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City remains financially stable

Date: 2023-11-10 09:14:59

City remains financially stable

EThekwini Mayor Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda highlighted the developments in the City during a post Council media briefing on 2 November at the Kingsburgh Wastewater Treatment Works. The Mayor and other City officials conducted a walkabout to inspect the facility. Pictured is Victor Molahloa from Africa Green Tech who explained the dredging works process.

ETHEKWINI Mayor Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda highlighted the developments taking place in the City during a post Council media briefing on 2 November. The briefing took place at the Kingsburgh Wastewater Treatment Works where he reiterated that the City remains stable, functional, and financially sustainable. Mayor Kaunda elaborated on several pertinent issues during the media briefing including: MAINTENANCE OF WASTEWATER TREATMENT WORKS He said the Municipality has set aside about R6 million over the next six months for the dredging of pond sludge at various wastewater treatment facilities. This proactive maintenance work is essential in preventing the pollution of the adjacent river and sea, where wastewater treatment plants are discharging treated effluent. Dredging activities have already commenced at Kingsburgh, and similar initiatives at other wastewater treatment plants are set to begin soon.

UPDATE ON PUMPSTATIONS IMPACTING BEACHES He said the City has a dedicated technical team that meets regularly to analyse the water quality reports from beaches. The team also constantly monitors pumpstations and ensures that all pending technical glitches are resolved speedily. Mayor Kaunda said the Ohlange, Kingsway and Warnerdoone pumpstations are fully operational which has resulted in most beaches in the north and south being opened for swimming.

HAMMARSDALE WASTEWATER TREATMENT WORKS UPGRADE The City has set aside R265 million to upgrade the Hammarsdale Wastewater Treatment Works with work set to commence soon.

RE-OPENING OF BEACHES Twenty-two of the City’s beaches are open and safe for swimming. Only Warner Beach remains closed. The beaches were closed on the advice of the Natal Sharks Board as the recent rains caused shark nets at most beaches to break. To promote water quality, the Municipality has started the joint sampling of beach water quality with Adopt-a-River. This is a non-profit organisation whose samples are tested by an independent laboratory, Talbot. The joint sampling is to enable credible comparison of test results in the interests of transparency and public safety.

COURT DECISION ON WESTVILLE RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION The Durban High Court handed down judgement and dismissed the Westville Ratepayers Association case with costs after they took the eThekwini Municipality to court to seek an interdict to prevent the City from disconnecting Municipal services in their homes. This was after they embarked on a rates boycott. The judgement paved the way for the City to ensure that residents who are supporting the rates boycott pay for services, including penalties, interest, and a reconnection fee. Mayor Kaunda urged residents to continue paying their Municipal bills and where there are genuine financial difficulties, to make use of the current Debt Relief Programme which ends in December.

GRANT ROLLOVERS Mayor Kaunda said the City applied for a grant rollover from National Treasury of unspent conditional grants of R1.88 billion of which R1.5 billion relates to the Municipal Disaster Recovery Grant. He said the R1.5 billion was only received in March 2023, three months before the end of the City’s financial year. In terms of the grant framework, the Municipality has 12 months to spend the grant. Therefore, it was impossible for the Municipality to complete SCM processes of 700 projects that are worth R1.5 billion within three months.

PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT PROGRAMME Due to the ongoing government-wide budgetary constraints, eThekwini Municipality has been forced to suspend the Public Employment Programme (PEP) which is part of the Presidential Stimulus Package. He said it was a disappointing development that is beyond the Municipality’s control.

SPONSORSHIP OF SPORT BODIES Mayor Kaunda said the Executive Committee at a recent meeting recommended the approval of the partnership funding for the Hollywoodbets Dolphins Cricket team and KZN Sharks Rugby team for three years for R21.9 million. Partnering with sport bodies benefits the City in terms of brand exposure nationally and internationally which benefitted the City, he said.