Cape Town considering Olympic bid - Dan Plato

Mayor warns that a careful approach is needed before the city commits to anything


Mr Speaker, since the last Council meeting this city of ours has hosted a magnificent 2010 FIFA World CupTM. We can be proud of our Council, our officials and especially Team Cape Town with its 3,5 million residents.

Our stadium was filled for each of the eight matches. More than half a million people - 507 000 to be exact - watched the games there.

Our fan walk became the talk of the town and of the world. No other Host City had anything like it. A total of 580 000 people walked this colourful, fun-filled, supporter route.

The FIFA Fan FestTM on the Grand Parade attracted 560 00 spectators who watched world-class soccer on the big screen. Table Mountain, City Hall and the Castle provided the best backdrop in the world. Our fan jols, at no cost to the public, ensured that every one of the 219 000 visitors enjoyed live screenings and entertainment which they will remember for the rest of their lives.

The 2010 FIFA World CupTM was a wonderful platform for the arts and crafts' industries. The FIFA Fan FestTM on the Grand Parade was the only South African Fan Fest that offered a craft village, and craft producers sold products worth R589 000. Craft products, food and drinks were also sold along the fan walk, while artists and sculptors helped to beautify our city. Through a system of coaching and auditions, 160 performers from across Cape Town appeared at the FIFA Fan FestTM, fan jols and other World Cup stages.

The event transport system worked very well. Cape Town Airport was welcoming and efficient. The airport to city centre shuttle was popular.  Almost 136 000 people used the MyCiTi shuttle to the stadium and back. More than 40 000 cars parked at the 25 Park-and-Ride facilities throughout Cape Town, which enabled drivers and passengers to use buses and trains to reach the central city. Metrorail completed more than one million passenger journeys during the World Cup.

No significant incidents or crimes were reported throughout the tournament. Our city was clean and it ran smoothly and efficiently. Residents and visitors had memorable and positive experiences and we were fortunate that the weather was kind to us. We had a line-up of presidents, ministers, royalty, sport and film stars in town. Many of them provided their hand prints for the Mandela Legacy Canvas which will be auctioned to raise money for the Nelson Mandela Foundation. And, let there be no doubt, Cape Town had "gees" for Africa!

Media coverage was also overwhelmingly positive. For the month of June, Cape Town's advertising publicity was valued at R76 million, just within South Africa. This excludes international media coverage which would be significantly higher.

The compliments from visitors say it all. We used these comments in advertisements to thank all Capetonians for being such wonderful hosts. Pancho from Uruguay said: "Cape Town is the best city in South Africa. I want to stay!"; Amanda Sopete from East London said: "Cape Town brought everyone together"; José Perez and friends from Venezuela said: "Cape Town is a beautiful city and its hospitality excels."

Six years ago, in the aptly-named Good Hope Centre, we celebrated South Africa's success in its bid to host the 2010 FIFA World CupTM. In March 2007 we started building the stadium, which was completed on schedule in December 2009. We hosted four test events to make sure everything ran smoothly, and by the time the tournament started we were confident that we were ready to welcome the world.

The World Cup showed what can be achieved when the three spheres of government, public enterprises, business, other stakeholders and residents all work together. Let us keep that magic. Let us use the same approach to solve other challenges that confront our city and our country.

Speaker, Mike Marsden, his three directors and the World Cup project team did an excellent job. Deputy Mayor, Alderman Ian Neilson and the World Cup sub-committee guided and oversaw the project. They did the city proud. To Councillors, Mayco members, the City Manager, EMT, City volunteers, line department staff and everyone who did their bit, thank you. Event volunteers from the City's staff and local communities were the stars of the World Cup. You were all part of something truly special that will be remembered for a very long time.

Cape Town, Africa's greatest city, welcomed the world - and bowled them over. Thank you Cape Town!

Speaker, the operation of the MyCiTi event service during the 2010 FIFA World CupTM, consisting of the inner city loop, airport to city shuttle and stadium shuttle service, gave the people of Cape Town and its visitors a taste of the public transport service vision for Cape Town.

During the World Cup period, the MyCiTi buses transported over 12 000 passengers between the airport and the Civic Centre; over 135 000 passengers to and from Hertzog Boulevard Station and the Cape Town Stadium on the eight match days; and over 13 000 people on the inner city loop.

As part of the first phase of the permanent MyCiTi service, several permanent routes will make their way around Cape Town, starting with a trunk route on the R27 early in 2011. The MyCiTi/IRT service will eventually be extended across the city, with the full range of inner city feeders launched in the last quarter of 2011.

From 17 July, the airport service has been operating from 04:20 to 22:00 at 20 minute intervals. I would like to encourage people to use this cost-effective, convenient and quality service. Special shuttle services between the city centre and the Cape Town Stadium will continue for large events at this venue.

Operating an event-based bus service was a good learning experience for the City. The City will implement these lessons in our public transport service and further fine-tune our routing. The City also received extensive feedback on ways to improve the system. Our focus now shifts from organising an event transport service, to implementing the first steps of our Public Transport Service plan.

We would like to thank all Capetonians and visitors who used the MyCiTi service during the 2010 FIFA World CupTM, and specifically for the very useful feedback you provided. Your input will inform and guide our future planning. There can be no doubt that public acceptance and use of our public transport system during the 2010 FIFA World CupTM considerably eased traffic congestion and reduced delays. This experience can only serve as a model for reducing traffic gridlock in the future.

Speaker, many people feel that, based on our World Cup success, Cape Town should bid for the Olympics. It seems like the next logical step, but it requires careful thought, not an emotional response.

The World Cup is staged by a country, the Olympics by only one city. It would be inconceivable to host it without support and guaranteed funding from the national government. 

We will follow a considered process to decide whether or not to bid for the Olympic Games in 2020. We will first complete our debriefing of the World Cup. We will then take stock of our service delivery priorities which include poverty alleviation, housing and services. Next we will do a gap analysis - to ascertain the facilities, venues and services required to host the Olympics, against what Cape Town currently has. We must establish what it will take and cost to provide the rest, and whether hosting will contribute to our long-term goals as a city. Finally, we must be certain of the social, economic and environmental benefits.

As a first step we need to attract a portfolio of events ranging from small and medium to major and mega. This must include entertainment, arts, culture, business, academia and sport. We must ensure that the return on effort and the investment benefits the city and all its people. The facilities and gains from hosting these events should support Cape Town's long term development goals. Events must be used as an economic catalyst.

Cape Town has an undeniable track record of hosting major events successfully and without significant incidents: rugby, cricket and soccer World Cups, the Indian Professional League (IPL) cricket, the Final Draw for the 2010 FIFA World CupTM, the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour, the Two Oceans and Cape Town Marathon, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, and many more. And this weekend we welcome the publishing world to the city for the Cape Town Book Fair.

On top of this we have the world-class facilities for event venues, and immense natural beauty as a backdrop, combined with the necessary expertise and wonderful people.

The City of Cape Town is happy to play the leading role in positioning Cape Town as an events capital. We will consult and cooperate with any external stakeholders who can contribute to making this vision a reality.

With our successful staging of the 2010 FIFA World CupTM we can say: The world has re-discovered Cape Town. Capetonians have proudly rediscovered themselves. The World Cup is the start of greater things.

Speaker, now that the World Cup is over, we need to buckle down and reset our focus upon the bread and butter issues that face the people of Cape Town on a daily basis.

There has been a resurgence in media interest recently about the street-naming process that was put on hold by the City almost two years ago. I believe that the former Executive Mayor made an appropriate recommendation to halt the process at the time because of the division it was causing in some communities.

It was never the intention of the City to abandon the process altogether. It did, however, indicate that there were some serious flaws in the policy and these needed to be addressed before recommencing the exercise.

I have appointed a task team, to be chaired by Alderman Owen Kinahan, which will make recommendations to me on how we should proceed. Because this is a by-law, it will be subject to public participation and it is possible that an amended by-law could be brought to Council for its approval before the end of this year.

I want to emphasise that it is very important for all communities in Cape Town that this is handled properly. It is too important to become a political football for election purposes. Moreover, there are strong indications from the public that they are concerned about cost implications as well as public input. These concerns, among others, must be considered and debated by the task team.

Speaker, in order to be fair to all indigent electricity users in Cape Town, the Mayoral Committee has recommended to Council that the City amend its policy of subsidising Eskom to provide free basic electricity to users in the Eskom supply area of the city. It is recommended that the City reduce its subsidy to Eskom to provide Free Basic Electricity to Eskom customers who use less than 250 kilowatt hours per month, and not to those who use less than 450 kilowatt hours, as it used to do.

The City will continue to provide free basic electricity to its own customers who use less than 450 kilowatt hours per month.

This amendment was necessary due to Eskom's change in tariff structure which resulted in their domestic customers who use more than 150 kWh per month paying significantly less than the equivalent City of Cape Town customers. The City therefore needed to review its Free Basic Electricity Subsidy to Eskom, so that the City's subsidy to Eskom did not result in Eskom's customers paying less than the City's own customers.

The City considered a number of ways in which to deal with the tariff discrepancy. After numerous analyses, it was concluded that the most effective way to minimise the tariff discrepancies would be to lower the City's free basic electricity subsidy to Eskom users from those who use less than 450 kWh per month to those who use less than 250 kWh per month. Over the next few months we will engage Eskom about how it supplies electricity to the City to ensure maximum benefit for all our residents.

Speaker, let me apologise unreservedly to the Gordon's Bay community for the tragic events that happened in this area over a long period of time. Allegations were made by community members that development had taken place without proper processes being followed on a ‘Coloured' portion of the Gordon's Bay cemetery. When this matter was brought to our attention, the City instructed ENS Forensics, an external and independent organisation, to establish whether there were any irregularities in upgrading the front portion of the ‘Coloured' part of the cemetery and the construction of Ocean Quays, part of the Harbour Island development in 2004. They were further tasked with establishing whether the sale and rezoning of the land was done within the law.

Community members have stated that burials took place on a portion of land in question in the Gordon's Bay area until approximately 1970. This portion of land was largely designated for the Coloured community under the previous Apartheid government. This land appears to have been later sold on and the Ocean Quays, part of the Harbour Island development which was approved in 2004, was then constructed on this site. This sale is a culmination of an extensive period of neglect, abuse and mismanagement, for which I, on behalf of the City, have unreservedly apologised to the community.

Unfortunately, because the improper management of this portion of land happened so long ago and because of the subsequent failure to properly investigate community concerns, the exact course of events cannot be confirmed and it is therefore difficult to take action. Nevertheless, significant hurt has been caused as a result of this transaction. We take this matter extremely seriously and we are doing everything within our power to seek appropriate sanctions against those responsible as well as redress for the affected community.

The investigation has identified the Council members and officials who were involved in the rezoning and sale of the property in question. The City is seeking legal opinion on how these findings should be acted upon. It is important to note that, due to the time that has elapsed, only one of the City officials who played a role in these irregularities is still employed by this municipality. This official may not have had sufficient authority at the time to make decisions that could have affected the way in which this property transaction process was dealt with at the various stages.

The investigation has also shown us that the actions by the developer and/or its agents when the foundations and basement of Ocean Quays were excavated in 2004 contravened Section 36(3) of the National Heritage Resource Act. There was sufficient evidence to inform the developer and/or its agents that the area was a burial ground older than 60 years, which was situated outside a formal cemetery administered by a local authority. Therefore, a permit issued by the South African Heritage Resource Agency, or a Provincial Heritage Resources authority, was required prior to the commencement of excavation work.

Based on the investigation, it is believed that there are sufficient grounds for a criminal case to be opened with the South African Police Services and the City will report the matter to the authorities. They will assess the evidence and make a decision regarding a potential prosecution.

We have inherited a very important, but difficult problem, where a particular community was not only marginalised, but disrespected by a previous Administration. We would therefore like to honour this community's memory.

A committee consisting of members of the community and City politicians and officials is being established. Together we will seek the most positive resolution possible to their justifiable sense of outrage and loss.

Speaker, the City has set aside R13.5 million to drive urban renewal and the revitalisation of disadvantaged formal communities. While significant resources have been allocated to the Presidential Urban Renewal Nodes (Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain), many communities feel neglected and forgotten and look to us for solutions to the crime and grime that plague them. These are the most basic elements for improvement when driving urban upgrade and renewal in any of the affected neighbourhoods.

During the Mayor's Roadshow, I visited 105 communities and heard from many of them how they struggle with dumping, littering, graffiti, crime, vandalism, homeless people, broken street lights and other problems. As a result of this call for help, I have worked with my Administration to identify an effective intervention to help these communities.

The remarkable success of the City's VPUU programme in Khayelitsha, a project in partnership with German donor funding, and the laudable success of the 23 City Improvement Districts around the city has allowed us to develop an improvement model that will see the best practices of both these concepts extended to and implemented in targeted communities across the city. This will have an immediate and long-term positive impact. It will empower the local community, improve services, help to combat crime and grime and encourage volunteerism.

I am confident that we will be able to improve emerging business nodes and help create the kind of environment that supports new businesses and grows existing ones, thereby creating jobs and enhancing the quality of life of local residents by helping them take ownership of their public spaces and community facilities.

Speaker, in this new financial year, I would like to encourage all Councillors and officials to make optimal use of their budgets to maximise service delivery. Let us continue on the high of hosting the World Cup. Through efficient and effective service we can keep the ‘gees' going for years to come.

Thank you.

Statement issued by the Communication Department, City of Cape Town, July 28 2010

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