the municipality.

A number of modules of the new system have already gone live. These include revenue receipting, business support, community residential units, bulk electricity and the rates calculation model.

Mofokeng said the rationale for the city to pay maintenance fees was “to support the five modules that have gone live”.

The municipality collects more than R20 billion a year in revenue.

The equivalent system in Cape Town cost R350m, and it is estimated that the cost of the billing component was about R120m.

Cape Town’s system was developed during 2001 to 2002 and took 18 months to implement, according to the city’s executive deputy mayor, Ian Neilson.

Cape Town’s SAP system was not developed in-house; SAP is an enterprise IT system developed by a German company.

“Software maintenance is the norm for enterprise software systems such as this and, in the case of SAP, it amounts to approximately 22 percent of the cost of the software. It is paid annually and, because we did not only implement a billing system, I can only estimate the software maintenance for the billing component to be less than R10m per annum,” he said.

DA councillor Rick Crouch said it was astounding and unacceptable that Durban ratepayers would be paying an additional R14.7m a year in maintenance fees. He also said the city was supposed to own the software, therefore there should be no licence fees paid to a particular company.

“The main selling point to council at the time was that we should develop our own software package because we would then not have to pay the annual licence fees. And, if we bought an ‘off the shelf’ package we would have to pay licence fees to another company. So why are we now paying R1.1m a year in licence fees; was council lied to?” asked Crouch.

Minority Front councillor Patrick Pillay said the revenue management system had become a monstrous nightmare for the city and its ratepayers.

He said the costs of developing the system had escalated vastly, and ratepayers were being held to ransom.

“It seems we have to pay licence fees for the rest of our lives. There was no transparency in terms of the after-costs when the RMS was initiated. I’m concerned that the project cost of R650 000 (a month) is unacceptably high. We would have expected the process to be done in-house,” he said.

The Mercury

8,590 Posts
Durban backs single police force proposal

July 8 2013 at 11:29am
By Bronwyn Fourie

Durban - The eThekwini Municipality will support the police ministry’s proposal that metro police forces are done away with in favour of a single national police force, provided the plan is shown to benefit crime-fighting.

City manager S’bu Sithole said recently that, although there were pros and cons to the idea, as well as a need for clarification, if the plan was shown to improve policing, the municipality would support it.

The draft Green Paper on policing, drawn up by the Civilian Secretariat for Police, and currently out for public comment, wants the feasibility of a single police force investigated.

This would mean integrating the SAPS and metro police forces to “effectively manage the responses and governances of law”.

In addition to a single police structure being provided for in section 199 of the constitution, the paper says the metro police forces are less subject to the strict accountability imposed on the SAPS, which “in itself poses serious risks to our democracy”.

The plan to integrate the forces would eradicate this and strengthen the police force, it says.

Although the paper was still in the discussion stage, and legal issues needed to be looked at, Sithole said he was in favour of a strong police force.

“Policing at our level deals mainly with by-law enforcement. We do play a role in crime prevention, but this is largely in support of the SAPS.”

He welcomed the training proposals in the paper, which called for uniform training for all police officers.

However, issues such as by-law enforcement, as well as labour and employment matters, would have to be addressed before the implications of the proposal could be fully understood, Sithole said.

Zweli Mnisi, spokesman for Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, said these issues, as well as what the police service would be called and whether or not ratepayers would still have to contribute to a metro police service, would be dealt with later in the process.

“We are still soliciting input from academia and experts, so operational and HR matters are semantics.

“There are many things that still need to be looked at, but the idea behind it is that we have multifaceted police officers who not only check seatbelts and driving licences, but are able to check for firearms and stolen vehicles.

“We want modern-day cops with the common denominator of fighting crime,” he said.

However, Johan Burger, a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, slammed the proposal, saying that, not only was it unconstitutional, but it would hamper crime-fighting at local level.

“Section 199 of the Constitution, which they are citing, says there must be a single police service, but this is only saying that there can only be one national police force. They are silent on section 206(7) of the constitution, which says Parliament must provide for a municipal police service.

“What we expect will happen if this plan is adopted is that a national police service will only serve national priorities determined by national, or maybe even a provincial, head office. Local priorities will lose out,” he said.

Burger added that, not only did a local police service free up the the SAPS, but also provided for better visible policing in communities.

DA police spokeswoman Dianne Kohler Barnard said the party vehemently opposed the idea, as it was possibly unconstitutional and “nothing more than a political attempt to usurp the powers of provinces and metros where the ANC is not currently in government, or will not govern in the future”.

[email protected]

The Mercury

23,200 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Durban ignites spirit of innovation

By Bhekisisa Mncube

Durban - The eThekwini Metro Municipality has become one of the most innovative cities in Africa following the launch of the state-of-the-art Municipal Institute of Learning (MILE).

Municipality Speaker Loganathan Naidoo told delegates at the first Innovation Summit 2013, held in Durban today, that MILE, was about to drive innovation within the municipality.

The Innovation Summit is a collaboration of eThekwini Municipality, Technology Innovation Agency and Nedbank. Its core business is to ignite the spirit of innovation in the entrepreneurship arena. It was attended by members of the Durban business community affiliated to the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, local government practitioners and Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME) who showcased their innovative products at the event.

To mark the event, the summit partners brought an internationally renowned and world’s most in demand innovation speakers Robert B. Tucker. Tuckeris the president and founder of The Innovation Resource, formerly an adjunct professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has been a consultant and keynote speaker for 25 years.

Naidoo said the main objective of the Innovative Summit was to bring key players around the same table so as to begin the journey of technological innovation towards the future together.

“Through MILE, we hope to position eThekwini Municipality as a ‘learning city’ and promote a culture of learning and innovation amongst local government practitioners,” he said.

He revealed that MILE was the first municipal institute of its kind in Africa and aimed to establish strategic partnerships and collaborations with other learning institutions in Durban, South Africa and beyond.

“We have already signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Durban University of Technology”.

As part of the drive towards innovation, the city has set aside in 2013 alone R2 million in bursary funding to train aspiring engineers through its collaboration with the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Speaking exclusively to SAnews on the sidelines of the summit, Naidoo said eThekwini Municipality had long regarded itself as a “smart city”.

“We have rolled out our own optic fibre network connecting the city with its key service point areas and the rest of townships and rural areas within our borders. We no longer communicate with township ratepayers via Telkom system. This has heightened awareness about the importance of technological innovation in the city,” he said.

The municipality has just launched an Energy Office, another first for a municipality in South Africa. The Energy Office, according to Naidoo, is tasked with the momentous duty of project conceptualisation and implementation of energy efficiency initiatives.

As an example, Naidoo said the municipality, through its Energy Office, has started converting methane gas at landfill sites into energy. This, he added, was to curb the effects of climate change.

Other innovative initiatives include the Green Hub, formally launched in 2011, which serves as a green technology demonstration building. The Green Hub aims to rehabilitate the natural environment, especially of the uMngeni Valley and in the process it has created green and sustainable jobs.

Another example of eThekwini being a “smart city”, was the launching of the first green roof on a South African municipal building in 2009.

“The framework to replicate this pilot project is at an advance stage. We hope to have more green roofs soon,” he said. –

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IT firm wins R15.6m eThekwini contract

July 16 2013 at 09:06pm
By Gugu Mbonambi


Durban - An IT consultancy which advised the eThekwini Municipality to continue developing its Revenue Management System has landed the R15.6 million contract to oversee the project’s implementation.

However, the city said on Monday there was nothing “sinister” about the appointment of Liepzig Advisory IT, because it was in line with the supply-chain management process of the council.

It emerged that the company, owned by information technology expert Leepy Shabangu, was being paid R650 000 a month by the city, as of January 1 this year, for the next two years to oversee the implementation of the project.

DA councillor Rich Crouch said he had written to the city treasurer, Krish Kumar, and the city manager, S’bu Sithole, to ask what justification there was for paying R650 000 a month to Liepzig and what the city was getting for that fee

Crouch said he was not asking the questions out of ignorance, but as a former chief executive of an international software development company.

“Something is not quite right. There is absolutely no way that amount can be justified,” he said.

The Who’s Who Southern Africa website says Shabangu holds a BCom degree in Information Systems from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Last year his company was paid nearly R1m to give an overview of the risks associated with “going live” on the new system and to prescribe the various options available to the city.

City spokesman Thabo Mofokeng said Liepzig Advisory IT submitted a report to the executive committee (exco) detailing the three options and the way forward with the associated risks and benefits.

“Exco and council applied its mind to the report and the three options and a decision was taken to continue with the RMS project,” he said.

Mofokeng said Shabangu’s company was appointed through section 36 of the supply-chain management policy - a regulation used when the accounting officer deemed it necessary to bypass normal tender processes.

The company had the knowledge and the project management experience that had been lacking on the project that had cost Durban ratepayers about R505m to develop.

Mofokeng also said that a full motivation for the company’s appointment was included in reports to the bid adjudication committee and exco.

Liepzig Advisory IT presented three options to exco: stop any further developments of the system and continue using the current Coins billing system; install an ERP system (a generic system); or continue developing the system. All the options came with risks and financial implications, Mofokeng said.

A number of modules of the new system had been implemented. These included revenue receipting, business support, community residential units, bulk electricity and the rates calculation model.

Opposition parties have criticised the appointment of the company, saying Shabangu had a vested interest and that was the reason he had recommended that the city continue pumping money into the onerous project.

Minority Front councillor Patrick Pillay said Sithole should investigate Shabangu’s motives for having recommended that the city continues with the RMS.

The Mercury contacted Yonah Rwambiwa, who is in charge of operations at Liepzig Advisory IT, several times, but he declined to comment.

The Mercury

8,590 Posts
This is a very good city initiative...


Durban to equip beggars with skills
South Africa
Sunday 21 July 2013 - 7:34 PM

July 21 - Durban is looking to minimise the number people living on the streets in the inner city area. It's embarking on a multi-million rand initiative to train and re-skill beggars and homeless people.

DURBAN - Durban is looking to minimise the number people living on the streets in the inner city area.

It's embarking on a multi-million rand initiative to train beggars and homeless people.

Dozens of people flock to the city in search of work, but lack the necessary skills to get a decent job.

The municipality's so-called opportunities centre is set to be up and running by 2016.

The Durban Chamber of Commerce says businesses have been harmed by people sleeping in front of their entrances and leaving the city in an appalling state.

It says it has a plan to help vulnerable groups obtain skills such as painting and plumbing, but they must be willing to learn.

Darlene Menzies from the Chamber of Commerce said, "It is those guys who are very keen to work. You go down some of the streets of the city, you drive past in a bakkie, people are jumping on board, and some guys are working a full day and getting R20-R40 being exploited. These are the guys we want to work with."

The eThekwini municipality has pledged to pump millions into the initiative, but says it's not about ridding the streets of beggars.

The municipality's Hoosen Moola said, "As much as opportunities that you're going to provide are there, you will still have groups of people that are going to live out of it, and make it a profession."

City officials say they will extend the initiative to rural areas to prevent job seekers from making a life on the city's streets.

As much as opportunities that you're going to provide are there, you will still have groups of people that are going to live out of it.

8,590 Posts
04 August 2013 23:24

Millions wasted on Durban jazz festival

Govt paid R28m for a jazz festival that never took place.

The KwaZulu-Natal government paid R28 million for a jazz festival in Durban that never took place, the Sunday Tribune online reported.

The economic development and tourism department is trying to recoup part of the money. Last June it entered into an agreement with a consortium to host the internationally-known North Sea Jazz Festival.

The festival did not take place as scheduled in November because of a dispute between the festival promoters, the festival's Dutch rights holders Mojo, and the department.

The Sunday Tribune reported that the department paid R28m, of which R16.9m was spent without the festival having taken place.

The event was cancelled and the department demanded a refund of about R11m intended to be used by Charmaine Cornille, one of the promoters, to secure rights for the festival from Mojo.

Mojo has since claimed it was never paid for the rights.

The department had entered into an agreement with the MPM/Softskills consortium. Cornille was one of MPM's owners. MPM was later replaced by Profile Communication, also owned by Cornille.

Cornille denied claims that her role in the project led to the festival being cancelled.

"I am a whistle blower in this case and I went to the provincial treasury and notified them of fraud and corruption on a large scale," she was quoted as saying.

8,590 Posts
Durban robot repairs tied up in red tape

August 14 2013 at 11:49am
By Kevin Lancaster


Durban - If you have a broken traffic light in your area and wonder why it has not been fixed, wonder no more. The eThekwini Municipality does not have poles or cables to fix broken robots.

The deputy head of the road system management for Durban, Carlos Esteves, confirmed this week that his department had not had stock of the poles and cables for the past six weeks.

This was after the awarding of the contract to Steelcom Engineering to supply the parts was disputed by a losing bidder, Quadrant.

“We have asked for emergency stock to be purchased for critical intersections,” said Esteves.

The city said on Tuesday, after receiving questions from The Mercury about the broken traffic lights, that it had placed an urgent order for 100 poles which would be “processed and delivered ASAP”.

The catalyst for this was when DA councillor for Amanzimtoti Andre Beetge asked that a robot knocked over in his ward be repaired.

Beetge said he waited almost a month, but the light was not fixed, so he approached the city and was told of the situation.

“Municipal employees sit idle without material to do their work… and have allowed motorists to become sitting ducks. EThekwini could be faced with a long-term problem here,” said Beetge.

He said he was told that 30 robots needed to be replaced.

Municipal spokesman Thabo Mofokeng said the contested contract was the subject of an appeal process which the city would have to investigate before deciding how to proceed.

Beetge said an intersection in Winklespruit also had a damaged control box and its six robots were no longer working, and two robots in Pinetown were now overgrown by grass because they had been lying broken for so long.

Beetge said a Section 36 (emergency purchase) contract should be used to remedy the problem.

Mofokeng said the order for the poles fell below the contract quotation threshold of R200 000 and would be procured to meet the “urgent demand”.

Esteves said the damaged control units were custom-programmed for each intersection and took time to replace, but this was also being affected by a shortage of cabling.

The Mercury inspected the broken robots in the Amanzimtoti and Winklespruit areas and, en route to the Durban CDB, found another six traffic lights out of order or knocked over.

Two traffic lights at intersections within metres of each other on the Bluff were bent and wrapped in red and white emergency tape. These were in Solomon Mahlangu (Edwin Swales) Drive and Flower Road.

Further down the busy route, outside the Southway Mall, a robot was knocked over and windscreen glass was strewn on the ground.

A few hundred metres away, at the Hillary Road intersection, another robot was bent over and out of order.

Metro police spokesman Eugene Msomi said there were more than the usual number of traffic lights down, and the metro police had been sent to direct traffic. He said they strived to send officers to problem areas as quickly as possible, but it depended on when they received the message that the robot was down.

A Winklespruit resident, who uses the intersection with non-functioning traffic lights along the R603, Sheldon Higgo, said the robots had been out for three weeks.

Higgo said the traffic backed up to the off-ramp of the nearby N2, and it took him 10 minutes to navigate the backlog and the errant motorists and taxis cutting in.

[email protected]

The Mercury

8,590 Posts
Auditor-general praises two Durban entities

August 14 2013 at 02:55pm
By Daily News Reporters

Durban - Auditor-general Terence Nombembe has given bouquets to Durban Marine Theme Park (uShaka) and the International Convention Centre, but issued another indictment on South African municipalities.

He called for action against political leaders and municipal officials who deliberately or negligently ignored their duties and disobeyed the law.

They should be “decisively dealt with through performance management and by enforcing the legislated consequences for transgressions”, he said.

At more than 70 percent of those audited, the lack of consequences for poor performance and transgressions slowed down improvement in local government audit outcomes.

To help them deal with transgressions, his office has compiled a booklet on the legislation to be used in dealing with wrongdoers.

Engagement with municipal officials had been intense “but the response hasn’t been good. I am concerned that something that is so basic - so evident and simple - is taking too long (to address)”, the auditor-general said.

“One of the reasons is that there is no political will to make these things (skills development and penalties against transgression) mandatory.

“Disciplinary action (against wayward officials) hasn’t been forthcoming,” Nombembe said.

Deputy Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Andries Nel, was visibly embarrassed by the AG’s overall report, which he described as “thorough and meticulous”.

“I think the picture the report paints is one that cries out for intervention at local, provincial and national levels. It doesn’t make for pleasant reading,” he said.

Nombembe said there was also a critical need to strengthen the municipal public accounts committees and support the important role they played. This would further bolster oversight.

The progress towards clean audits had been slow. They had remained at the same low level of 5 percent (17 out of 278 municipalities) for three years.

Overall, however, the situation had deteriorated last year: 41 of the 338 municipalities and municipal entities had improved, but 50 had gone backwards.

All of the country’s metros, including eThekwini, received qualified audits.

Chief among the root causes of the poor audit results, was lack of capacity. At 73 percent of those audited, key vacancies and key officials without the necessary competence and skills made credible financial statements and performance reports difficult.

To fill this gap, 71 percent of those audited used consultants to help with financial reporting.

In KwaZulu-Natal, uMtshezi Local Municipality retained its clean audit, with uShaka and the ICC joining it. New auditees with clean books were: Safety City Pietermaritzburg, uThungulu Financing Partnership and uThungulu House Development Trust.

Five auditees in the province improved, but 15 regressed.

The winning formula of those with clean audits, Nombembe said, was that their leadership led by example and made concerted efforts to resolve audit matters raised in their previous year’s audit reports.

“Their results are a testimony that where political and administrative leadership set the right tone and work together to implement and constantly monitor basic internal controls, good governance is achievable.”

Speaker of the eThekwini Council, Logie Naidoo, said he was proud of uShaka and the ICC, which he said would in the near future become cash cows for the city.

Naidoo said both had brought the city a lot of tourists.

“In fact they are one of the city’s big attractions. When the loans are paid off, they will both bring the city a lot of money,” he said.

The Minority Front’s Patrick Pillay said the news of an improved audit report for the two entities was “fantastic” progress.

Pillay said the good report was a result of strict control measures undertaken by the city manager.

eThekwini city manager, S’bu Sithole, said the city was very close to a clean audit and was in line with the national plan to achieve this goal next year.

“Obviously we have some issues in terms of the city’s status but it’s important to note that the city has progressed very well.”

Sithole said Philip Ntsimane, the chief audit executive within the municipality, had been hired as of February and was “extremely capable”.

He said an appointment had also been made in the IT department to investigate issues of corruption and maladministration.

“Within IT there are issues. We need somebody competent and we didn’t have that. There are a lot of systems and we need to ensure they are secure.”

He said at a leadership level, he and mayor, James Nxumalo, needed to set the tone.

“We won’t tolerate acts of maladministration. The issues from Manase are actually positive for us because they helped us review our systems and practices.”

Clean books, compliance and effective, feasible service delivery were specified by Sithole as the answer to a well-run municipality.

“What we have done as a city at the ICC and uShaka must be developed. There are pockets of excellence and we must capitalise. We mustn’t be complacent but build on what we’re doing here.”

Lennox Mabaso, spokesman for KZN’s Co-operative Governance MEC, said it was important to put the audit in context: “The city got a qualified audit which means it is a clean audit, but there are minor matters.

“The MEC met the municipalities and a qualified audit is an improvement. The auditor-general is 98 percent satisfied, there are just a few matters that need to be attended to.” He commended eThekwini Municipality for bringing plans to the MEC which would address the concerns raised.

“It is a work in progress. Every day since December the municipality has been working on those things and this must be celebrated as it’s a step in the right direction.”

Mayor Nxumalo, said he was happy the city had received a qualified audit although irregular expenditure as well as water loss and illegal electrical connections needed focus.

“We are dealing with these matters and I think eThekwini stands a very good chance of a clean audit in 2014, the national target.”

He said the city had done well in reducing the irregular expenditure from R1.3 billion to R276 million in the last financial year, but the target was to get this number to zero.

“No department will force us to have irregular expenditure.”

He said eThekwini had 36 percent water loss, above the national average of 15 percent. Electrical theft, particularly in informal settlements, was also costing the city.

On water, Nxumalo said the construction of the Western and Northern aqueducts, to replace infrastructure which was more than 20 years old, would reduce loss.

He congratulated those running the ICC and uShaka, saying they did Durban proud.

Daily News

23,200 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
great to see the big improvements in uShaka and the continued superb performance at the ICC is brilliant for the city and congrats to Julie May who has really turned that business around
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