R4.5 billion for Metro's housing delivery

SEPTEMBER 18, 2015

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, through a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Human Settlements, has set aside about R4.5 billion for housing projects in the Metro.

This was revealed by Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Danny Jordaan, during a Council meeting held at the Helenvale Resource Center on Thursday.

The meeting was also attended by Speaker of the EC Legislature, Noxolo Kievit; Acting Director General of the Department of Human Settlements, Mbulelo Tshangana, and other government officials.

“We must however ensure that these funds are protected through regular audits and forensic investigations,” Jordaan said.

“We are also very pleased with the commitment to guarantee 100% procurement through local SMMEs. This is in line with the pledge we made recently that we are going to improve unemployment and the status of SMMEs drastically. We do not want anyone to remain an SMME perpetually.”

The Mayor said bringing the Council meeting to Helenvale was the Metro’s way of re-connecting with local communities.

Bettering communities

While a letter to a local newspaper by a Helenvale resident, L Berry, had drawn his attention to social ills like gangsterism, corruption, poverty, drugs, unemployment and crime in general, Jordaan assured residents that; “We are committed to address these challenges here in Helenvale, Motherwell, Uitenhage, Central and throughout the Metro.

“Needless to say, the letter fills me with optimism about the future of our magnificent city. It spelt out our programme of action to make Nelson Mandela Bay a better place.”

He said that his administration was building a city that is transparent and responsive to the needs of our communities.

“To this end, we started with Council meetings in New Brighton, Uitenhage and now we are here at your doorstep, a historic first for the Northern Areas. The days of taking decisions behind closed doors are long gone.”

He said that the state-of-the-art Helenvale Resource Center, built by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality through its agency the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) was evidence of an area that is moving forward.

“Today, Helenvale looks much better - but we still have a long way to go.”

He appealed to the community to take responsibility and to be part of the journey to a brighter future.

“We have suffered enough, we have been divided long enough , let us build our common future . On behalf of municipality, its leadership and all its staff we thank the Helenvale residents for your perseverance and firm belief that the winds of change are real now!” Jordaan said.

100 days achievements 

He said that Vuyisile Mini Square, in front of City Hall, had been reclaimed into a public square and “From next month, we invite the community to bring picnic baskets and come to the square on days that will be announced to interact on a personal level.”

Jordaan also highlighted the achievements of his first 100 days in office, including an intensive public engagement exercise, improving the Metro’s financial stability and generating investor support.

“We are in the process of addressing key infrastructural backlogs. So with sober deliberation and much goodwill among constituencies, the NMBM will continue to be a sustainable municipality. This is further evidenced by the long-term confidence shown by the latest credit rating by Moody’s of our city based on the liquidity profile and the debt to revenue ratio of the City,” he said.  

“We are the only city that has not been down-graded, which means that we now have the same credit rating as Ekurhuleni and the City of Cape Town! Two metropolitan municipalities that are much bigger than us.

“There is no doubt in my mind that under our leadership, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is poised for bigger and better things to come.”

He announced that the Metro will soon take its 2015/16 Integrated Development Plan (IDP)  for review by communities.

Smart city through free Wi-Fi

“The development of a smart city and a township economy will receive special attention. We have already put in place fibre optic infrastructure to roll out wi-fi across the Metro. The wi-fi will be linked to integrated hi mast light which will also have CCTV cameras,” Jordaan said.

“The Development Bank is assisting us with this program. They will also assist us in developing a commercial model on how we can sell data at discounted rates. Schools and libraries will be guaranteed free wi-fi. Walmer High is already benefitting from the free wi-fi program.

“Therefore along the commitment to develop a township economy, one of our key tasks must be the achievement of economic growth and development to create the prosperity we need and to provide the resources that will enable us to address the priorities as outlined in 100 days report.”

Service delivery protests and crime

On service delivery protests, he said that the municipality will continue “to listen to our communities, expressing their dissatisfaction and discontent and respond promptly. All of this of course involves a significant change in work ethic, dedication and consistency in doing our work.”

While gang violence seemed to escalate in Port Elizabeth’s Northern Areas, Jordaan said that the specialist PE gang task team of the South African Police Services was making progress against the scourge.

“Pooling resources as well as additional resources must be earmarked to assist with clamping down on gangs, especially in light of the recent spate of gang activities,” he said.

“In August the South African Police Services, Community Policing Forums and the municipality joined hands with a Take Back Nelson Mandela Bay campaign that will go a long way towards fighting crime and tackling social issues. The matter of the Metro police and Traffic Officers are also receiving attention. We have asked the ED of Safety and Security to give me timelines for the establishment of the Metro Police.”

On corruption at City Hall, Jordaan said that they have already suspended 17 officials “and very soon we will be announcing more suspensions.

“The Hawks are also conducting investigations. Our fight against corruption is already yielding results.”