Despite what the critics might say, eThekwini Municipality Mayor, Mxolisi Kaunda has painted a picture of a city striving for progress amid challenges.
Addressing the media on Monday, Kaunda punted the City’s achievements, effective management strategies, and commitment to service delivery, casting aside the negativity of a city in decline, saying the metro was thriving and on track to become a “caring and liveable city”.
The City, he said, has recently enjoyed a flourishing heritage month, attracting thousands of visitors and achieving a 62% hotel occupancy rate, contributing R300 million to the GDP and creating 1,300 jobs.
“This demonstrates that Durban is indeed open for business and people still believe in our ability to host major sporting events,” he said.
Kaunda said the City holds appeal to international visitors, citing upcoming global events such as the World Water Conference and the World ECO-Summit in 2025, showcasing its capability and the world’s continued confidence in it.
In addition, Kaunda said that unlike other cities in the country that have to endure up to four hours of load shedding at time, the eThekwini Municipality’s effective management of load shedding ensures a two-hour schedule.
“This is because of the automation and vastness of our electricity network,” he explained, emphasising the city’s ability to provide power without adversely affecting residents and businesses.
The mayor also addressed the ongoing efforts to ensure all beaches are open during the festive season, attributing the success to the hard work of water and sanitation technical teams. He assured residents and visitors of the City’s commitment to maintaining the quality standard for bathing water and announced collaboration with independent laboratories for water testing.
Mayor Kaunda apologised to the residents of uMhlanga and surrounding areas for the recent water outages due to infrastructure tampering and assured that water supply has been fully restored. He condemned the Democratic Alliance (DA) for using this incident to score political points and reiterated the leadership’s commitment to ensuring uninterrupted services to all the residents of the city.
Kaunda reported ongoing efforts to resolve water challenges in rural parts of the municipality, with the drilling of boreholes in areas with inadequate water infrastructure.
He also conveyed condolences to the family of Mr Khumbulani Khumalo, the Manager for Community Services at Water and Sanitation, who was recently murdered, calling for a thorough investigation into this heinous crime.
City’s Financial Health
Despite the tough economic climate, Kaunda affirmed the overall financial stability of eThekwini Municipality, with a collection rate of 100.72% and 72 days cash on hand.
“These are all positive trends which augur well for the financial viability and sustainability of the City,” he added.
Kaunda announced the creation of a new mobile app to improve customer care and the implementation of various projects to enhance customer service and experience. He said the City was committed to digital transformation and expanding accessibility to services, ensuring efficient response to citizens.