The following speech was delivered by City of Cape Town Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille, at the last full Council meeting for the year today, 7 December 2016.
Good morning, goeie môre, molweni, as-salaam alaikum, shalom.
I would like to start by wishing the Speaker, Dirk Smit, well for his recovery from surgery.
On Monday, it was also three years since the passing of our beloved Nelson Mandela who we miss dearly. We are forever indebted to him for his fight and leadership to steer us on the path to freedom and democracy.
Madam Speaker, we have some very special guests in the chamber behind me today.
We have 59 employees from the Utility Services Directorate who will be retiring at the end of this year.
Together, they have contributed 1 360 years in service towards improving service delivery in Cape Town, having served for various periods including more than 20 years, 30 years and the most being staff members who served for 46 years.
I want to thank you all of you, on behalf of our staff and residents of our city, for your contribution towards our reputation as the well-run city.
We are sad to see you leave and you will be missed by your colleagues. We hope that you will enjoy your well-deserved rest in this city which you have helped build.
Madam Speaker, I also want to take a moment to congratulate staff who made use of the opportunity to obtain bursaries from the City to further their tertiary education.
Over the past four years, the City has invested R94 million into upskilling staff members and this year a total of 161 employees graduated on various levels ranging from 38 higher education certificates to several masters degrees and two doctorates.
These are amazing achievements and these staff members are an inspiration as they continue to invest in themselves and reach greater heights in their personal and professional development. Congratulations to all of the recent graduates.
I would also like to congratulate two other staff members who received national recognition in their respective fields.
Lindie Buirski, head of environmental capacity-building, training and education was recently named as one of 90 people to win the lifetime conservation achiever award from the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa in recognition of the exceptional contribution she has made over the past two decades.
The second staff member is George van Schalkwyk, director of inter-services liaison in the Finance Directorate who was honoured by the Institute of Municipal Finance Officers with a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to local government finance during his 30-year career.
These are notable achievements and I would like to thank these staff members for being committed servants to the people of Cape Town.
Thank you, baie dankie, enkosi. It is people like this who contribute to us achieving our fourth consecutive clean audit.
Madam Speaker, the summer season is here in full force and we are expecting a busier tourism season than ever before.
We have once again received numerous tourism awards this year. The world continues to recognise us as one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Just some of the awards received in the last year include:
· Luxury City Destination of the Year – Luxury Travel Guide Africa and Middle East Award
· Top 10 City to Visit in the World – Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel Guide
· Best City for Restaurants and Bars – Conde Nast Traveller Reader’s Travel Awards
· Second Best Overseas City – Conde Nast Traveller Reader’s Travel Awards
· Second Best Beach City in the World – National Geographic
· Cheapest Long-Haul Destination – The Telegraph Travel
· Best City – Telegraph Travel Award, 2015/2016
These accolades are important because the growth of the tourism sector means an increase in jobs and opportunities for residents.
I have previously stated that with the second term, we want to push the envelope even further.
I always say that Cape Town has some of the most beautiful natural features in the world, as we all know, but I believe its most beautiful asset is its people.
Because of our colonial past, we have a very diverse and cosmopolitan city.
Madam Speaker, three weeks ago we launched the Invest Cape Town brand initiative.
We have done this to change the perception that Cape Town is only a beautiful place to come on holiday. We want people to know that Cape Town is open for business and that it is also an ideal place to invest and do business in.
The contribution by the City to economic growth is through providing stable governance, delivery of infrastructure, and constantly finding ways of making it easier for companies to do business.
But we want to do even more to consolidate and amplify Cape Town’s standing as a globally competitive business destination.
Encouraging investment and development is one of the key features of our Integrated Development Plan and we have big plans to implement this.
We are positioned at the tip of South Africa, with high quality infrastructure and strong governance. We are a strong and supportive base from which to invest, expand and export.
And so we are perfectly positioned to be a springboard to the rest of the continent, connecting businesses to opportunities for South African growth.
This strategy has paid off, with a number of companies setting up their headquarters in Cape Town.
Indeed, I am pleased to share more exciting news with you all in this regard as international leading electric bus manufacturing company, BYD, announced to the world in Mexico City last week that they will be opening their first South African electric bus manufacturing plant in Cape Town in 2018.
This investment will create hundreds of jobs for people in Cape Town and will mean that our city will be the base where green products will be manufactured and exported to the rest of Africa and the world.
Various BYD products, including electric buses, sky-rail, and renewable energy products such as solar panels, will be manufactured at this plant.
This is precisely the kind of investment we want to attract and has been part of our strategy since 2012 to engage with the international community to promote Cape Town as an ideal place to invest in so that we can create much-needed jobs for our people.
I welcome this announcement by BYD as it will contribute greatly to our efforts to build an inclusive economy.
Madam Speaker, the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector is the fastest growing sector in Cape Town.
We are home to most retail giant headquarters and increasing numbers of aerospace companies manufacturing satellites for the global market.
We also have a health technology field producing world-class medical devices as well as a very strong electronics sector.
We are the green hub of Africa accounting for most of the local manufacturing for the national renewable energy programme.
We have so much more to offer, and we need the world to know.
Opportunities for them in turn mean opportunities for the families of Cape Town.
That’s the main reason why we are setting up an initiative which tells the story of our unique economic offering to global investors.
This is what Invest Cape Town is going to do and I look forward to seeing the input we will be receiving from various stakeholders.
Madam Speaker, pressure on the provision of housing opportunities has increased over the years because of urbanisation, with more people moving to cities and it therefore becomes more important than ever before to do all we can with what we have to maximise the resources we do have.
We continue to provide housing to those who need it most.
We also now take extra pride in being recognised for providing quality, affordable opportunities for residents.
The Harmony Village Project was named the best institutional housing project in the country at the 2016 National Govan Mbeki Awards ceremony which took place at the Durban International Convention Centre on 24 November 2016.
I want to congratulate the Human Settlements Directorate for their efforts in this regard.
These 850 homes prove how powerful the partnership between private sector, government and communities can be.
For the current financial year we have budgeted R230 million for housing projects.
Madam Speaker, we all know that we are in the midst of severe water shortages and we need each and every resident to do their bit to save water while there is still water to be saved.
Last month, we implemented Level 3 water restrictions to encourage greater water savings and reach our target of saving 800 million litres of water per day.
I understand that many residents are concerned about the water situation and the restrictions, but we need to be proactive so that our dams won’t be depleted to dangerous levels by the end of summer.
The implementation of Level 3 water restrictions has seen a significant increase of 130% in calls to the water dispatch call centre, while we have also had a number of complaints about the response time.
I want to inform residents today that we have a problem in the call centre with staff shortages.
I visited the call centre myself yesterday and we will be putting measures in place by employing additional staff at the call centre to deal with the complaints as well as more field staff to be dispatched to address water infrastructure issues.
Madam Speaker, as we come to the end of a tough but productive year, it is truly sad to once again see some racist attacks on social media.
I want to be clear: we condemn these racist utterances.
We are building an inclusive city. There is no place for racism in Cape Town and we will not allow racists to speak for us.
Cape Town belongs to all of us and we must all feel a sense of belonging in our beautiful city.
We encourage people to exercise their rights by reporting racist incidents to the relevant authority.
Madam Speaker, everyone has a role to play in creating a caring city and taking our city to greater heights.
Christmas time is a period of giving and sharing and we must especially remember those less fortunate than we are by giving to those in need.
In line with building a caring city, this week we launched the Play it Forward toy drive where we are asking residents and staff to donate old toys that are still in a good condition or new toys to be distributed to toy libraries which are a shared resource used by Early Childhood Development centres across the city.
Play it Forward donation boxes have been placed on the second floor of the Civic Centre and at all City libraries and will be at these locations until mid-January.
The toys collected will be handed over to community libraries most in need.
Lastly, I want to wish everyone a very happy festive season!
It was wonderful to join you and the more than 100 000 other Capetonians at the festive lights switch-on event this past weekend.
Every year it is an honour to bring the season in together, and I know that we have so much progress to look forward to in 2017.
So let’s stay safe on the beaches by listening to the lifeguards present.
Let’s also please keep safe on the roads, and not drink and drive, and please let us especially keep an eye on all our children.
In closing, I would like to thank all our staff in emergency services and the Finance Directorate in advance who will be working so hard to ensure that we can all enjoy this special season safely, with those we love.
I thank you. God bless.