SPEECH BY THE CITY’S EXECUTIVE MAYOR, PATRICIA DE LILLE, AT THE FULL COUNCIL MEETING
The following speech was delivered today, 26 October 2016, by City of Cape Town Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille, at the full Council meeting.
Good morning, goeie môre, molweni, as-salaam alaikum, shalom.
May I please request a moment of silence for the lives of the 13 victims who died in the fatal bus crash on the N1 near Touws River in the early hours of Sunday 16 October 2016, as well as the six people who lost their lives in a fire in Netreg, Bonteheuwel this morning.
Thank you.I would also like us all to take a moment to acknowledge a very special guest.
We have in our midst Mr Julian Rodkin, who will be retiring from the City of Cape Town in November after having worked for the Water and Sanitation Department for 43 years.
Mr Rodkin, we are exceedingly grateful for your four decades of service to this municipality.
I always say that public service isn’t for the faint-hearted because of the immense pressure placed upon you and the many sacrifices that you have to make.
Although it is the highest honour, it calls on us to often put those we serve before our loved ones.
I hope that you will now enjoy your much deserved retirement with your family in this city which you have helped make great.
Mr Speaker, a second term presents the very unique opportunity of being able to build on the foundations we have laid in the last five years.
It means that we need to raise the bar and push the boundaries even further.
It means exceeding already heightened expectations.
This is something we are both willing and able to do.
One example is the resources we have pushed into assisting residents during very difficult financial times.
In the 2015/16 financial year, we provided approximately R1,17 billion in rates relief.
More than 31 700 senior citizens and residents with special needs benefited from R90 million worth of rates relief, while 4 799 indigent residents were assisted.
Rebates, reductions and exemptions for the 2015/16 financial year include:
· R73,5 million for public benefit/non-profit and sporting organisations (1 728 beneficiaries)
· R779 million in total for residential value reductions of up to R200 000 (687 892 beneficiaries)
· R1,3 million for land reform beneficiaries (24 beneficiaries)
This year we have set aside even more money for rebates, with R1,4 billion reserved for this purpose.
We have extended the registration period to 30 November, and we would therefore like to encourage all qualifying residents and organisations to apply.
Building a caring and inclusive city means ensuring that no resident gets left behind.
Can all the councillors who have helped their communities with these applications please put up your hands?
I want to appeal to all councillors to help residents apply for this relief.
It is our moral responsibility to care for those who have no other way out in times of extreme need.
Mr Speaker, it is with this in mind that I would like to talk to councillors about the City’s Burial or Cremation of Destitute Persons Policy.
I have also raised this matter in my meeting with opposition parties, as the EFF manifesto makes reference to it as well.
Local government has a constitutional and statutory duty to regulate cemeteries, crematoria and funeral parlours, to provide for the interment of human remains in a dignified manner.
We also have a responsibility to ensure that appropriate municipal health services are effectively and equitably provided.
The qualification criteria are as follows:
1. The deceased did not have an income greater than the State old-age pension or State disability pension
2. The deceased did not have an insurance policy or estate which could be used to pay for the burial
3. No next-of-kin or relative with a legal duty to support the deceased, and with sufficient means, is able to pay for the burial or cremation costs of the deceased person
4. No other person, religious organisation, non-governmental organisation, or welfare organisation has offered to pay for the burial or cremation costs of the deceased person
However, where a critical emergency or any other unforeseen or unexpected situation arises, the City may exercise its sole discretion to accept an application for a destitute burial or cremation without compliance with the aforesaid criteria, in order to fulfil those obligations.
We provide transport for the body to and from the appointed service provider’s mortuary and to a religious place of worship or to a house for a basic, dignified and respectful service and then to a cemetery or crematorium.
We also make provision for a biodegradable non-emission type coffin, a public grave, or a cremation.
During 2015/16, the service made possible through the policy was only used 86 times.
I would therefore like to encourage councillors to be mindful of these resources as and when needs arise in their communities.
We must help those who are most vulnerable, and also reach out to those who we can assist to help themselves.
Mr Speaker, I was very pleased to hear that the City of Cape Town hosted a conference on World Homeless Day to facilitate a dialogue between social workers, law enforcement officials, and street people.
This was done in order to provide information on the assistance offered to street people and to build bridges between the homeless, the communities in which they live, and the City itself.
It was the first time that street people themselves presented at the event, and their input was invaluable.
I would like to thank our Mayoral Committee Member for Social Development and Early Childhood Development, Councillor Suzette Little, for her leadership in this regard.
We look forward to strengthening our relationship with the homeless as we continue to intensify our collective efforts towards building a caring and inclusive city.
Mr Speaker, in June last year the City took transfer of approximately 680 hectares of land at Paardevlei, Somerset West for future mixed-use urban development.
The purchase of the property is a proactive and long-term strategic decision by the City to procure land for the current and future expansion needs of the city.
This area is approximately three times larger than Century City and the size of the Cape Town central city bowl, from Vredehoek to the CBD and the foreshore.
The site has certain statutory approvals in place that require short-term actions to embed these development rights.
It’s also an ecological showpiece as the Paardevlei won the prominent Western Cape Wetlands Forum Stewardship Award in 2015.
This part of our city is rich in cultural history that dates back as far as 1918 and the location of certain portions of the site lends itself to panoramic views of one of our most pristine coastal areas.
We are very excited about the possibilities that this site holds and much work has gone into identifying possible options that could be proposed for development over a 25- to 30-year period.
Essentially, we need to refine these possible options over the coming months so that we can put formal proposals on paper and take it to our Council and various communities for their input.
To date, a project steering committee has been established and meets regularly to discuss a suite of pre-feasibility options that have been proposed by a consulting architectural and town planning firm.
These options will now act as the point of departure for further in-depth investigations by the City, which will include looking at key risk factors and a number of critical design and development elements.
Going forward, in the immediate future, we are working on a 20-week plan, which includes the appointment of a technical project team.
This will culminate in the final Draft Project Master Plan by 31 March 2017, from where we would like to engage in a voluntary public engagement process to help us to imagine the possibilities for this area and to further refine the proposals that we will be putting on the table.
An exciting time lies ahead and we are committed to finding a sustainable solution for this site and to delivering on the aspirations of inclusive housing and the improvement of public and bulk infrastructure, while enhancing access to this area.
Last month the City of Cape Town received a commendation for delivering good quality, affordable housing opportunities for the poor at the Western Cape Govan Mbeki Awards hosted by the Western Cape Government Department of Human Settlements.
Out of seven categories, the City of Cape Town walked away as the winners of four categories and the runners-up for two categories.
We will be stepping up those interventions in more innovative ways during the next five years.
In this term, we are escalating all our efforts to be an even more responsive government.
Mr Speaker, our public participation process for the IDP has drawn to a close and now the results are being analysed accordingly.
We hosted 1 920 focus groups, public awareness meetings, 21 public hearings, and ran a mobile survey.
I would also like to thank the 20 062 people who participated in our online survey.
In the beginning of October, I met with 700 leaders of informal settlements from across the city at the O R Tambo Hall in Khayelitsha as part of the City of Cape Town’s 2017 – 2022 Integrated Development Plan public participation process.
As an inclusive and responsible government, we have endeavoured to consult with as many people as possible.
We have identified many stakeholders and through public meetings, focus groups, hearings and the media, we plan to reach more people than ever before.
We met with the community leaders of some of our biggest informal settlements in order to get their input on how we transform informal settlements.
During the election, we made a commitment to intensify our efforts to improve the lives of those who live in informal settlements.
‘Mainstreaming basic service delivery to informal settlements and backyard dwellers’ has been identified as one of our 11 strategic priorities.
Now we have started to deliver on that promise.
We shared some of our 2016/17 priority projects with these community leaders which will have a direct impact on their lives.
For example, the Water and Sanitation Department is spending over R779 million in poorer areas, including backyarders and informal settlements. Some sanitation priority projects include:
50 full-flush toilets in Crossroads
60 full-flush toilets in Vygieskraal, Athlone
120 full-flush toilets in Lotus Park, Gugulethu
120 full-flush toilets in Monwood Park, Philippi
500 toilets in Pholile, Strand
For the 2016/17 financial year we also plan to electrify areas such as Tambo Square, BT Section, OR Tambo, Samora Machel, Kosovo, KTC and Brown’s Farm.
We look forward to collating their input from the meeting into our Integrated Development Plan and working with these leaders to find solutions for the challenges they face daily.
Another strategic priority remains creating an environment which is conducive to creating jobs.
I have just returned from a joint trade and investment mission to the United States of America, with a focus on boosting business tourism, film and the ICT sector.
Cities can no longer afford to be on the back foot when it comes to attracting investment.
No one will do our bidding, not even National Government.
Therefore the onus is on us to market ourselves as a prime investment location, because the world owes us nothing.
We live in a global village with fierce competition.
We are determined to let the world know that Cape Town is open for business, so that businesses can invest in our city and create jobs for our people.
We have so much to offer to even the best and biggest companies in the world, and we want to give them the reassurance that Cape Town is the place for them to operate in.
This approach is not new.
Since 2012 it has been part of our investment strategy to promote the city directly, and go get investment by meeting with the industries themselves.
The investment tour to America was a great success.
I signed a letter of intent the City of Atlanta in the United States of America, which highlights our commitment to developing cultural and economic relations between Cape Town and Atlanta and to establishing Atlanta and Cape Town as gateway partners for US-Africa partnerships.
We also undertook to promote any activities that facilitate the development of commercial relations and foster cultural, educational and tourism cooperation as well as to exchange any information about the operations of the cities.
We will also share any experience with respect to various areas of activity, including initiatives focused on poverty alleviation, resiliency and sustainability, creative industries such as music and film, and urban development.
This enables us to align our governance with international best practice, because our residents deserve to live in a world-class city.
We also met with senior executives in Hollywood at Universal studios, Warner Bros and Walt Disney studios to convince them to increase their investment in the city.
They shared with us their concerns about National Government’s barriers to entry in terms of the four-week filming minimum imposed by the Department of Trade and Industry on productions, and the barrier on filming pilots.
This is a simple example of how red tape keeps investment out, and keeps people from getting jobs.
Preventing pilots from being shot in Cape Town limits projects coming to the city, given that 70% of approved pilots shoot the series in the same location.
This means a loss of multiple-episode, multi-year series productions.
It means a loss of potential jobs.
Now that we have the facts, we are in a position to approach the National Government and I will be meeting with Minister Rob Davies to request that he remove this obstacle.
We also met with chambers of commerce and with some of the world’s biggest start-ups in Silicon Valley, as we continue to build our reputation as the digital and innovation capital of Africa.
In eight days we had just over 20 very lengthy engagements across three different time zones.
This was not a holiday, and we look forward to reaping the rewards of our hard work very soon.
Lastly, we are continuing with our efforts as champions of climate change.
On International Climate Action Day this past Sunday, we announced that we have awarded the tender for the procurement of battery-powered electric buses and ancillary equipment for the MyCiTi service.
This is a first in South Africa.
This procurement of the electric buses underscores our commitment made at COP21 in Paris where I committed to ensure that the City of Cape Town takes decisive action and pursues ambitious climate action projects.
This initiative will lower our carbon emissions and local residents will also benefit from job opportunities as the bus bodies will be assembled locally and will in part be manufactured locally.
We are excited about seeing these buses on our roads as early as June 2017.
Secondly, the Mayoral Committee has recommended to Council that Level 3 water restrictions are implemented from 1 November 2016.
I would like to make an appeal to residents to save water while there is still water to save.
We need all individuals and businesses to adhere to the various restrictions.
Let’s save water and make progress possible, together.
I thank you.