This speech was delivered by Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Dan Plato on Wednesday evening on his first 100 days in office:
Attended 50 community meetings and engagements
Responded to the public’s call to address safety – R165 million allocated for recruitment of additional law enforcement, vehicles and CCTV cameras
Funding of R115 million to address concerns raised about illegal dumping and ensure the cleanliness of communities
Additional funding of R26,7 million allocated to address title deed restoration
Initiated the process for an Heritage Protection Overlay Zone (HPOZ) to be granted to the Bo-Kaap community
Accepted award for the World’s Leading Festival and Events Capital
Reduced water restrictions and associated tariffs to level three
Addressed strategic priorities with my Mayoral Committee and top management team with plans to be announced in coming weeks
Good evening and welcome to this informal feedback session.
It’s often said that a day is a long time in politics. Well today, I’d like to reflect on the past 100 days and share with you what I’ve learned and what I would like to see going forward.
As you all know, I served as the Mayor of Cape Town once before during one of the most memorable times in this City’s history, namely the FIFA 2010 World Cup. I will always be grateful for being tasked with steering this City through a time that brought so much joy to our residents and that saw us welcoming so many visitors to Cape Town.
A highlight of the last 100 days has been accepting the award for the World’s Leading Festival and Events Capital, and right afterwards hosting the HSBC Sevens World Rugby Tour, the World Rallycross Championships, the Pakistan cricket team facing off against the Proteas; and, two weekends ago, the visiting Super Rugby teams from across the country as well as Banyana Banyana when they played against Sweden. There is no doubt in my mind that it was the successful hosting of the FIFA 2010 World Cup and the City of Cape Town’s hardworking events team that capitalised on that wonderful occasion that has seen us grow as a leading events destination for the rest of the world.
As much as these events are fun and bring a lot of joy to our residents, I must add that it takes a lot of hard work to bring them all to our beautiful City and ensure that the events run smoothly, safely and without incident. I want to thank our officials, partners and event organisers who work so hard at making these events a success. While we won’t host another FIFA World Cup for some time, we have many other great events to present to the people of Cape Town and I’m pleased to be back in the Mayoral seat, working with a newly appointed, energised, and strong Mayoral Committee (Mayco) and management team to take this City forward once again.
With all the public meetings, official engagements and strategic sessions that I’ve had with my colleagues over the past 100 days, it sometimes feels like this City never sleeps.
In my first two weeks in office, I called for detailed briefing sessions with the top management of each of the directorates so that I could get up to speed with who was doing what and where our strengths and shortcomings were. This is why you didn’t see much of me in those first two weeks.
Later this month, I will be hosting my first strategic bosberaad with my Mayco and top management to deal with all the pressing issues in the different directorates and plot our way forward.
As the Mayor of this global city, I am also responsible for hosting foreign dignitaries, business delegations, touring sports teams and many others; and for promoting Cape Town wherever I go. I’ve enjoyed engaging with everyone about their views on Cape Town and listening to why and how much they love this city.
I’ve also met with thousands of members of the public over the past 100 days – in my office, in community halls, on the street, and out in the open in open-air meetings. I’ve spoken to residents in Mitchells Plain, Elsies River, Table View, Khayelitsha, Atlantis, Parow, Eerste River, Brackenfell and Goodwood among others. I’ve listened to what they’ve had to say, looked at our budgets and, where we haven’t delivered services to the level that we should, I’ve started taking action to set things right.
I’ve already had an opportunity to reallocate some of our unspent funds during the recent adjustments budget, and you would have seen that much of the re-allocation, R280 million out of the R500 million in unspent funds, went towards addressing crime and grime. I know we have much to address in this city, but we need our communities to be safe first in order for us to provide top quality services that they can enjoy.
As you know, crime and grime go together and that is why I allocated an extra R165 million towards improving our safety services and an additional R115 million towards cleaning up this city, because without grime it is more difficult for crime to flourish.
The allocation of R165,2 million comprises capital expenditure of R42,2 million and operating expenditure of R123 million.
Among the planned capital projects that will benefit from this added injection, are:
R7,5 million for an upgrade of the Ndabeni vehicle pound
R2,6 million in additional funding for the Somerset West Fire Station
R15 million to procure between 36 and 40 replacement vehicles, depending on the type of vehicles required
R5,5 million for additional two-way radios for Law Enforcement staff
The planned operating expenditure includes:
R30 million to recruit additional Law Enforcement officers
R10 million for uniforms, personal protective gear and equipment for staff
R50 million for additional overtime allocation to ensure a more sustained, 24/7 service and R20 million to cover related fuel costs
R8 million for repairs and maintenance of vehicles in the various departments
44 new CCTV cameras across the City in vulnerable areas, and a new camera room in Ocean View
Expanding our K9 Unit, thanks to funding from the Western Cape Government
With regard to our clean-up operations, and the additional R115 million allocated in this regard, the details are as follows:
R56 million will go towards additional cleaning of informal settlements
R14 million will be used to recruit EPWP workers who will help us with community clean-ups
R20 million is allocated for the Area Cleaning division in our Solid Waste Management Department and these services will specifically be for our poorer areas
An extra R25 million is set aside for our Recreation and Parks Department which will go towards grass cutting and maintenance across all wards
Next month I will be launching my ‘Keep Cape Town Clean’ campaign and will continue personally cleaning up this city with residents, local ratepayer organisations, councillors and City officials.
But one of my very first acts as Mayor last year was to initiate the process to grant the Bo-Kaap a Heritage Protection Overlay Zone (HPOZ). We held the public hearing on Saturday and I was very pleased to see our healthy democracy in action with members of the public taking part in the public participation process.
On Monday I was invited by the District Six Working Committee to speak at the 53rd anniversary of the area being declared white. It was an emotional day, with many former residents reflecting on the pain and hardship that they experienced during the forced removals, but also on the joy and happy memories they had in the years before they were removed. As the Mayor of Cape Town, I have offered the District Six Working Committee a space in the City Hall where they can come together for their planning meetings.
Housing remains a top priority for my administration. Numerous title deed handout roadshows have been conducted in communities like Wallacedene, Atlantis, Wesbank, Mfuleni, Bonteheuwel, Bishop Lavis, Mitchells Plain and Lavender Hill to ensure our residents have security of tenure.
I have met with the management teams, looked at our housing delivery over recent years to assess where we’ve succeeded and where we’ve fallen short, as well as what we have planned. In the next two weeks we will be sharing those plans with you in more detail, and very soon I will be announcing our revised Housing Strategy.
After assessing the water situation, we were able to reduce water restrictions to Level Three in December last year. With the serious crisis that was on our doorstep, I think we should be celebrating how the City and its residents worked together to overcome one of the worst droughts that has affected this city. It was uncomfortable at times but we got through a major crisis and we should acknowledge what a major achievement we actually have here. In the coming weeks, our new Water Strategy will go out for public participation. This is Cape Town’s commitment to be more resilient against future droughts and the strategy entrenches what we have learnt collectively. Cape Town has always been, and will continue to be, a water-scarce region. I must ask that we all continue to be water-wise.
During 2018, all our attention was on getting through the drought, and rightly so, but now it’s time for our other directorates to get back to their core business, and this is something I have stressed with my top management.
I want to close off by saying that 2018 saw us travelling a rocky road. We accomplished a lot, but there were some tough times. I believe that we have left that rocky road behind now and that, in 2019, we are going to get back to basics with our service delivery because that is what the people want. At the same time, we will make sure we continue to give space for innovative and creative ideas to come through from my Mayoral Committee and management team.
I hope that, while I have given you a lot of words here, you can see that they demonstrate the action we have taken, because that is what I am interested in, taking action and getting on with delivery!
* Dan Plato, Executive Mayor of Cape Town.
The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.