How will R8.9 billion be spent?
There are many expectations as Xola Pakati, the Mayor for the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality prepares to deliver his R8.9 billion budget 2019 State of the City Address on Friday. He will announce game changing infrastructure projects, progress on the Mdantsane roads and the Link Road that will connect Beacon Bay and Gonubie.
Other matters include the Housing developments, electrification of informal settlements, water and sanitation and plans by the City’s Development Agency.
The Eastern Cape Rising Sun spoke to some key social organisations about what is on their Wishlist and how they would like to see Council use it.
South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU)
SAMWU’s wish is for the Municipality to hire at least 3 000 more workers in order to fulfil its constitutional deliverables to ratepayers. Zolani Ndlovu, Regional secretary for SAMWU, has high hopes for change management.
He lamented the practice of hundreds of ‘acting jobs’ and outsourcing as the number one cause of the high unemployment rate in BCMM. “It is cheaper and more beneficial to society to employ people and give them benefits than the ever growing and corrupt tendering process”.
“Additionally, our current staff needs training and skills to adjust and grow to new and more efficient ways of working. At the moment we have the old generation that does not want to transform which hinders their ability to serve a Metro,” said Ndlovu.
What Ndlovu calls the ‘big elephant in the city’; supply chain management is said to be the root cause of all the bottlenecks in service delivery and operations. “The slow pace of this department makes procurement a nightmare. Any approved projects do not have any guarantees of being carried out,” said Ndlovu.
Border Kei Chamber of Business (BKCOB)
For Drayton Brown, Project Manager: Invest Buffalo City, Border-Kei Chamber of Business special focus is needed for the N2/R72 Bypass, Beacon Bay / Gonubie Link Road, Waste Water Treatment works on the West Bank and the Solar PV project in Berlin.
“How will the city support new businesses related to the IOX Sea Cable landing in the ELIDZ? How does the city plan to deal with both the ease and cost of doing business within the Metro? In my current role, I am aware of a number of projects being implemented by both the City and its Development Agency – it would be great if these can be shared to create excitement and anticipation within the broader Buffalo City community and create positive dialogue on where the city is heading,” said Brown.
Down Syndrome Association Amathole
The Down Syndrome Association in East London assists children with down syndrome and parents through support groups and outreach programmes around hospitals and homes. It also assists people with other intellectual disabilities.
East London’s Branch Director, Denise Taylor has only one wish; Funding, as they are a non-profit organisation requiring very specific resources. “We literally cannot afford transport, salaries, carrying out beneficial activities for the children. We depend on small grants that are quickly absorbed by bills to keep us open and somewhat useful to our community. We have a lot of volunteers who are unemployed and in need of income for the hard-work they put in,” she narrates.
Rate Payers Associaton
Valerie Knoetze, spokesperson for the Gonubie Ratepayers Association highlighted the condition of the Nahoon walkway and Gonubie boardwalk, describing them as ‘horrible’. “There is so much that we have spoken about over the years. We are still hoping for a Gonubie Skateboard park, a decent walkway along the ocean for people to run and cycle.
The road at black rock was washed away and needs attention. We also need cameras installed with storage capacity to assist with crime in the area,” said Knoetze.
She advises that BCMM should not waste any more money on new waste trucks but rather repair vehicles that they own. “Our roads in this City are in despair,” she concluded
Business Women's Association South Africa (EL)
Sipokazi Jojo, a professional Accountant is passionate about educating and empowering small businesses. “Small, Medium and Macro Enterprises (SMMEs) contribute more than 30% to South African GDP yet they are expected to fail within the first five years of their existence. We are experiencing jobs shedding with larger businesses retrenching thousands of employees monthly, at the same time the government has publicly declared that it is bloated with employees. Should things continue as they are, more pressure will be put on SMMEs to contribute to the economy,” she said.
Her biggest concern is that SMMEs are “funded” instead of being “empowered”. This means that businesses are given money by government and private funders and there is no follow-up and monitoring. She argues that SMMEs should be given a chance to survive by ensuring that they are linked to professionals.
“There is a lot of red tape, administration and compliance regulations (e.g. CIPC, SARS, department of labour requirements) for entrepreneurs which may easily lead to noncompliance and financial mismanagement. It is my wish that our city invests in empowering SMMEs rather than just funding them”, said Jojo.