Cape Town Africa's greatest city - Dan Plato

The Mayor on the city's preparations for the 2010 World Cup

SPEECH BY EXECUTIVE MAYOR DAN PLATO AT THE COUNCIL MEETING OF 26 NOVEMBER 2009

Speaker, I would like to welcome all Councillors, City Officials, press and members of the public to our last sitting of full Council for this year. I would especially like to welcome Cllr Barbara Rass who was recently elected to Council during the by-election in Atlantis.

I want to begin by saying how proud we are of the recent announcement that Cape Town has won the 2009 Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Award in the Best Destination category.

This award was presented to the City at the World Travel Market in London . It is further proof that we have successfully capitalised on our city's splendid natural beauty by creating a world-class tourism and hospitality industry. And it is confirmation that Cape Town is ready to welcome the world during 2010.

Beyond this, the award shows that we are succeeding in our goal of using tourism as a means to improve the lives of our more vulnerable residents. This is not just through the indirect benefits tourism brings to everyone as it grows our local economy, but by directly contributing to job creation in the places it is needed most.

Responsible Tourism is a key principle of Cape Town 's Tourism Development Framework. Cape Town's Responsible Tourism Policy and Action Plan measures our performance on targets such as water and energy savings, reducing solid waste, and empowering local people and tourism businesses through procurement, skills and enterprise development.

The City of Cape Town has invested approximately R15 million in the development of tourism infrastructure in previously disadvantaged areas, and in the past two years, supported 200 tourism businesses. The City has also established Community Tourism Forums in disadvantaged areas to raise tourism awareness.

Speaker, I want to assure you that responsible tourism makes sound economic sense as well as social and moral sense. A significant and growing number of tourists are looking for a ‘different' travel experience and a higher quality product. They want to get closer to the people of the destination they visit and experience the city's natural and cultural heritage in an authentic local manner. It has become important to do so in good conscience without having any adverse effect on the destination.

Cape Town has recently won a number of other major international tourism awards, including Africa 's Leading Destination Award two years in a row. Our efforts to make Cape Town a leading responsible tourism destination has played a significant role in us receiving these awards.

We must continue to implement responsible tourism practices in even more of our tourism businesses and promote awareness of responsible tourism among residents, visitors and stakeholders.

My congratulations to Cape Town Tourism, Fedhasa, Satsa, SAACI, their members and all players in our tourism industry. Thank you for working together with the City to put our Responsible Tourism Charter in place and implementing it successfully.

Speaker, Cape Town has also had confirmation of its status as a favoured destination for international investment. Teleperformance UK , the world's leading provider of outsourced contact centre services, has made a major investment into new call centres in Cape Town . The project, which starts immediately, will see the creation of 2 000 new jobs by 2012.

At the heart of the City of Cape Town 's development strategy is infrastructure-led economic growth. The objective is to further establish Cape Town 's reputation as a globally competitive business and leisure destination, which will attract more investment and grow our local economy.

Cape Town has a lot to offer the call centre industry with competitive real estate prices and a strong skills base geared for Cape Town 's services economy. Cape Town and South Africa have an opportunity to create many more jobs in the contact centre industry if we are able to bring down the cost of telecommunications and develop a more focussed global marketing campaign.

The City of Cape Town welcomes this significant investment by Teleperformance, and the City will be doing whatever it can to enable more investments like this which lead to increased job opportunities for our residents.

Speaker, the festive season preparations are well under way. The City Manager Achmat Ebrahim has established a dedicated Festive Season Co-ordination Committee on which various City departments are represented. It will oversee the implementation of strategies that ensure a safe, clean and enjoyable experience for all visitors and residents during the festive season.

While we are gearing up for the festive season it is also important to note that our Safety & Security Directorate have been very hard at work in Operation Choke and Razor.

The Festive Season Co-ordination committee is chaired by Richard Bosman, Executive Director of Safety and Security. The team will deal with issues such as traffic accidents, fires, safety and security at beaches, power failures, crowd surges and festive events. A feature of the readiness programme this year is the inclusion of the 2010 Final Draw events as part of the co-ordination activities.

The following special measures have been put in place to enhance safety and cleanliness:

The City's Disaster Management Team is on 24-hour full alert and is geared for all eventualities. The public may report any emergency to the 107 emergency number from a Telkom line. Cellphone users need to dial 021 480 7700.

  • Metro Police, Traffic Services, Law Enforcement, and Security and Specialised Services staff will be on duty over the festive season. The City has also employed an extra 170 law enforcement officers until the end of June who will be providing extra manpower at important events.
  • Regular safety patrols will take place at tourist hot spots and high risk crime areas. The Metro Police's newly established dog unit will also be deployed for the first time during operations over the festive season.
  • Roadblocks and targeted operations aimed at combating all forms of substance abuse will be executed throughout the festive season.
  • Metro Police will continue with its Operation Razor and Traffic Services will focus on road and passenger safety as well as removing unsafe vehicles from our roads.
  • Fire and Rescue Services will be on high alert with over 700 full-time firefighters available on a shift basis at the 28 fire stations on standby across the city. An additional 116 seasonal firefighters will be deployed by December 15 to assist with bush and vegetation fires. Two helicopters, operating from the Newlands forestry station, will assist in aerial fire-fighting. All citizens are requested to heed fire warnings and practice fire safe measures at all times.
  • The City's partnership with Western Province Lifesaving will ensure that 115 multi-skilled lifeguards are on duty at 44 beaches, as well as at regional and community pools across the city.
  • A total of 19 shark spotters will be deployed at seven beaches, namely Muizenberg, St James, Kalk Bay , Fish Hoek, Noordhoek, Glencairn and Clovelly.
  • Over R17 million has been budgeted for cleansing. Refuse removal will continue uninterrupted over the festive period, including on public holidays. More than 900 additional cleansing staff will be appointed to clean-up business districts, scenic routes and beaches.
  • Safety initiatives include partnerships with other agencies such as the City Improvement Districts and Displaced Persons Support Unit.
  • For holiday makers to have a safe trip, motorists are encouraged to ensure their vehicles are in a sound roadworthy condition. From 11 December 2009 to 08 January 2010 the City's Traffic
  • Services will conduct free basic vehicle safety checks at the following traffic centres: Gallows Hill, Bellville, Kuils River , Brackenfell, Hillstar, Goodwood and Durbanville, between 10:00 to 14:00 each working day.

Speaker, it is with great regret that I inform you that the City has had to apply for an eviction order for the few people remaining in the temporary places of safety set up to provide shelter for victims of xenophobia. The provincial disaster that was declared is long over and the sites have now formally closed, with the City having incurred R142 million in costs.

Of the 20 000 displaced foreigners who were given protection in five safety sites, more than 19 000 have relocated back to their original countries or South African communities. However 340 people remain in the Bluewaters camps in Strandfontein, as well as a further number at Youngsfield, which is not owned by the City. These people result in a significant ongoing expense for the City, with National Government having provided only ten percent of the necessary funds since violence first broke out in May last year.

The City has worked with the Provincial Government, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and local NGOs to make every effort to relocate the remaining people. They have been offered financial assistance for relocation, a UN process to relocate outside South Africa , alternative housing for those identified as vulnerable and skills training. They have refused all these reasonable offers of assistance.

This has left the City with no alternative but to apply for an eviction order in the Cape High Court . The matter is currently in progress. It has become increasingly evident that the closures of these camps are of the utmost importance. The City cannot afford these ongoing costs especially in the current financial situation.

Speaker, the City is well on its way to achieving ambitious cost-saving measures by reducing our water consumption. The city's unconstrained water consumption was reduced by 26% last year, and the City was recently praised for its efforts by Water and Environmental Minister Bulelwa Sonjica at the 2009 Western Cape Water Indaba.

Minister Sonjica said that it was very encouraging to find a municipality that appreciated its constitutional mandate to supply water and sanitation services. She also added that Cape Town seems to have a vision that puts us ahead of all other local authorities.

The City of Cape Town developed a comprehensive climate change strategy last year and published the ‘Smart Living Handbook'. This is intended to highlight to all our citizens, the challenges of climate change and the need to change and adapt our lifestyles accordingly. Part of this climate strategy is a very ambitious R750m water demand strategy and water conservation programme.

Our water demand strategy was formulated in response to the call from the National Minister of Water Affairs & Forestry to reduce water demand before we would be allowed to supplement the supply of water to the Western Cape from the Berg River . A reduction of 20% water consumption was set as a target. If successful a saving of some 323 million litres per day will be achieved, and we are well on our way to achieving this figure.

These types of savings push back the need for further water augmentation schemes though we are of course investigating our options for the future. I commend the Utility Services Directorate and Alderman Clive Justus for their dedication and commitment to providing efficient services.

Speaker, since the 15th of September I have been running an Outreach Campaign called Taking the City to the People. The aim of this programme is to increase communication between the City's leadership and the residents of Cape Town . As I near the end of my campaign, I can say that I have become well versed in the issues, challenges and needs of our citizens. In turn I have communicated to them the challenges that we face.

At the end of the programme I will be submitting a report detailing expenditure of the programme as well as the issues raised and how they were dealt with. I would like to give a heartfelt thank you to all the officials, subcouncil managers, chairpersons and councillors who gave up their time to join me at these meetings. I especially would like to thank the officials that have been integral in the organisation and management of this programme.

Speaker, last week Monday I met with the Deputy Minister of Transport, Mr Jeremy Cronin and officials from the National Department of Transport. Mr Cronin expressed his department's continued support for the implementation of the Integrated Rapid Transit Project in the City of Cape Town. I would like to thank him for his enthusiasm for this project which although challenging, provides the City with an opportunity to provide a quality, reliable and affordable public transport system for all our residents.

Today Council is asked to approve the budget provision for the purchase of the buses that we need to meet a portion of our host City obligations. The City's 2010 Host City transport plan includes a range of transport options, in which the Integrated Rapid Transit (IRT) is one component. Other components include airport upgrades, road and highway upgrades, improvements to the rail network, non-motorised transport facilities and rail as an important public transport backbone.

At the Council meeting of 28 October Council approved that IRT implementation will proceed as and when funds are received, but included a special provision to provide for the requirements of the 2010 FIFA World Cup including the acquisition of the buses.

While the City has to wait for formal approval of the budgetary provision from Council before the tender can be awarded to the approved bus supplier, this does not mean that the City has been idle.

A public tender for the supply of the buses has been undertaken. The tenders received have been assessed. A preferred supplier has been identified and authority has been given to negotiate certain aspects of the preferred supplier's offer including the bus delivery schedule. These negotiations have been successfully completed.

The negotiated bus delivery schedule is tight, but it has been contractually agreed between the City and the supplier. The award of the tender and the finalisation of the contract, including the agreed bus delivery schedule, can proceed only when Council has approved the funding for the buses.

The negotiated bus delivery schedule allows for the delivery in Cape Town of training vehicles from January to March 2010. This will allow bus drivers to be trained in parallel with the appointment of the operator of the buses for the 2010 FIFA World Cup event.

The manufacture and assembly of buses takes place in a phased manner. The City will receive the buses at a rate of approximately five per week from April 2010. The phased delivery of the buses significantly lowers the risk to the City as it is not left with a single delivery date. The phased approach allows for monitoring and tracking of the bus supplier's performance to avoid surprises. The preferred supplier is prepared to contractually commit to the final bus being delivered to the City before the end of May 2010 with the possibility of this being accelerated.

So while we are dealing with a very tight time line the City has put in place the necessary controls. It is managing the process to ensure that once the funding has been put in place by Council and the buses ordered, delivery of the buses will take place in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Speaker, since 2004 South Africa has been talking and dreaming 2010. Now, here in Cape Town, we can see the dream becoming an exciting reality.

You will have noticed that Cape Town is a hive of activity. We are upgrading our airport, rail and road system, we have given the Grand Parade a new lease on life and we are turning Green Point into a beautiful urban park and sports precinct. From the public sector, these and other similar developments, represent a total investment of R13,6 billion, which we will continue to benefit from decades after 2010.

We have also seen massive private sector investment in Cape Town , including eight new hotels. Job opportunities have been created and skills and experience have been acquired. This will be one of our key 2010 legacies.

On our television screens we have seen exciting battles as the 32 participating teams qualified for the World Cup. A week from now Cape Town will host the Final Draw for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

The key purpose of the draw will be to determine who will play against whom and where. Then the teams, and their thousands of fans, can decide where to establish their 2010 base camps.

The event will be attended by celebrities and decision-makers of the international and South African football family. In particularly, I look forward to welcoming FIFA President Sepp Blatter, Secretary-General Jerome Valcke and the Organising Committee's Dr Irvin Khoza and Dr Danny Jordaan.

The Final Draw will be televised to 200 countries and our beautiful city will be showcased to an estimated 150 million viewers worldwide. The City of Cape Town is also opening this event to its residents and visitors by relaying the images from the CTICC to big television screens in upper Long Street.

In Long Street, the festive atmosphere and setting will give us a taste of things to come in 2010 when fans from Cape Town and the world can meet together in fan parks to celebrate a great sporting event.

Our week of festivities starts with the switch on of the festive lights in Adderley Street this Sunday. You are all invited and I look forward to seeing you there.

The Final Draw comes to Cape Town as our magnificent Cape Town Stadium is nearing completion. I recently attended our stadium's roof-wetting ceremony, and I can assure you that right here at Green Point we have one of the most beautiful buildings in the whole world.

Although it won't be difficult, I want to encourage Capetonians to appreciate the stadium for everything it is worth. It is an enormous asset for Cape Town's residents, and it belongs to each and every one of us. We can all play our part in ensuring it gets used to its maximum potential. Even if it just means taking a trip to the new urban park next door to see up close how magnificent it really is.

We live in a very beautiful city, and, with this stadium, it is now even more spectacular. I hope it can inspire us to take Cape Town to new and greater heights in the future. Let us be bold, let us consider all the incredible things that are really possible for us.

But for now, we focus on the exciting Final Draw.

Cape Town, Africa's greatest city, is ready to welcome the world.

In conclusion, I would like to wish all Councillors, officials and members of the public well for the festive season and thank you all for your support and hard work during my first few months in office. With our combined efforts and dedication I am sure that we will make 2010 an even more successful year.

Article by: Dan Plato - www.politicsweb.co.za