Situated on the East Coast of South Africa, Durban is wellrecognised around the world as a major African city and the entire municipal area of eThekwini stretches from Umkomaas in the south, including some tribal area in Umbumbulu, to Tongaat in the north, moving inland to Ndwedwe, and ends at Cato Ridge in the west, covering an area of 2297km2, of which 36% is rural and a further 29% is peri-urban.
In 2014 Durban, KZN and South Africa as a whole, will celebrate 20 years of freedom since the birth of our democracy. And while much has been achieved, the challenge of expanding services and infrastructure remains, the eThekwini Muncipality has prioritised these challenges.
As His Worship, the Mayor, Councillor James Nxumalo points out, "If KZN is to prosper as a province, this will only become possible if its cities are doing well. It is therefore a truism that the performance of eThekwini Municipality is one of the central barometers for measuring the development and growth prospects, not only of the people of eThekwini, but also the Province as a whole and the country at large."
Reflecting on our Achievements
While eThekwini does not underestimate the work that remains to address service delivery backlogs and continue to improve the lives of its people, great strides have been made.
The Municipality is used as a model for financial governance, and great progress has been made environmentally. Major projects have changed the face of the city, stimulating the economy and creating employment opportunities. The development of the new King Shaka International Airport, the Dube TradePort and the Aerotropolis and the construction of flyover bridges at the Warwick Junction have enhanced access in and out of the city, and the Beachfront Upgrade has created a magnificent resource for locals and tourists alike, fostering even more enjoyment of the idyllic Durban climate. The Inkosi Albert Luthuli teaching hospital is acknowledged as a model hospital facility in the continent.
The Moses Mabhida stadium has been built to Olympic specifications and is able to host local and international events such as the international Top Gear Festival, and the ICC Durban continues to host prestigious events such as the highly successful BRICS conference, building on our reputation for the capacity to handle major events, and laying the ground work for future tourism and investment.
Great achievements have also been made in service delivery. Almost 126 000 housing units have been built, a record unsurpassed by any other local government in the country. Almost 70 000 new electricity connections were made in the past 4 years, and solid waste services have been extended to 100% coverage of the municipal area. Over 75% of residents now have access to basic services, with and more than 253 000 houses receiving free basic sanitation and almost 520 000 receive free basic water. 46 Pedestrian bridges have been built, enhancing the safety and convenience of our residents.
Rebates for Development
EThekwini remains the most cost-effective municipality in South Africa. In the National Treasury's benchmarking survey, eThekwini had the lowest monthly rates and utility bills when compared to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Tshwane. EThekwini has also introduced development rebates for certain developments, attracting big investment and developments to the metro.
The city will execute a demanding development strategy in 2013/14. Waste-water treatment works will be upgraded and expanded, with an investment of R2.1 billion. Electricity infrastructure will be extended with a further R1.9 billion and R3 billion will be spent on the Integrated Rapid Transport Network. Low cost housing and infrastructure remains a priority and a further R1.9 billion has been allocated here.
Two aqueducts water projects will, together, account for R1.3 billion and roads development and rehabilitation another R1.9 billion. Other major projects include water loss intervention programmes, ablutions for informal settlements, etc.
Aerial view of beachfront. by Walter Knirr Copyright SA Tourism
By 2020, eThekwini Municipality will be Africa's most caring and liveable city. This requires that all citizens, the business community and visitors must enjoy ease of movement, a safe environment, access to economic opportunities and the city's resources, a clean, green city, homely neighbourhoods and access to municipal, health and education services.
Better transport will lower the cost of living and stimulate the local economy, boosting employment opportunities and profits. The development of a Smart City through the extension of fibre optics cable networks will offer better ommunication and reduce the cost of doing business.
Durban is currently integrating green principles and strategies into infrastructural projects, and has already achieved major C02 emission reductions which will, in the long term, help improve air quality and the quality of life for the citizens of Durban.
Driving Economic Growth
The establishment of the new Durban-Gauteng transport corridor, the new Dug-Out Port and the Dube TradePort are already underway, offering new business opportunities and driving growth.
Manufacturing clusters support the automotive, clothing and textile, wood processing, maritime and ICT sectors, helping to enhance competitiveness and addressing the challenges of leaner production methods, human and technology skills, value-chain alignment and benchmarking programmes.
With its firm partnerships with business, proactive delivery, and sound financial track record it comes as no surprise that the eThekwini Municipality is KwaZulu-Natal's top metropolitan municipality. As a key gateway to trade in the country, Africa and the world, Durban is best placed to offer your business an environment in which to prosper.
"By 2020 the eThekwini Municipality will enjoy the reputation of being Africa's most liveable city, where all citizens live in harmony. This vision will be achieved by growing its economy and meeting people's needs so that all citizens enjoy a high quality of life with equal opportunities, in a city that they are truly proud of."
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