Secunda – The GMM Executive Mayor Cllr NG Zuma delivered his “State of the Municipality” address on May 31.
The Executive mayor delivered his State of the Municipality speech at the council meeting on May 31.
In his speech he spoke about Govan Mbeki Municipality council: “Our council continues to be the sight of a circus instead of an honourable house characterized by a festival of ideas on how to change our people’s lives for the better.” This is in light of the Motion of no confidence in the speaker that was successfully tabled and accepted and the chaos that ensued afterwards. The end result is an Highcourt lawsuit lodged by the DA.
Zuma further spoke about a vision of GMM: “This means that if a proper vision can be put in place and sufficient effort is invested to realizing this vision, we can be the city that we deserve to be. A city that cares for its people, a city that provides adequate services to its citizens, a city that has unlimited opportunities, a city that other towns and cities look up to for good practice and innovation. This therefore can only be “A model city of excellence” and that shall be our ultimate vision. 2030 here we come.”
New developments are also addressed: “We are going to establish a total of around 20 formal settlements with amenities necessary to cater for our people.” and “These developments will be spread across Govan Mbeki as some will be implemented in Bethal/Emzinoni, Charl Cilliers, Kinross, Leandra/Lebohang, Secunda and Brendan Village.”
Progress made on previous years’ addresses were also given as well as the economic plans for the municipality. The electricity crises in Embhalenhle and Bethal received mention but with no plans for the short term improvement of the situation in Bethal.
It is very strange that both the district and GMM speeches mentioned the SANRAL maintenance and intervention that will take place as non of these will fall within the boundaries of GMM. Al the SANRAL interventions will be from GMM borders outwards according the the SANRAL presentation that was done a few weeks ago.
Here is the full speech as provided to the public. It is placed verbatim
It is a very painful and glorious day for the different members of the Govan Mbeki Community today. While we have just celebrated 28 years of democratic break through, communities within the municipality are unfortunately having mixed emotions about our municipality and also our country. This is as a result of us finding ourselves in different conditions of life both materially and in mind.
Our communities are ravaged by the inherent contradictions of inequality, unemployment and poverty. On daily bases they listen to many of us telling them about how not to lose hope. Some of us are just populist demagogs who thrive at the opportunity of alarming other people’s suffering, while others are genuine champions of change in the quest for better life for all.
Our people must at this point in time be able to use their accumulated past experiences to see through a liar and a leader of purpose. Our council, continues to be the sight of circus instead of an honourable house characterized by a festival of ideas on how to change our people’s lives for the better. I call for calm and order to all elected representatives or the people.
Being a leader does not need you to be a critical think tanker but a listener, who listens to what the people need and try to find the simplest ways of making that happen, most of the time people themselves will tell you as their leader how it can be done.
Govan Mbeki municipality is one of the fastest growing municipalities in the province, second to Steve Tshwete only. The latest stats so far indicate that we are about 380 000 with projections of growth siting at 3.3 percent for the next 8 years. I unfortunately do not agree with projections because of the vision we have for our municipality.
Govan Mbeki currently contributes about 12 percent of the provinces economy and remains the biggest economy than all economies of Gert Sibande District municipalities combined. This means that if a proper vision can be put in place and sufficient effort is invested to realizing this vision, we can be the city that we deserve to be. A city that cares for its people, a city that provides adequate services to its citizens, a city that has unlimited opportunities, a city that other towns and cities look up to for good practice and innovation. This therefore can only be “A model city of excellence” and that shall be our ultimate vision. 2030 here we come.
Planning is the most critical and crucial part of any successful mission into the war. A long-term plan that will see you winning the war must be derived first before the rest. It is a given that you must first win the war before you start fighting, otherwise there is no need for you to start fighting because you have already lost. Municipalities are given a 5year periodic planning circle which in our case must serve as the building blocks towards the ultimate goal.
We have listened to our people as we have been doing consultations and we now have a consolidated IDP for the next five years that must be considered by this council. Let the work begin immediately so as we can attain our goal in good time. Let us first settle our people comfortably.
Govan Mbeki currently has just above 113 000 households which 106 180 of them are bourn water households and 103 407 are connected to the sewer network and 112 658 of them are connected to electricity. This gives a clear indication of the state of our infrastructure. Not all our people have access while we are building even more human settlements. This calls for a deeper form of investment into infrastructure construction projects, in particular revenue generating infrastructure. That will then allow for the municipality to create financial stability and capacity to continue sustaining the ever-growing population within the municipality.
We are going to establish a total of around 20 formal settlements with amenities necessary to cater for our people. These developments while creating proper settlements for the people, they will also bring about massive opportunities for the manufacturing sector, construction, engineering, and many other businesses for locals. Jobs will also be created for both permanent and part time activities. Skills will also be developed as an ongoing exercise.
These developments will be spread across Govan Mbeki as some will be implemented in Bethal/Emzinoni, Charl Cilliers, Kinross, Leandra/Lebohang, Secunda and Brendan Village. Note be taken that these settlements do not include private developments that are happening on daily basis within our municipality. These developments will be receiving support from the other spheres of government for the installation of all other social amenities such as Schools and Health facilities.
It is also prudent that we report on the progress made on some of the pronouncements made in the last SOMA such as the 4 Schools that were announced. 3 of the schools are at the final stages of designs and shall this financial year start with construction while the other one was long ago designed and concluded but had a challenge of land. This matter has since been attended to by both the municipality and the department of human settlements and is about to reach it finality.
These developments will also be accompanied by the establishment of an Industrial Park which will seek to create stability to our economy and job sector. This industrial park will be one of the catalytic projects drawing in investment from across the globe. While appreciating this massive project that is coming, we must first appreciate the business operating within our municipality with their continued support to the municipality and its communities in trying to intervene on the inherent challenges, particularly infrastructure challenges.
These include amongst many the involvement of SASOL in the upgrading of our electrical infrastructure network, The upcoming construction of a waste transfer station by Evander Gold mine, The retrofitting of high mast lights in Leandra by Thungela, the resurfacing of roads and regravelling by Katlego mine and many other business interventions that are happening. We say THANK YOU but you can still do more. Let me also take this opportunity and thank all stakeholders that have assisted us in the development our infrastructure master plans. This will now allow us to act with knowledge on how we must develop and maintain our infrastructure moving forward.
While we appreciate the contributions that are being made, it is very important that we must find ourselves around the round table with all sectors of our society in particular business, so as we can be able to consolidate ourselves and move as a collective towards one direction instead of the current silo form of thinking and implementation of projects. This therefore calls for an Economic Summit that will sit urgently as our economy needs intervention and guidance so as to assist in the fighting of unemployment and poverty within our communities.
This economic summit must be held adjoined with the energy summit. Energy has now become a basic need that drive all other basic needs as traditionally known. Today if there is no petrol, diesel, gas or electricity there is no water to drink, there is no food to eat, there is no warmth in our shelters. The urgency of this summit compels us to host this summit within the next 90 days. This platform shall also be used to closed the lacunar that exists with the absence of an active Local Economic Development Forum that will not resemble business but demographics of our socio-economic standing as the municipality.
As we all know that Govan Mbeki has serious sewer challenges, we have as the municipality structured our budget to prioritize sewer and water projects over R80 million worth of projects excluding maintenance for the next financial year starting from the first of July 2022. Speaking of projects, it is unfortunate for us as Govan Mbeki communities that we are unable to spend the entire budget allocated for grants while we are having infrastructure challenges. I would want to call on communities to desist from stopping project when they have interest on subcontracting and employment but follow given platforms to pursue their interest. Communities must also assist us in ensuring that projects are not stopped as they are for their own benefit.
On the other hand, electricity has been a thorn in the flash for both ourselves as the municipality and communities in particular in Bethal/Emzinoni and Embalenhle. We have since made significant progress in Embalenhle even though not all sections are having constant supply but the strain of long hours of loadshedding and load reduction has been cut done drastically. We are still making interventions to the network and eventually there will be no load reduction in all section soon.
We are also busy with intervention in Bethal/Emzinoni by ensuring maintenance of the network and upgrading of capacity. We have just started with the designs for the construction of a brand new 88kva substation which should be concluded in the next 2 year. This is done as long-term solution as we are busy with short to medium term solution to the loadshedding challenges that are currently engulfing this area. Electrical smart meters are being installed as we have already installed over 1300 going to 17 000 plus. This will not only assist in controlling the load but also in assisting the municipality in generating revenue so that we can be able to service ESKOM account and maintenance of the network.
Roads and storm water are also another surfaced challenge for the community of Govan Mbeki and therefore were committing to an intense program of repair and construction of the said items by first ensuring that there is equipment to do these services. This include buying of the yellow fleet, Bakkie, tools and relevant material to do maintenance. We are also very happy to announce that there will be intervention from both SANRAL with regards to reconstruction of the national roads N17, R35 and R38. The province, has finally agreed to upgrade the so-called road of the Death, the road between Secunda and Embalenhle is as we Speak in the design phase and will in 2023 start with construction. We will therefore be embarking on large consultation program to all the affected stakeholders in particular those that are in the transport business.
People must find our roads conducive to use as this will not only assist in saving lives but also it will assist in reviving our tourism and assist in rebuilding our economy. Having Spoken about tourism. It is very important that we promote our municipality and all the diverse cultures that we hold. In the month of heritage, we are therefore going hosting an Arts, Culture and Tourism week with a possibility of relaunching SEJACUFE if resources permit.
Tomorrow we will be unveiling the month of young people. Where young people must intensify their struggles to emerge. It is unfortunate that our young people in majority have developed a do for me old people syndrome, failing to understand the laws of nature as they stand. Let me try and revive you, young people. One of the laws of nature is what is called “negation of negation”. This principle of life simply says, the old shall continue to fight for existence while the new shall fight for emergence.
We, the old gut, are hellbent on holding on to what worked for us when we were young and change shall in most of the time be a problem for us. The truth of the matter is the older we become, the more conservative and complaisant we become with the status quo. In short, we simply don’t want to see change happening because we are comfortable.
Young people of Govan Mbeki must derive their own path in making themselves and Govan Mbeki community a centre of excellence. I, together with all patriotic members of this community are going to give you, young people an opportunity to discuss your path through a youth summit that shall be held over two days to give you sufficient time to engage on the 26 – 27 June 2022.
In this Summit young people must map the road from 2022 to 2027 on how do they make themselves to thrive, economically, skills wise and so on and so on through a Govan Mbeki Youth Development Strategy under the theme “Govan Mbeki Youth Creating Opportunities Under a New Normal”.
Women, Children and Disabled people are also a priority to us. It is understood that these societal group continue to victims of abuse in our communities. It is a joint responsibility that we must all work together in combatting this pandemic. We are therefore in August and October respectively going to hold a Gender summit and disability consultative summit.
As part of our vision, it is to come out of ESKOM debt so as we can start new developmental projects which one of them is to have a new Municipal Building in Secunda by 2030. Let us build Govan Mbeki municipality to live up to the person that it is named after. That can only be realized if we work together not against each other.
Those who do not dream will never see a new world being created!