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SOCA outlines plans to build a better City for all

Date: 2023-05-05 11:37:18

SOCA outlines plans to build a better City for all

EThekwini Mayor Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda during a law enforcement drill held before the State of the
City Address (SOCA) at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre. A colourful parade
was also held before SOCA. Mayor Kaunda outlined plans to take the City to greater heights during the
anticipated address.

ETHEKWINI Mayor Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda delivered the much-anticipated State of the City Address (SOCA)
on 26 April at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre. During the address he outlined the Municipality’s financial position, progress on capital projects, as well as setting the agenda for the year ahead.

He said the City has identified the following key five priorities:
• Building adequate infrastructure to improve service delivery
• Job creation
• Skills development
• Fighting crime to create safe living spaces
• A resilient social solidarity economy

Mayor Kaunda said: “We are happy to see the economy bouncing back and returning to pre-COVID-19 growth levels. This can be attributed to the Economic Recovery Plan.” “Businesses that were forced by the hard lockdown
during COVID-19 to halt operations have reopened and retained many jobs. In addition, during this period, we were able to attract foreign direct investment of close to R4 billion.” Regarding infrastructure damaged during the floods,
the R1.5 billion flood relief grant has been received in addition to the R185 million that came six months after the floods. This will be used to address damaged roads, bridges, stormwater systems, human settlement, and sanitation infrastructure.

He said 8 000 families who were displaced by floods and moved to 120 mass care centres are now in safe family-friendly accommodation. Plans to build permanent houses for them are also advancing. The City is preparing 15 sites for this purpose. This will yield 3 500 sites. Building material to 576 families affected by the floods has also been supplied. In the current financial year, the Municipality will deliver 19 800 housing opportunities through the
construction of new and upgraded community residential units, rectification of pre and post 1994 houses
(numbers), and the eradication of transit facilities.

The City has completed 11 flood-related water projects in various areas. “Together with Umgeni Water, we are finalising plans to upgrade the Southern Aqueduct which, when completed – will provide these areas with a reliable supply. The project will cost over R900 million,” he said. He said contractors are repairing two major wastewater treatment works in Umbilo and the Northern Wastewater Treatment Works in Sea Cow Lake To improve water accessibility in areas with water network challenges, the Municipality is procuring 55 new water tankers to add to the current fleet. The construction of Umkhomazi Dam will resolve the deficit in available raw
water to meet the full water demand for the City.

Mayor Kaunda said challenges of load shedding, theft, and vandalism of electricity infrastructure continues. He said over 100 power stations were severely affected by the floods and but all are in good working condition.

Of the R1.5 billion flood relief grant, R1.2 billion has been allocated to repair roads, bridges, and storm water systems. “We are confident that by the end of this year all our access roads will be traversable,” he said. In the past five years, the Municipality has upgraded 68 km of roads from gravel to tar and rehabilitated 1106 km.

Part of the interventions the City will implement to eradicate crime include: 
• Recruitment of 400 Metro Police officers annually 
• Use of technology to fight crime using CCTV cameras in the CBD, rural areas, and townships
• Facial recognition cameras at entry points 
• Body cameras for Metro Police officers 
• Training of specialised units in collaboration with SAPS
• Using dronest to detect crime.