Ekurhuleni Promises Future growth & Service Delivery

Pretoria - Ekurhuleni Mayor Mondli Gungubele on Wednesday said the next five years will be characterised by major growth for the municipality.

He delivered his annual State of the City Address, where basic service delivery, poverty alleviation, job creation, youth and skills development were high on his agenda.

He said although the metro had recorded economic growth- it was not sufficient to fully address economic and social challenges.

"The employment performance of the economy has not adequately met the needs of the society," said Gungubele.

To address this, he said they will pay attention to the creative industries, especially the craft industry, saying it is a strategic sector that can assist the City in job creation initiatives.

"We are going to utilise this industry as a vehicle to make major interventions in the economic upliftment of our people.

"This industry has the potential to create thousands of jobs in Ekurhuleni. We will engage national government on the craft industry and develop a strategy for this sector in Ekurhuleni," Gungubele said.

With financial management processes improving, the collection rate however continues to plague the metro.

"We have achieved our highest recorded collection rate for a full year in June 2010 when we reached 91 percent. It is expected that we will marginally improve on this in the current year. The target for the medium term remains at 93 percent and over the longer term 95 percent. All efforts are made to achieve a collection rate of at least 92% percent by the end of the financial year," said Gungubele.

He revealed that the metro has delivered about 30 000 houses to those in need. From a period of rapid proliferation, the number of informal settlements seems to have stabilised around 114, accommodating between 200 000 and 500 000 people- which Gungubele attributed it to the high number of migrants in the metro.

The metro however is making inroads in lighting the city. "We are happy to announce that about 29 178 stands have been provided with electricity service connections since 2007/2008. The target of 10 000 for 2010/2011 will be achieved."

Electricity service connections have been provided in areas such as Tembisa Extension 26, Esselen Park, Winnie Mandela Park, Eden Park, Tinasonke, Chief Albert Luthuli Park, Egoli Village and Palm Ridge.

In the past five years, more than 200km of street lights were switched on for the first time.

About 84 kilometers (equalling 1 200 light poles) of street lights were installed since 2006, as well as an additional 1 675 poles with street lights and a further 570 poles with street lights will be installed during the 2010/2011 financial year - with the full term total will therefore be 3 445 street lights.

On the issue of roads, Gungubele said the total backlog for roads is estimated at 1 728km and will cost approximately R3.6 billion to construct.

The total backlog for storm water is estimated at R900 million. "We are consolidating all storm water master planning in the Metro. We are hoping to complete this process by the end of June 2011."

In ensuring that the City has access to ICT services, the City is providing free internet access to students and citizens, including through free email access and electronic collaboration to 4 600.

The City has also successfully connected 51 internet kiosks at libraries, digital villages, MPCC's and CCC's with a total number of 204 access terminals.

Future plans include extending the same free email service to Grade 12 learners in Ekurhuleni schools.

- BuaNews