Newcastle Municipality launches the October Transport Month

Picture: Mayor Afzul Rehman interacts with motorist at N11

Newcastle Municipality in partnership with different stakeholders including the Taxi Association, EMRS, SAPS, RTI and ER 24 launched the transport month on Wednesday 22 October 2014. “Today we are launching the October month a very important date on our calendar. This campaign is to ensure that both pedestrians and motorist are kept safe on our roads. But it does not stop today traffic safety is a continuous initiative of community services and the traffic said Strategic Executive Director for Community Services Mr Mandla Sithole.

The overview of the event was presented by Mr Errol Mswane the Chief of Operation. “In a nut shell we are here to inform you as the people who ensure safely on our roads that we are here for you. If we have a mayor that had holds such prestigious recognition we thus challenged to raise the bar and excel. Concluded Mr Mswane.

Mayor Afzul Rehman was present to officially launch the campaign to which he allude “October transport month, arrivals at a time when we filled with excitement preparing for the festive season, but we must also not forget to creating road safety awareness our motorist and pedestrians. Safety procedures on our roads that are going to avoid accidents and ensure that there is no loss of life.
Newcastle Municipality is the fastest growing town second to Richards Bay, in economic terms the rate in which we are growing will result to more people being mobile which means that will be more people on our roads, we have already taken several steps towards ensuring there is a reliable transport system by continuously tarring, opening and improving more roads.

In addition to ensuring that our Townships and Suburbs are paved to keep people away from the roads and our children do not play on the roads.

In the same instance the Municipality would like to involve with residents towards the promotion of a “Car free day” were residents are encouraged to use public transportation and minimise traffic congestion on roads.

Traffic officers were awarded with training Certificates and further encouraged to continue with their good work by. “When you put on your uniform you are a cut above the rest, we need to bring book the respect for the man in uniform, but with respect comes the responsibility to respect yourself first.

A heart-warming vote of thanks was given by Portfolio Councillor -Community services: Cllr Noma Kunene. “A job well done to our traffic officers who always avail themselves at any time continue to work hard.

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Seen in the picture is Director: Community services Mr Vish Govender together with the stakeholders from the Taxi Association, ER24 and EMRS

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Mayor Afzul Rehman, Cllr Noma Kunene and representative from the South African Police service hand over a Training certificate to Traffic Officer Thwala.

Newcastle Mayor wins Best Performing Mayor Award third time.

The Municipal Excellence Awards were recently held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre (ICC) in Durban on Friday 10 October 2014. The awards pay tribute to the champions of development, despite the enormous challenges in Kwazulu Natal and precisely in local government. What makes these awards even more distinctive is that they allow communities to have their say and be the judges as to whom they believe to be the best thus communities from all over Kwa-Zulu were invited to support and vote for their Municipalities in different categories presented and it was on this occasion that Newcastle Mayor Afzul Rehman was crowned as the best performing mayor of a local Municipality for the consecutive third year.

Present at the admirable event were Ministers, MEC’s, Mayors and officials from all constitutes in the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Mayor James Nxumalo the Mayor of eThekwini and Host city welcomed all those in attendance “These awards seek to acknowledge municipalities that have worked harder and faster to fast track service delivery, and also to encourage municipalities to come together and share best practice in which we are all able to come together and enhance service delivery.”

Hosted by the Department of Co-Operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) and led by MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube. The awards were commemorating its third anniversary since the awards began.

On this occasion we acknowledge the book of proverbs which declares “Withhold not from those who do good”, therefore tonight we acknowledge municipalities that have continued on their quest to do good. What makes these awards special is that this year we celebrate the third year since Salga and Cogta partnered to ensure that ordinary people who do their ordinary best are recognized. The Municipal Excellence Awards seek to recognize excellence in municipal practices that improve administration and service delivery. Over the past few years the Municipal Excellence Awards has allowed municipalities to share their best practice ideas with Municipalities whilst at the same time showcasing their own municipalities. The awards also seek to celebrate Kwa-Zulu Natal as a province.

Cllr Rehman began his term of office as Mayor in 2009 and since then Newcastle has seen remarkable improvement. In the past 5 years alone the municipality has spent over R2 billion rand on infrastructure development and new equipment. We have transformed the landscape with new roads, new state of the art parks, new municipal buildings and won numerous awards apart from the best performing award.

We have upgraded sewer and water, electrified more areas, built new bridges, opened new intersections, paved walkways, built more low cost houses and basically changed the lives of almost every citizen.

“We all understand that communicating with communities, listening to them, and planning around their issues, is the most powerful key to satisfied communities.” Said Mayor Rehman. Deputy Minister of Cogta Mr. Andries Nel who delivered the key note had these words to say, “The Collective presence of municipalities here today brings meaning to the motto of the province which is Sukuma Sakhe.” We also congratulate all the winners for the night and hope this will lead to an improved service delivery in the local sphere were another’s are also motivated to excellence.

Easter traffic report

The Newcastle protection services traffic dept. embarked on numerous roadblocks during the Easter festival. Our honourable mayor councillor Afzul Rehman, our portfolio councillor N.P Kunene, the office of the municipal manager, strategic executive director Mr M.P Sithole and Director Vish Govender have made a significant contribution towards this successful exercise. Further, Chief H.Zungu, Supt.K.H Jawair, Supt. E.T Thwala and all traffic offices have also succeeded in co coordinating and playing a major role in preventing serious accidents.

The following statistics are from the 15th to the 21st April 2014:
Newcastle : 18 minor accidents
Charlestown : zero accidents
Ingogo : 2 minor accidents
Madadeni : 2 major and 12 minor accidents
Osizweni : 14 accidents

No fatalities occurred during this period and 1419 vehicles were stopped during our various blitz roadblocks.

Intervention to quell taxi violence

AN INTERVENTION TO QUELL TAXI VIOLENCE BY NEWCASTLE MUNICIPALITY AND DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT AND COMMUNITY LAISON
The taxi violence in Newcastle has been prevalent following the death of the member of the taxi Association last week. The violence has borne for more than two years and many lives has been lost since the beginning of the year, it has been getting worse ever since. The taxi associations are believed to be fighting over routes hence fuel the violence with commuters dragged in the violence.

On Tuesday last week the Newcastle municipality along with the Department of Transport and Community Liaison MEC met with five taxi Associations that are operating in the area in a bid to quell the violence. MEC Willies Mchunu signed a cooperation agreement with all five taxi associations in order to resolve taxi violence.

“The taxi industry is the black owned multi-billion rand business with no proper operating regulations and many within the industry are driven by greed as result they end up killing the competitors within the industry” said MEC Willies Mchunu.

MEC Mchunu also stated that

Today we are here to intervene, we are entering into the cooperation agreement with all taxi associations and all are expected to participate in the process.

“Here we are dealing with people who are greedy and who are hit man, any offender should be given maximum fine” he added.

As results the MEC introduced drastic measures to normalize the operation:
• Introduction of an independent facilitator to evaluate all records of the five associations to verify the legitimacy of members.
• Ensuring that the Municipality plays a leading role in ensuring there is proper management and control systems for the rank that is used by the associations
• Vetting of the security companies that are employed by the taxi associations to provide services to associations at the rank and outside
• Ensuring that the SAPS effectively deal with crime at the rank.

Newcastle Municipality intervention:
• Together with KZN Department of Transport’s Deputy Directors and local Traffic admin staff, a data base was created in order to separate legal from illegal taxis perusing the rank. This makes monitoring easier and helps curb the violence amongst taxi operators intending to monopolize the facility. Rank permits which were issued to be displayed on the legally registered vehicles and discernable emblems (stickers) issued to the various Taxi Associations. The stickers were designed in-house by Superintendent K.H. Jawair.
• Boom gates with number plate recognition devices are soon to be installed to exclude entry of unauthorized vehicles.
• The Task Team evicted the mechanics in and around the rank so as to ensure no environmental degradation. This team identified the problems that must be rectified by the relevant departments so as to ensure better traffic flow and the reinstallation of services for commuters.
• The Task Team’s deployment and presence at the rank automatically mitigated the criminal elements present- no more fighting or trading of illegal goods and no entry of persons bearing arms and ammunition in vehicles associated with the violence.

Newcastle Mayor Afzul Rehman concluded

We are working closely with the KZN Department of Transport and are confident that peace and order will prevail once the whole process starts.

As Newcastle municipality we want to create a town that is the role model in the country and are grateful for the intervention made by the department of Transport hopeful this will result in telling a good story for Newcastle” added Rehman.

Gaining Community Trust

Mayor Afzul Rehman has been dubbed Mr Service Delivery by the local community. He believes his attentiveness to the financial affairs of the municipality has earned him this title. “When I accepted the position as acting mayor in early 2009 we were expected to present council with a draft budget almost immediately.” After analysing the previous year’s budget he found that R800 million was being spent on operations while only R68 million was going to capital infrastructure development. “If you looked at the need, R68 million was miniscule and this needed to be reformed.”
Rehman immediately embarked on a stringent cost-cutting exercise. “We visited each municipal department and examined expenses. We wanted to know why certain expenses were allowed to slip. For example, if we found a telephone bill of R5 000 and believed this was excessive, we asked for justification.”

The first budget he compiled increased capital infrastructure spending to R172 million simply by cutting unnecessary operational costs. The mayor named the budget, Speeding up Change. While it clearly identified the need to improve townships it was also important to retain the integrity of municipalities. “I saw a trend in other areas to allocate funds to informal settlement development at the expense of continued maintenance in residential areas. I did not want this to happen in our municipality.”

In 2010 the capital infrastructure spend was increased to R229 million, and the mayor dubbed this budget, Working Harder Faster. The following year it increased to R308 million and for the current year R380 million has been made available. “The budgets of the last few years show a steady increase in capital infrastructure spending. People appreciate the improved infrastructure – like electricity – because they can see and feel the difference it makes in their lives.”

Eskom could not provide electrical infrastructure quickly enough in some areas. “We entered into an agreement where we provide the investment capital needed to provide people with electricity and the utility agreed to reimburse us at a later date. It must be said that all of this was done without increasing rates and taxes beyond normal inflation and not a single loan was taken out.”

National Water Week – 2014

The Newcastle Municipality, under the theme, water is life, 20 years of water delivery for social and economic development, embarked on an educational water campaign which began from 17—23 March 2014. National Water Week is an awareness campaign by the Department of Water Affairs which serves as a powerful tool of re-iterating the value of water and the need for sustainable management.

The campaign started off with senior citizens being taken on an educational of the water treatment plants and carwashes with a high rate of water wastage were also visited. As the campaign moved forward households with reported water leakage were repaired. In addition, public areas were identified where the community at large was encouraged to engage in a dialogue with municipal water technicians on different methods as to how they can save water and the telephonic share call was made available to report water related or enquiries on 0860 144 144 as a method of encouraging the community to save water buckets were distributed.

The theme coincides with South Africa’s celebrations of 20 years of freedom and democracy. South Africans will also be encouraged to focus on the need to restore and preserve the integrity of this most precious resource which is water. In this campaign Newcastle Municipality also declared war against water leaks..

Protection Services event

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In October 2012, Ms Zanele Sibisi, a fire fighter for the Newcastle Fire Station was selected as one of the eight finalists in the 2013 Centrum Guardian Project after displaying extreme bravery and dedication when rescuing a man from a bulk water pipe on the 4th of October after he was trapped inside while repairing a leak.

Zanele was awarded training worth an estimated valued of R20 000 for herself and her 42 colleagues in which the prizes included a Pump Operators Course with motor rescue. The Pump Operators Course was sponsored by GODIVA and the Vehicle Extrication Course was sponsored by Hamilton Hydraulics. These two courses took place on Thursday, 27 March 2014.

“Fire brigades have specific skills that need to be learnt and part of these skills requires a lot of critical thinking, thus there is a need to revisit the classrooms from time to time in order to keep up with the advancement of technology and once again we thank Miss Zanele Sibisi for her bravery and dedication”, concluded Protection Services Communication

Mandela’s Entrepreneurship and Careers Expo

The Department of Economic Development and Tourism together with Amajuba District Municipality and
Newcastle Municipality hosted a Mandela’s Children Entrepreneurship and Careers Expo at Phelindaba
Sports grounds on 31 March 2014, with the aim to advice the youth in making astute career choices.
The expo was attended by MEC for KZN Social Development Ms Weziwe Thusi, Amajuba District Cllr Jabu
Khumalo, Newcastle Municipality Deputy Mayor Cllr Racheal Mdluli, Newcastle Municipality Speaker Cllr
MF Zikhali and Newcastle Municipality Porfolio Councillor for Community Services Cllr Nomathamsanqa
Kunene. Also in attendance was the youth of Amajuba District, exhibitors and young entrepreneurs who
motivated the young to grab the opportunities that have come with freedom and to use them wisely.

The Mayor of Amajuba District Cllr Jabu Khumalo gave a brief background of the event and reminded the
youth about the past and future of our country, and urged young people to take lead in economic
development.

Ms Weziwe Thusi advised the youth to work the ruling party to defend their democracy. “The youth must
work together to uplift their lives through co-operatives and economic development is at the top of the
ANC agenda therefore young people should seize opportunities presented to them”
, she concluded.
Amongst the companies exhibited were Eskom, Transnet, as well as celebrities namely; Menzi Ngubane
(who plays Sibusiso Dlomo on Generations), Crew from Family Bonds, Zakes Bantwini and Yellow.

Freedom Flame – 20 Years of Democracy

FREEDOM FLAME By Sithembile Monareng
On 19 March 2014 the freedom flame hailed the Amajuba District in celebration of 20 years of freedom
and democracy. The celebration was the major symbol of 20 years of democracy and the flame
symbolized the light prevailing over darkness.

MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dlomo in his capacity as champion of the Amajuba District together with the District
Mayor Cllr Jabu Khumalo and Newcastle Municipality Mayor Cllr Afzul Rehman celebrated with the people of Newcastle, highlighting service delivery achievements in our District.

“As the country celebrates 20 years of freedom and democracy, the flame presents an opportunity for us
to reflect on how our freedom and democracy was achieved and the achievements we have made over
the past 20 years. This moment affirmed the pride and dignity of our country and celebration of
humanity”, said Dr Dlomo.

Newcastle Municipality prides itself regarding all the achievements that has been made in the past 20 years, highlighting successful projects namely; Eco parks and outdoor gym, the Clifford Manana Bridge
(Asiphephe), KwaMathukuza housing projects, eTheku mall and other projects on the pipeline. He
acknowledged that more work still needs to be done to make Newcastle one town. – concluded Rehman

CCTV our Big Brother

CCTV cameras are a modern way for crime prevention. As the municipality staff and management we need to have some knowledge of how these cameras work.

During each shift our operators will stop a camera from auto-patrolling and will manually move the camera to check around the area of the camera. When it does happen that the camera does not pick up a partcular incident it will be due to the camera being on patrol, covering specific areas that were set manually for that specific camera to cover.

Warning tips to all of us:
1. If you hire/employ a gardener/domestic worker, you need to now where he/she lives and always ask and keep a photo copy of his/her identity book.
2. Do not leave your money under the seat of your car. The police are dealing with many of these cases.
3. Avoid giving out your ID number on the telephone to strangers.
4. Physically check if your car is locked. Do not rely on your remote control.

“Love them or hate them but they are there to protect you”