Durban - THE new eThekwini mayor, Mxolisi Kaunda, promised residents that within his first 100 days in the office they would start seeing cleanliness in the city.
Kaunda, who celebrated his 47th birthday yesterday, took over the mayor’s office on September 4, replacing Zandile Gumede who the ANC had recalled after it found that she performed poorly in service delivery duties.
“We are targeting our 100 days to bring about turnaround. We will be mobilising our communities to support us in that exercise.
“Remember, the municipality alone with the enforcement cannot clean the city.
“All you need is the buy-in from the residents to say ‘we are behind you, clean our city for our betterment’,” said Kaunda on the sidelines of the city’s executive council (Exco) meeting.
During the meeting held yesterday at the Durban City Hall, Kaunda said he recently visited the beachfront, where he was disappointed to discover public toilets in a filthy condition.
“I decided to use the public toilets, and I discovered the smell and stains on the toilet seats do not represent the image of the city as we are an international city,” he said.
His remarks convinced members of Exco to support a transfer of R4.6million, which was initially allocated for urban renewal, to an upgrading of beachfront infrastructure.
He said he wanted the city to be one of the cleanest cities in the world. He said he would be strict in enforcing the by-laws and ensuring compliance.
Kaunda said he discovered that certain people had turned the beachfront toilets into illegal bathrooms.
“We are a city that is recognised internationally, and therefore our standard should be at the level of international standard.
“When you walk around the beach and when you get to the public toilets you must also meet the same standard, therefore, we should not allow people to bath there (in the toilets) so that we maintain the standard,” he said.
The mayor said the municipality also identified 80 dilapidated and illegally occupied buildings in the inner city for refurbishment.
“We will enforce by-laws because owners have a responsibility to maintain their properties, and also to know who resides in their properties,” he said.
He said illegal occupants of the buildings would be evicted.
“We will outline our plan because we cannot be non-compliant as there are building regulations which stipulate clearly that in a flat one unit is designed to accommodate four family members but here you will find that there are more than 20 people,” he said.
He promised to make illegal dumping a thing of the past, and the council would engage in a massive cleanliness education programme.
“We put in plans to avoid such actions (illegal dumping) by intensifying education. People should be educated that we don’t just dump anything anywhere,” he said.
He also expressed concern about the recently released crime statistics, which revealed that eThekwini was among the country’s most dangerous cities to live in.
“The issues of security is our priority as you have heard that our areas are still counted as among those that have the high statistics in terms of murders and sexual offences.
“We will be zooming into that, leading the process of formulating stronger structures, which will be working with communities and all stakeholders to bring about safety and stability in the municipality,” said Kaunda.
When asked when the insourcing of municipality projects that were currently outsourced, such as solid waste collection and city’s bus fleet would be implemented, Kaunda said “watch the space”.
“Allow us the space, we are putting plans together as we speak,” he said.