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SPEECH: Taking part in ensuring great service delivery starts with Active Citizens

SPEECH: Taking part in ensuring great service delivery starts with Active Citizens

  Fellow residents, this meeting takes place at a time when residents are encouraged to have their say in the budget to be tabled in May. This past Tuesday, MMC for Human Settlement in Ekurhuleni, Lesiba Mpya presented the draft budget of which residents are encouraged to have their input. I must make it clear


Fellow residents, this meeting takes place at a time when residents are encouraged to have their say in the budget to be tabled in May. This past Tuesday, MMC for Human Settlement in Ekurhuleni, Lesiba Mpya presented the draft budget of which residents are encouraged to have their input.

I must make it clear that, it is also the responsibility of residents to take part in such initiatives; hence the call of active citizenship continues even today.

We can all start by being active citizens by having an active say in making sure that Ward 38 is not left out of the proposed budget. There is still time for you to have your say in the budget.

The last submissions for the proposed budget have to be in at the latest on Monday 23 April 2018. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to encourage all residents to take part in this process.

To give you guidance on the issues to raise regarding the budget, I would like to bring to your attention, the IDP needs as identified after consultation with the Ward Committee.

The following are the priority as identified:

  1. Water sewer system upgrading project in Brackendowns and Brackenhurst
  2. Resurfacing at the following streets: Palala street
  3. Resurfacing at the following streets: Lily Street
  4. Maintenance and upgrading of Brackenhurst Library
  5. Request for Early Childhood development centre

It is important to note that in terms of projects you can raise, you may be limited to the priority items as mentioned above. The reason being that these are the items which were reviewed in consultation with the Ward Committee last year in September. For the coming IDP review process, we will again be having a public meeting in August at this very venue to take part in reviewing the current IDP priority list.

It is unfortunate that none of these items on the priorities are featured in the budget for the metro; therefore, I believe it is important that as residents you should add your voice in ensuring that these items are not merely a wish list, but rather a priority list.

To add your contribution on what should be included in the budget feel free to fill in the forms we have available and ensure that you hand it in before leaving tonight. Alternatively, you can visit any of the local libraries or send an email to budgettips@ekurhuleni.gov.za

Fellow residents, the fight for better services is not a one-man battle, it takes a collective effort from all groups represented here. As residents, the first step towards enjoying better services is by ensuring that we are relentless in addressing the issues that affect us on a daily basis.

For those who have been on the journey with us since the start of the term which began in August 2016 will know that, this is the mandate we have always maintained; and that is to encourage residents to become more active in being partners in ensuring better services in the ward.

This call is not a passive call to shift the responsibility, but rather a call to residents to have a real voice in government. As a councillor, I rely on the input by residents such as yourselves in order improve services in the area. While part of the process includes raising occurring issues in the area, there is so much more required.

Dear Residents, tonight I am making a plea to you; let us join hands as the community and begin making strides in making sure that service delivery a reality for all of us. Borrowing a statement by the Brackenhurst and Brackendowns Residents’ Association; ‘A community that works together, wins’; let this be our driving statement in all we do as residents to ensure that we enjoy great service delivery.

I cannot stress enough how much your input means to me as the councillor. It allows me to accurately represent the interests of the ward and its residents.

As the councillor, I rely on the community’s input on what developments they would like to see happen in the area.

I would like to assure residents that the upgrading of the sewer infrastructure remains a high priority in Ward 38, hence it is disappointing that, the requested sewer infrastructure upgrade remains unbudgeted for.

However, as residents of the ward, we have to keep in mind that this is a problem across the City of Ekurhuleni. Having said that, we continue to drive for this issue to be addressed.

Fellow residents, as a councillor in the City of Ekurhuleni, I am committed to ensuring that the issue of a sewer upgrade in the area remains a priority until it has been addressed and we all see the delivery take place.

While the constant sewer overflows persist in the area, we further experience inconsistent services from the City of Ekurhuleni’s call centre. I therefore urge that as residents we continue to follow the process of reporting thoroughly before it is escalated to the ward councillor.

Having said that, it will only be in the case of sewer related matters whereby we may look at escalating the matter before the service turnaround time has lapsed.

While on the issue of the call centre, it is important that residents realise that this remains the first port of call to log in any query at any given time in the day. While I also understand the challenge of failing to get through to the call centre; the City of Ekurhuleni has a free SMS line which the residents can make a use of.

The free SMS line is 30788, and when reporting an issue, please state EMM before the issue you are raising. Also available to the residents is the email address call.centre@ekurhuleni.gov.za.

I therefore encourage residents to keep the SMS number as well as the email address handy in a case where issues need to be raised with the municipality.

As the councillor of Ward 38; I have your best interest at heart. When I think of the proposed increase in the budget, it raises a major concern in what we can expect to come in the next few months.

According to the proposed budget, the City of Ekurhuleni proposes a nine percent increase in sanitation services, the property rates tariff to increase by 10 percent, electricity should see an average increase of between 5.23 percent and 8.5 percent as per NERSA guideline while refuse removal services will increase by 7.5 percent.

Allow me to mention one of the concerns as raised by one of the Ward Committee member, Mr Michael Basch. His concern is related to the fact that the increases do not speak to the efficiency of the call centre.

I am with my colleague on this matter, I feel very strongly that you the resident should be enjoying the services you pay for; of which part of the money you pay goes towards the call centre which in most cases does not bring you much joy.

Fellow Residents, with all that said; let us make use of the Call Centre and let us demand that the facility functions effectively to ensure an improvement in service delivery in Ekurhuleni.

Fellow residents, as part of the needs identified for the financial year we have included the upgrading and refurbishing of the Brackenhurst Library for the current financial year.

The work that needs to be done at the library includes the long overdue maintenance of the roof which has been leaking for a long period of time. While the project to refurbish the library has been slightly delayed, this is because the management of the library have found it necessary to ensure that the contractors who will be doing the repair work are highly qualified professionals.

Dear residents, the reality and challenge of erratic waste collection continues to be one of the main concerns. The issue the department is facing at the moment is that the Waste management services is impacted by the 40 hours’ overtime capping and the low vehicle has impact on refuse removal service.

The department is however trying to get extra vehicles in order to have extra capacity to keep up with the services. At the time being, I have requested the department to ensure that they communicate timeously when issues arise.

One of the challenges we face in the ward is that of our roads infrastructure. As per the IDP needs mentioned earlier, as the ward committee we have identified Palala and Lilly Streets as the two streets which we would have liked to see resurfaced in this financial year.

Tonight ladies and gentlemen, we have a petition relating to the need to improve the state of our roads which I am asking you to assist me by signing so that I can present in council next week Thursday.

The department faces a number of challenges in the ward.

  • Illegal connections (limited in the area, but of concern)
  • Open meterboxes (Meter reading contractors or persons gaining unauthorized access to illegally reconnect after disconnections)
  • Broken locks, damaged doors on mini subs.
  • Theft of equipment out of mini subs, particularly Fuses and bare copper earthing conductors.
  • Damages to cables by fibre optic contractors and other service providers currently operating in the area. This affected various streetlight sections across the ward.
  • Theft and attempted theft of the feeder cables to the primary substation supplying the area.

What the department has done:

  • Brackendowns x 5 – protective structures and prepaid meters were installed in “hot spots”, the illegal connections were reduced in the area and the revenue from electricity sales increased. The replacement of old fiberglass boxes with protective structures will continue as part of the Revenue Enhancement strategy. This is however a multi-year process due to the quantities of enclosures in the city.
  • Started to replace cables that are near the end of service life with new cables.
  • Protected the vulnerable point of the feeder cables to the primary substation.
  • Conducted substation and mini substation inspections
  • Conducted maintenance on substations and mini substations.
  • Claimed repair costs in terms of the tariffs and bylaws from contractors damaging our services.

What the department plans on doing:

  • Planned maintenance in terms of the maintenance schedule will continue.
  • We will conduct urgent maintenance in preparation for the winter period that will unfortunately require an interruption in supply that will affect the entire ward from 18:00 on Saturday 28 April 2018 to 12:00 on Sunday Afternoon 29 April 2018.
  • We will normalise the street light sections damaged by the third party contractors.

How can residents assist:

  • The community is the eyes and ears for the City of Ekurhuleni. Service delivery queries can be logged at our call centre 24hrs a day on 0860543000
  • Customers may also report all electrical service delivery matters during working hours from Monday to Friday on 011 999 2525

Feedback on Streetlights:

The department attended from 1 July 2017 up to 17 April 2018 to 1221 street light complaints in Ward 38

Currently as on 18 April 2018 we have 47 complaints in the ward still outstanding.

The bulk of the complaints originated from damage to cables as mentioned earlier in the report.

The department is putting in additional resources to address the outstanding complaints.

Fellow residents, we have come a long way since August 2016, and the work to encourage active citizenship in Ward 38 continues even today. Allow me to celebrate some of the milestones we have reached since the previous local government elections.

As I speak to you today, the work to upgrade McBride Park has started and I am pleased to say that we will be able to do more at the park with the R1 Million allocated towards beautification and landscaping in the ward.

Upon completion of the park, I am particularly looking forward to the gym equipment to be place there. This should give myself and Gary a lot of motivation to start taking our exercise routines to the next level and get serious; we also want to encourage all of you to join us at our free gym facilities.

Because we want to continue encouraging active citizenship in the ward; we will again be hosting a Bracken Family Day. After last year’s event, I would like to thank every person who supported the initiative.

After last year’s events we have found value in assisting our hard working crime fighters a boost in ensuring a safer community. Speaking of safety in the area; we are under no illusion that we still have a long way to go, it is for this reason we can look forward to yet another anti-crime campaign to be launched in August this year.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I stand before you tonight filled with a grateful heart. I am grateful to the support of the Ward Committee since its establishment back in November 2016. These are the people who stand by my side in every month in making sure that we are making progress in ward.

I would also like to thank the Brackenhurst and Brackendowns Residents’ Association for stepping in and assisting with the managing and promotion of the whatsapp groups available.

Let us also not forget what the CPF and AfriForum does to ensure that we have a more efficient and delivering ward. It remains my hope that all these bodies would co-function to ensure better service delivery with the support of every resident.

Let us all continue to take an active part in ensuring better service in the ward.