South Africans are reaping the rewards of government’s massive investment in infrastructure through new schools, access to water, electricity connections and jobs, among others.
Job creation, skills development, local economic development and housing are at the top of the agenda for the eThekwini Municipality, said Executive Mayor James Nxumalo during his State of the City Address recently.
Mayor Nxumalo said the City’s R41.6 billion budget for the 2016/17 financial year would address infrastructure challenges, unemployment, skills development and economic growth.
“A significant portion of this budget will go towards developing the local economy. We have set aside R28 million to develop Hammarsdale township into an economic hub,” he added.
Other townships earmarked for development include:
- Isipingo – R17 million
- Umgababa Tourism Node – R32 million
- Umlazi Precinct Upgrade – V Node – R20 million
- Umlazi SME Light Industrial Hub – R13 million
- eMagabheni Municipal Complex Business Hive – R10 million.
“With this budget we want to see meaningful development that contributes to job creation. We want a world-class city that will attract tourists and be a more pleasant place to live. We want a strong and sustainable economy that will unlock opportunities for youth to work,” he said.
Job creation and skills development
The city has 943 plumbing contractors who work on a rotational basis to undertake water-related services.
“We currently look to employ additional plumbers to improve turnaround time. There are about 1 250 caretakers employed at ablution facilities, with a further 50 to be employed this year as more ablution facilities are completed.
“We also have 366 community-based contractors, employing about 1 770 people for refuse removal services. The Zibambele Poverty Alleviation Programme has created over 6 200 jobs,” the Mayor added.
Artisan development project
The City will train 10 000 artisans over three years. Mayor Nxumalo said the project would be funded through savings from the maintenance budget.
“Water, solid waste and engineering have already identified R11 million to be utilised for the programme over the next financial year. The intention is to have the artisans improve municipal maintenance.”
The Mayor urged all units with maintenance programmes to participate in the project. The project will be phased in over three years and spending will be divided as follows: R223 million in the first year, R260 million in the second year and R260 million in the third year.
The city has allocated R77.53 million for youth development in the current financial year for initiatives that specifically target youth development across the municipality.
“In some instances, it is for specific areas of scarce skills. In other instances, it is for general up-skilling initiatives.
“These initiatives include the eThekwini Mayoral Student Relief Fund and bursaries; work experience learners or in-service trainees, learnerships/apprenticeships/skills programmes and Community-wide Skills Audit; career development and support; graduate trainees; students, sectoral support and other programmes.”
About 2 968 youth are expected to benefit from these initiatives.
“Last year we launched a Youth Office to take care of youth matters. The Youth Office has a budget allocation of R9.9 million. This money is going to be used for, among others, youth development programmes, the Youth in Business Summit, Africa Youth Month Commemoration and the Matriculants’ Night Vigil,” he said.
The number of people who are benefitting from the City’s soup kitchen project is on the rise and the city has increased the project to meet the demand.
“We currently have 36 soup kitchens but, this financial year, we will increase this to 54. These kitchens have 353 volunteers – made up of 36 drivers and 317 kitchen volunteers.”
The Mayor said the number would be increased to 486.
Rural development and food security
The total budget for agriculture for the City is R27.8 million. It has 85 community gardens which are supported with organic fertiliser, compost, fencing, storage containers, toilets and water infrastructure.
“All community gardens are also supported with tools. In terms of Agriparks, R5 million has been allocated for planning and additional funds will be sourced once the feasibility study has been completed,” added the Mayor.
Creating a quality living environment
The city has allocated R3.4 billion for housing projects to ensure that its citizens have access to quality and decent housing infrastructure.
“The provision of housing, basic and social services is in line with creating sustainable human settlements,” he said.