Firstly, let me congratulate the Proteas Netball Team for winning the African Championships that took place in Cape Town this month. I hope this is a sign of future success as we will be hosting the World Netball Championships soon.
We have also just won the bid to host the 2022 Rugby Sevens World Cup, another major event for the residents of Cape Town to enjoy, and confirming why Cape Town is officially known as the World’s Leading Festival and Events destination. I also want to congratulate the Springboks for making it to the final of the Rugby World Cup in Japan. I wish them all of the best against England on Saturday! Bring home the cup!
I want to appeal to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHRC), as well as the Department of Home Affairs to please engage with the foreign nationals who have been protesting over recent weeks. If it’s true that some of them want to leave South Africa, then please help them gracefully. Why must government be so slow to react?
I am proud of the accomplishments of this administration in getting back on track this year and focusing on delivering the best services for our residents, trying our best to alleviate the damage caused by Eskom and even going to court to try and force the national government to let us buy power from independent power producers.
Our road network is well maintained with close to R40 million being spent on repairing 20 000 potholes during the last financial year (2018/19). We have also spent R287 million on resurfacing roads this past year. While the recent heavy rains are very welcome in terms of raising the level of our dams, the downside is that they can cause serious damage to our road network.
I have handed over free electricity meters to residents so that they can have control over how much they spend, have led clean up campaigns in numerous wards across the metro. These clean up campaigns will continue because I am still not happy with the level of cleanliness. Cleaner communities mean healthier communities and our residents must please work with us.
We have also extended our recycling programme to more wards, and in the last two months attended at least two ward-based community meetings every week. This is over and above all the other meetings of course. The ward based meetings are now being held on a quarterly basis because I want to ensure that we keep the lines of communication with our residents open. I want to hear first-hand from them what is going on in their wards, where we can do better and what we are getting right, and I want them to hear from us what we have delivered and what we will continue to deliver in their communities.
We have so many good news stories to share with our residents, and I believe that one of the biggest ones today is the request to council to approve the establishment of the Cape Skills and Employment Accelerator Project.
As a government, our role is not to create jobs. Ours is to create an environment in which jobs can be created, to cut the red tape and to provide assistance where we can to help businesses get on their feet, to assist aspiring entrepreneurs to succeed and to welcome big business by having attractive and functional infrastructure and services.
I believe we are doing really well in this regard, and in ensuring that we remain the city with the lowest unemployment and the most job creation opportunities.
In line with our focus on job creation, the Cape Skills and Employment Accelerator Project will be established following the efforts of Alderman James Vos, MayCo member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management and his team to secure funding support from the National Skills Fund, which is managed by the Department of Higher Education and Training.
This funding, together with our own funding and industry support will enable us to provide training to more than 3000 learners. Once they have completed their training, we will also be able to support their entry into the job market with stipends that will allow them to get the necessary on-the-job experience and set themselves up for bright careers.
As a City, we will continue to invest in skills and training for the sectors that are set to gain substantial increases in employment and trade, like the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and clothing and textile sectors, instead of training for the sake of training.
City officials have already been in contact with key role-players and private companies in these sectors to employ the successful candidates on completion of these learnerships.
I am looking forward to seeing the thousands of young people who will benefit from this project.
Today we will also be putting forward a proposal to approve an agreement with the Dutch Government whereby the City of Cape Town’s Transport Directorate will receive R300 million of grant funding over the next five to ten years to improve public transport for our commuters from Khayelitsha.
This funding agreement is known as the Orio Project and is a collaboration between the City and the Dutch Government for the roll-out of the MyCiTi bus service between Khayelitsha and Wynberg and Claremont.
The importance of this funding from the Dutch Government cannot be overstated in times of economic hardship and where municipalities are forced to do more with less.
The R300 million grant funding will be spent on the construction of new trunk routes and feeder routes for the MyCiTi buses, as well as bus stops and stations, and a bus depot in Khayelitsha. Given that the MyCiTi service will be connecting commuters with other modes of transport, such as minibus-taxis and trains, the funding will also assist in improving the Nyanga, Khayelitsha, Nolungile and Vuyani public transport interchanges.
I am sure by now this Council is well aware of the significant Safety Initiative recently announced by Alan Winde, Premier of the Western Cape.
While the Premier has tasked his cabinet with specific safety objectives, the City’s role will involve the recruitment, training and deployment of a significant number of Law Enforcement Officers on our streets.
In the absence of the primary safety role-players – the SAPS, NPA and others – who are unable to address the rising crime rates, this plan is necessary to address a critical need to secure our residents’ safety and make Cape Town more secure.
Safety has always been one of my key priorities and I began my current term as mayor with a proposal to increase our overall Safety budget, and this was approved.
I have also continuously raised my concern about the levels of resourcing that the South African Police Service has in Cape Town, and a number of other crucial shortcomings in our criminal justice system.
I believe that our programme will begin to stabilise the hot-spots in the metro, where violence and crime have disrupted peoples’ ability to live in peace.
The scale and detail of the deployment required is complex, which is why I have tasked the administration with putting together the details of a programme of recruitment, operations, and deployment, as well as a detailed funding model, including the distribution of costs from the provincial government and any costs the City will be able to secure, and to begin tasks of preparation.
I plan to present a more detailed proposal to the Council meeting in December.
Now let me address the anarchy and criminal behaviour of some of those in the taxi industry. We have laws in this city, laws that apply to everybody and we will not make exceptions for anyone, especially not those who take the lives of our residents into their hands every day. If your taxi is not in a roadworthy condition, if you break the rules of the road, then we have no choice but to take action.
You can try and carry out your criminal deeds but then you will simply end up in jail in addition to having your taxi impounded. So please, work with us, we are not trying to make life difficult for you, but we have a responsibility to protect our residents and ensure that everyone can get to work, school, and visit their friends and family safely. You provide a valuable service but we need to work together to ensure it is a safe, responsible and efficient service.
Before I close off today, I want us to take a moment to celebrate some of our successes:
- It has just been confirmed that Cape Town has the most ‘Blue Flag’ beaches in the country. This doesn’t just happen and takes hard work and effort by our city officials and community members to secure these accolades. We have also employed over 300 lifeguards for the coming summer season and will be opening 31 pools for the summer season. We would have been able to open another 4 but these have sadly been severely vandalised, meaning those communities will not get to enjoy the services that we would like to offer.
- The beautiful Du Noon library and sports complex that I opened a month or two ago has just won the 2019 Human City Design Award at a ceremony held in Korea. I want to thank our Urban Sustainability Unit for all their work in making this beautiful project a reality for the community and youth of Du Noon.
This international award recognises designers or groups that have contributed to building a more harmonious and sustainable relationship between residents and their environment, those who tackle urban environmental issues, and those who present a new vision through creative design. The award also came with a R1,2 million cash prize, and we’re going to be using that money to put back into the next phase of development for the DuNoon precinct.
- I recently cut the ribbon for the opening of the Pelican Park clinic. This world class clinic is now open to all the residents in need of assistance and I am very pleased to be expanding our healthcare footprint in the city.
- We know that there are many families in our communities who face challenges with family members struggling with drug addiction. In our ongoing efforts to support these families, we opened our 8th Matrix Site yesterday, and this one will be in Scottsdene.
- Drug abuse does not discriminate and it can affect anyone. To help educate our youth about the dangers of drug abuse, I invited a group of 500 youth to watch the new play by David Kramer, Danger in the Dark, at the Baxter Theatre. It was a beautiful day out for the youth and I hope that they took some important lessons from the play, and maybe even developed an interest in theatre as a career option.
- Earlier this month, I launched the City’s new walking bus programme, which forms part of our contribution to ensure the safety of our learners on their way to school.
- I was also very impressed with the new play park that was opened at Monwabisi in Khayelitsha this week. This was done in partnership with the German government through VPUU who contributed the funding for this wonderful project.
In closing, I want to make a call on our residents to please engage with us on social media, and on our website. Come and read for yourself about the services we are offering, the new initiatives we are delivering and the great work that we do for you.
If you don’t have access to any of those platforms, tune in to my new monthly radio show on 20 November at 18:00 on Bush Radio, Voice of the Cape, Radio Tygerberg, Radio Zibonele, One FM, Radio Atlantis and Radio Helderberg where you have the chance to speak to me directly.