STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S EXECUTIVE MAYOR, PATRICIA DE LILLE
The following speech was delivered by the City’s Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille, on a road show to investors across the city to promote the City’s inaugural green bond.
This is an exciting time for the City of Cape Town as we issue on inaugural green bond of R1 billion.
The City has over the past five years become the trademark for good governance through our track record of clean, corruption-free government and prudent financial management.
In term of our successes during the first term of office between 2011 and 2016 where we committed to building a caring, opportunity, inclusive, safe and well-run city, we can share the following:
We have completed 99% of the projects contained in our Integrated Development Plan (2011 – 2016).
I would like to share some of the highlights from our annual report:
· We achieved four consecutive clean audits – the only municipality in the country to have achieved this
· There has been an investment of R22 billion in infrastructure, with R9 billion of that amount funded from the City’s own cash flow
· We spent an additional R3 billion on repairs and maintenance
· We installed almost 790 km of fibre-optic cabling and a total of 301 City-owned buildings are connected to that network, including libraries, clinics, event venues and cash offices
· By 2015 we installed over 46 000 solar water heaters in the metro, which have contributed R830 million to the economy, creating 1 300 jobs
· We issued 219 000 purchase orders to vendors who complied with broad-based black economic empowerment legislation to the value of R13,96 billion (92% of total purchase orders)
This is what we committed to and what we delivered and the electorate awarded us with 66,6% of the vote.
We are now looking to take Cape Town to the next level and continue getting on with the work we have started.
Following the overwhelming mandate we received from the electorate on 29 August, we implemented a major change with the adoption of the Organisational Development and Transformation Plan (ODTP).
The ODTP is aimed at making the City a more responsive, more proactive, and customer-centric government.
Our governance will be guided by six principles:
· Transformation through transit-oriented development
· Governance reform
· Transversal management
These six principles are the new framework which gives direction to the plans and programmes we will put in place to realise our 11 transformational priorities:
· Excellence in basic service delivery
· Mainstreaming basic service delivery to informal settlements and backyard dwellers
· Safe communities
· Dense and transit-oriented growth and development
· Efficient, integrated public transport
· Leveraging technology for progress
· Positioning Cape Town as a forward-looking (innovative), globally competitive business city
· Resource efficiency and security
· Building integrated communities
· Economic inclusion
· Operational sustainability
At the end of May, Council adopted our new IDP which was assessed by the National Treasury who regarded it as the best IDP in the country.
To build the city on the pillars, we will use the ODTP principles to guide us in translating our vision into a strategy and implementation plan.
Ground-breaking projects listed in our IDP include the Ease of Doing Business Programme, Infrastructure Investment Programme, Skills Investment Programme, Holistic Crime Prevention Programme, and our Excellence in Service Delivery Programme.
I am aware that we are speaking in the midst of what are tough economic times for our country with recent downgrades and being slumped into a technical recession.
While Cape Town’s global scale rating has been downgraded, the Moody’s global rating downgrade has not impacted the City’s national scale rating of Aaa.za, the highest possible rating for a municipality.
We take comfort in the fact that our national rating has been maintained, which is as a result of our strong financial position, good governance, and prudent financial management.
We are committed to maintaining robust budgetary performance, a strong liquidity position, and moderate debt levels supported by the administration’s prudent financial policies and our relatively large and diversified economic base to maintain our Aaa.za national scale rating.
Apart from what we are doing in our city, Cape Town is also part of numerous leading city bodies such as the C40 Cities, 100 Resilient Cities and the Global Covenant of Mayors due to our commitment and results in addressing climate change.
Earlier this year Cape Town was ranked as one of the top five cities in the world out of 533 cities for demonstrating leadership in our climate disclosure where we measure and disclose our energy and climate action data annually to the Carbon Disclosure Project.
We were ranked along with Mexico City, Paris, Sydney, and Vancouver as one of the top five reporting cities.
We are committed to tackling climate change and making sure that we adapt to and mitigate the harsh impacts on our residents and our economy.
Over two-thirds of total investment in infrastructure in the next 15 years will be made in cities.
More people are living in cities than ever before and by 2050 around 70% of the global population will live in urban areas.
To provide for all these new urban dwellers, we need more buildings, more bridges, more public transport, and more energy. To make this happen we need investors to come to the table.
City governments often struggle to raise the funds they need for urban mobility projects like rail or bus rapid transit.
Investing in more compact, connected, efficient cities with world-class public transport systems can spur economic growth – delivering improvements in well-being for residents, creating efficiencies that mitigate damage to the climate, and ensuring growth and returns for cities and investors.
Sustainable cities also have healthier air, reduce the time wasted in traffic, and have lower greenhouse gas emissions.
We need to spend a little now to save a lot in the future. Devising ways to scale financing for infrastructure in cities and to shift capital flows to make sure new projects are sustainable is the next great challenge.
This is what our green bond is about: finding innovative and diverse financing mixes to support our climate gaols and projects.
We are hopeful that the investor response to our green bond will be favourable, given our strong credit rating and our credibility in delivering meaningful initiatives to enhance the sustainability of our City, while also ensuring a stable return for the funds investors manage.
In order to ensure that our green bond is more than just ‘green wash’, it has just this weekend been certified by the Climate Bond Initiative’s Climate Bond Standard, making it a true green bond.
If that is not enough to assure investors, our bond has also been reviewed by Moody’s who has awarded it a GB(1) rating – which means they have been impressed enough with the green credentials and controls around this bond to name it ‘Excellent’.
The City has already rolled out numerous green initiatives but we need to act at a much faster pace because climate change is a reality that we cannot afford to be caught sleeping on.
We have already started building a green economy with support to various incubators and small businesses in the green space in Atlantis.
We are determined to push ambitious climate agendas but we are being hamstrung from one very important goal: to source at least 20% of our energy from renewables by 2020.
We are in the process of taking the Minister of Energy to court to fight for our right to procure renewable energy from independent power producers and not be forced to buy predominantly coal-based electricity from the State utility, Eskom.
We want to do this as it is the cleaner and cheaper option and we want to give Capetonians a greater choice over what energy they consume and what they pay for it.
I am taking this a step further and I have informed our Finance Directorate that we are going to divest from fossil fuel assets and companies in favour of greener and cleaner investments which are in line with our vision of a sustainable future.
We are going to instruct investors looking after our money not to put our money into fossil fuel-related companies or for it to be used to fund the development of dirty and unsustainable projects. We want our investments to be aligned with our principles of resilience and sustainability.
Lastly, we are in the midst of a massive shock – the drought. This is the New Normal.
We have to change our thinking, methodology of planning and our behaviour. It is no coincidence that the projects within our green bond portfolio are heavily weighted towards water conservation.
In order to adapt, we are going to have to take bold steps (which cost money) to avoid acute water shortages now and into the long-term.