Buffalo City Mayor Alfred Mtsi delivers State of the Metro Address
Buffalo City Municipality Executive Mayor, Alfred Mtsi, this week delivered his State of the Metro Address at the Abbotsford Christian Centre in East London tabling the Metro’s achievements and the challenges faced in the past financial year.
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.
Image: Buffalo City Municipality Executive Mayor, Alfred Mtsi, (third from left) this week delivered his State of the Metro Address at the Abbotsford Christian Centre in East London tabling the Metro’s achievements and the challenges faced in the past financial year.
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