The state of Cape Town 2011 - Dan Plato

Mayor says effort to make city comply with national demographics is completely unrealistic


23 FEBRUARY 2011

Speaker, today this Council will be asked to vote on the draft budget for 2011/2012. Deputy Mayor and Mayoral Committee Member for Finance, Alderman Ian Neilson, will shortly present the full details of the draft budget. This is our Multi-Party Government's fifth draft budget since coming to office and will be the last one in the current term of office.

Speaker, before the draft budget is tabled I would like to make a few general comments.

Speaker, according to UN-HABITAT in the next 90 years, 90% of the world's population will be living in cities and urban areas. Finding solutions to achieve sustainable, equitable access to the earth's natural resources, within the urban context, is therefore more critical than ever.  We are indeed living in the ‘Century of Cities'.

We know that Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rate of poverty in the world, is the most vulnerable to climate change, lacks infrastructure, and faces dire equitable access issues related to food security, clean water supply and energy security.

However, there is hope. Local actions, on the part of cities and towns, from all over the world have shown us that together we have the ability, technology and leadership to tackle the cumulative challenges that climate change presents our generation.

It is at the level of cities, districts, towns and villages where leaders and decision-makers are closest to communities. It is here where City leadership with their communities can work together, hand in hand, to implement real change.

Speaker, cities need to plan and design new ways for a low-carbon, resource efficient future in the face of climate change. ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, is a widely recognized global association of more than 1200 cities and local governments, in 70 countries, working with their members towards achieving sustainable development at the local level. ICLEI believes that the solution to global environmental sustainability challenges lies in accelerated and cumulative local action.

The City of Cape Town has a long standing relationship with ICLEI Africa, and we are proud to be the African host city of the ICLEI - Africa Secretariat.

Speaker, we are co-hosting a major Pan-African event with ICLEI next week, Local Climate Solutions for Africa, 2011, which will bring together mayors and leaders from more than 29 African countries, over 60 international organizations, CEOs and ambassadors.

The major objectives of the Cape Town conference are

* the preparation of a Local Government Declaration on the National Global Climate Negotiations, which will be tabled at the International Climate Talks to be hosted by South Africa, in Durban at the end of this year, UNFCC COP 17; and

*  providing real solutions for African cities, with useful tools, technical workshops and international experts showcasing best practice examples.

The conference will provide a timely opportunity for local government leaders in Africa to learn about what is needed to build resilience against the threat of climate change and also to consider appropriate responses to the outputs from COP 16 in Cancun in preparation for participating actively in the Durban event. We will also take the opportunity presented by LOCS 2011 to profile some of our City's best climate change-related practices and projects to African leaders as well as international experts and funding agencies.

Let me be clear Speaker, this meeting is critical for Cape Town. It is very easy to dismiss environmental issues as being an issue for wealthy people and greenies, but environmental changes have a much greater effect on poor people than on wealthy people, as the poor have fewer resources to help them cope with catastrophic events. One only has to look at the impact that the recent floods north of Cape Town had on poorer, rural communities with limited resources. Our participation in this workshop will focus on how we can protect and manage our natural environment for all the people of Cape Town.

Speaker, Cape Town is also proud to host the UN World Water Day on the 22nd of March. The United Nations Habitat, UN Water and the African Ministers Council on Water have collaborated to host this historic event on our shores to highlight the plight of urban dwellers with regard to water. A range of issues will be discussed focusing on options for tackling urban water and sanitation challenges facing the African continent. The overall theme is: Water for Cities - Responding to the Urban Challenge. This is another opportunity for high-level discussions on strategies to deal with worldwide issues.

Speaker, District Six has been one of the most difficult challenges that the government has faced over the past two decades.

The restitution of this historic tract of land has been a long and arduous process. It still has a long way to go. As a city, we must, however, celebrate the small successes which will change the lives of some of its former inhabitants. Any act to redress the gross injustices of the past must be applauded and supported.

As it stands now District Six is a visual scar and constant reminder of the horrors of apartheid.

While we cannot forget this tragedy and the devastating effects on people we cannot stand still. There is a very long way to go to restore District Six. There is so much work to do. There have been shortcomings in the past.

The City of Cape Town has made a commitment to work closely with the District Beneficiary and Redevelopment Trust and all spheres of government to make progress. We will assist in completing the business plan. We will help where possible to fast-track further development. Our efforts will be guided by the people of District Six and their yearning to find closure, hope, progress and a place of dignity.

Speaker, I would like to thank the City staff who assisted in making the District Handover Event on 11 February 2011 a success. The Safety and Security Directorate deserve a special word of thanks for the role that they played. The event was attended by President Jacob Zuma together with several Cabinet Ministers and MECs to hand over 44 houses completed in the second Pilot Project. The President announced at the event that he had agreed with all the affected stakeholders that District Six will be redeveloped in three years. The City will work with all role-players to assist in making his commitment a reality.

Speaker, the City's events calendar is reaching near capacity with Cape Town set to play host to numerous major events over the next few months.

I must thank all involved in the great success of the U2 concert - the management of 78 000 people in the Cape Town stadium with no major incidents is proof that the City is capable of hosting events of this magnitude.

Upcoming events that we can look forward to include Cape Town International Jazz Festival, Two Oceans Marathon, Pick n Pay Argus Cycle Tour, the Cape Epic, Neil Diamond and the Cape Town Carnival as well as a number of local sporting derbies. The combined contribution from these events to the economy of Cape Town run into billions of rand and is helping to sustain Cape Town's important services sector.

Over the weekend I noticed that the Johannesburg leg of the Tour of South Africa cycle race had to be called off due to confusion over road closures. As mentioned the city plays host to the largest timed cycle event in the world in the form of the Pick and Pay Argus Cycle Tour, and as usual we will do our utmost to ensure a safe, successful event. I would like to urge both motorists and cyclists to respect the rules of the road. All road users no matter pedestrian, cyclist or motorist must adhere to and obey the rules. These rules are in place to ensure the safety of all road users. I further encourage all cyclists to make use of cycling facilities that we have built across Cape Town. We have built NMT facilities in Strand/Nomzamo, Khayelitsha, Philippi, Nyanga, Gugulethu, Heideveld, Gatesville/Bridgetown (Athlone), Langa, Mowbray, Rondebosch, West Coast R27, Blouberg, Kommetjie and others. NMT lanes are also being built all over the Cape Town CBD, to link up with the routes linking into the city. These are facilities built for all Capetonians and I urge both commuter and recreational cyclists to use these facilities.

Speaker, with the recent extensive media coverage on the billing crisis that is affecting Johannesburg, I want to reassure Capetonians that this is not the case in our city. In an external survey conducted in 2009, the City was perceived as performing particularly well when it comes to Billings and Payments .The fact that accounts are received regularly, are understandable and can be paid conveniently is an aspect that is especially successful.

Although the City of Cape Town is billing accurately and timeously we are faced with an on-going challenge of data integrity due to the loss of institutional knowledge, high volumes of data movement and disparate data sources. We are addressing this by providing on-going training to our staff and implementing various data initiatives to improve data integrity.

I want to assure residents that ensuring the ongoing efficiency and accuracy of our system is a major priority for the City of Cape Town.

Speaker, residents of the West Coast areas of Cape Town are justifiably frustrated by being stuck in traffic jams and are eagerly awaiting the launch of the new MyCiTi service. I can assure them that we are working intensively with multiple partners to get this service running as soon as possible.

The City of Cape Town is wholeheartedly committed to providing this service, and it is coming soon.

The City is planning to test the service in April and roll-out it out as soon as possible once passenger safety has been assured. This will be a major milestone - a new commuter bus service with safe, clean and affordable buses that also provides off peak services. It will bring significant benefits and convenience for people living close to the new trunk route, as well as near the feeder services leading to the stations.

The launch will also give residents a taste of the level of service that lies in store for the rest of Cape Town in coming years as the service is expanded.

With goodwill from all parties, we believe we can achieve our objectives. However, negotiations with the existing transport providers are complex and we are committed to involving them in the new system. We understand both their concerns and rights. We are committed to a fair outcome for all parties for the greater good of the people of Cape Town.

Negotiation with the existing public transport industry is governed by law. In compliance with these provisions the City is engaging with all directly affected public transport operators. These are public transport services providers whose services the City proposes to replace in Phase 1A of MyCiTi, and whose legal rights are affected. In return for participation, minibus-taxi operators must agree to surrender their operating licence and operating vehicle in return for compensation or participation as shareholders in the vehicle operating companies, or a combination of both. Scheduled bus companies are being offered participation in the new business in proportion to their current market share. Eight taxi associations and two scheduled bus companies are considered directly affected by Phase 1A of the project.

For the past two years, City officials have been in discussions with the existing public transport industry to ensure fair participation in the MyCiTi system.

The parties are working towards an agreement in principle, but there is detail still to be finalised. The City originally intended to have two vehicle operating companies running the bus service, as described in the MyCiTi business plan. This has proven problematic for some parties in the industry.

A proposed solution is to have three, rather than two, companies running the interim service. This item serves on the agenda today.

Speaker, staff members are working extremely long hours to finalise the negotiations, and politicians are discussing progress at weekly meetings.

Two highly skilled facilitators are working on the negotiations between the City, the mini-bus taxi associations and bus-operating companies. These facilitators were chosen in consultation with the mini-bus taxi and scheduled bus organisations, and there has been substantial progress. Company B, which consists of the taxi associations in the Blaauwberg/Dunoon/Atlantis corridor, has just been formed, and has indicated it is ready to enter into an agreement with the City.

The MyCiTi project is funded by national government, and is being developed in line with national policy and continues to benefit from increasing funding. This is a sign of their commitment to and confidence in the MyCiTi project. When completed MyCiTi will be the biggest project the City has ever undertaken. It is an enormously difficult and complex project, but it will unlock many economic and social opportunities.

When there are challenges, we work through them. Already, many challenges have been overcome.

There is a commitment from all levels of government, and intense work on the project is under way, day and night.

I assure the citizens of Cape Town that the hard, focused work will continue on this substantial project. We are confident that when it is finished, this new MyCiTi transport service will be well worth the wait.

Speaker, in light of the recent attacks on hikers and cyclists on the mountain's scenic routes and trails, the City's Metro Police and Law Enforcement Officers increased patrols on the Tafelberg and Signal Hill Roads that lead to the mountain.

Patrolling of the Table Mountain trails is the responsibility of SANparks, whilst Metro Police and Law Enforcement conduct routine visible patrols on Tafelberg and Signal Hill Roads. No robberies or muggings have been reported during these patrols, which form part of daily deployment focusing on enforcing the City's by-laws.

The Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith, has met with the MEC for Community Safety, Albert Fritz, to discuss a strategy that includes all enforcement agencies to address the problem. The South African Police Service in the past had a forum in place which included the City and Table Mountain National Park. This forum is being reconstituted under the authority of MEC Fritz's office and we are sure that this will make major strides in curbing the incidence of crime on our mountains.

The City of Cape Town has investigated the recent incident whereby Traffic Officers took too long to respond to a report of faulty traffic lights in Newlands Avenue.

The investigation concluded that staff did not carry out their duties adequately and disciplinary action is being taken. We have also taken remedial action to ensure that in future incidents such as this are reported and handled timeously.

Speaker, the City has brokered a deal with Outsurance in terms of the City's rent-a-cop scheme which will result in the deployment of 20 additional Traffic Wardens. The first 20 are currently undergoing training and will start in March. Their duties will be primarily focused on the management of traffic congestion.

Speaker, there has been a great deal of publicity in the media recently around the proposed amendments to the Employment Equity Act. I would like to assure staff at the City of Cape Town that we have no intention of moving away from the current policy. Each Province in South Africa has its own unique demographic and trying to make the Western Cape comply with national equity targets is completely unrealistic. The City of Cape Town is currently well in line with Provincial Demographic targets and I see no logical reason why we should move away from our current approach.

Speaker, the current City Government out-shone all other metros and local governments to become the best-run municipality in South Africa.

Our first priority was to get the basics right: a platform for economic growth based on three legs of infrastructure provision; effective and clean government institutions; and efficient regulation that enables rather than controls. Effective corporate governance is a non-negotiable element of any successful municipal government.

We have recognised that good governance hinges on effective leadership with the proven ability to define strategy, provide direction, and model the ethics and values that influence and guide practices and behaviour across the organisation. The City of Cape Town strives to maintain a high level of integrity, efficiency and effectiveness in all its administrative systems, processes, structures and delivery mechanisms. The City has consistently achieved these goals, receiving unqualified audits for seven consecutive years, maintaining a credit rating of, and constantly improving both its customer and staff satisfaction ratings.

Speaker, all of these achievements contributed to the City of Cape Town recently being recognised as the top metropolitan municipality in South Africa in terms of service delivery - an accolade of which we are particularly proud, and one that contributes to the already strong reputation Cape Town enjoys as a well-run city. 

The City is committed to ensuring that Cape Town maintains its status as a world-class tourist destination - not only for the international market, but for South Africans and most importantly Capetonians too. At the same time, we are striving to create more opportunities for businesses, thereby providing the stimulus for increased job creation. Skills development is an integral part of our focus in this strategic area, as we recognise that by developing our citizens' skills, we will create more opportunities for local economic growth. To further encourage sustainable economic development, we are pro-actively seeking solutions to make engagement with the City faster and more effective, and reduce the amount of red tape that still exists in development application processes.

Speaker, during my term of office I aimed to focus on poverty alleviation and to significantly improve service delivery. The issues that affect the poor are not isolated.

Over the last 20 years, Cape Town has experienced a rapid trend of urbanisation, which has resulted in its population almost doubling to its current total of 3,5 million people. This stellar growth has been the result of two main factors: The first is the 1% annual growth through natural family formation, and the second is the continued in-migration of approximately 50 000 people (18 000 households) per year, primarily from the rural areas of the Eastern Cape, most of whom come to Cape Town in search of jobs.

This urbanisation trend presents Cape Town with a number of major challenges, particularly when one considers that around 91% of households in the city earn less than R6 400 per month, and therefore depend on the State for their housing needs.

In response to these challenges, the City is formulating its city-wide strategic urbanisation plan, which will draw on the expertise and experience of professionals within various City Departments as well as academics from local and international learning institutions. As part of this plan, the City will be providing a wide range of housing opportunities in accordance with the Housing Directorate's Five-year Integrated Housing Plan, including a land banking initiative to secure land for future housing developments.

However, the City recognises that it cannot approach the provision of housing as an isolated issue, but needs to help create communities where people have access to good-quality public spaces and the services that will enable them to flourish.

The City will continue to invest in infrastructure that will support and enhance the local economy to provide a healthy basis for years to come ensuring that it is able to achieve more with fewer resources, and will have no impact on service delivery levels, which remain a top priority for the coming months and years.

Speaker, the budget theme adopted for the 2011/2012 MTREF period was ‘Driving Efficiencies i.e. reprioritisation of existing resources / current allocations'. This theme resulted from the realisation that no, or limited, scope for additional externally- or internally-funded revenue growth existed and was further reiterated in National Treasury guidelines.

It is worth noting that the 2011/2012 draft budget was prepared in the context of a reviving economy, whilst still acknowledging the lingering effects of the economic downturn of the past couple of years.

In short, the Capital Budget increases from R3 995 million in 2010/2011 to R4 828 million in 2011/2012 with an overall growth of 20.8%. The total operating expenditure increased from R19.5 billion in 2010/11 to R21.9 billion in 2011/12 with an overall growth of 12.5%.

Speaker, I must stress that this is a draft budget. The public will be able to comment on it, and all the City's Portfolio Committees will assess it in detail in the weeks to come.

The draft budget 2011/2012 is now tabled and I hand over to Alderman Ian Neilson to discuss the budget in greater detail.

Thank you.

Issued by: Communication Department, City of Cape Town, February 23 2011

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