EThekwini Municipality engaged with business and other stake holders at the Moses Mabhida Stadium recently presenting its annual report for the 2016/17 period.

The report gave a detailed account of service delivery achievements, challenges and consolidated annual financial statements for the city. The document is currently out for public comment. Mayor Zandile Gumede welcomed stakeholders, saying that the city has done well over the last financial year and remains committed to accelerating service delivery and providing economic opportunities through the Radical Economic Transformation Framework.

She said that eThekwini contributes significantly to the national fiscus, and the city has positioned itself to contribute to inclusive growth. “This integrated approach will allow for the majority of our local citizens to access public transport, goods and services in a cost effective and efficient manner and to also respond to growing the City’s rates base,” said Gumede. The mayor said the city has implemented 25 catalytic projects. “This is yet another demonstration of our commitment to transform the economic landscape of eThekwini towards more inclusivity. These projects speak to the notion of people-centered development. It is important that projects have economic strategies in place to draw previously excluded people into the economy,” she said. Deputy city manager of treasury, Krish Kumar presented the annual report. He said that despite the tough economic climate the municipality remained in a strong and stable financial position in terms of its short and long term sustainability and viability. The report released by the Auditor General, the annual financial statements, reflect once again that the city has maintained its unqualified audit status, something that it maintained since inception.

The City boasts a strong financial position as evidenced by its collection rate of 97 percent, cash on hand at year end at R6.3 billion and that the municipality managed to maintain its investment grade credit rating of AA- in the long term and A1+ in the short term with a positive outlook. National treasury also commended eThekwini’s budget as the best in the country in terms of quality. Kumar said that the City’s capital spend of 90.46 percent was achieved. This is above the industry norm of 85 percent.

City Manager, Sipho Nzuza, said: “We are delighted at the improved financial performance of the municipality and our municipal entities. The municipality continues to be in a strong financial position due to the stringent control, but also because of our consumers who continue to prioritise the payment of their bills. “We are committed to ongoing improvement. Whilst we have got the basics right, especially in terms of compliance and good governance, we need to start focusing on adding value to ensure that our ratepayers get better bang for their bucks. In particular we are going look at smart city initiatives, such as smart metering, and enhancing asset management and the useful lives of our assets, and improving productivity, especially through the use of technology,” said Nzuza. President of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Musa Makhunga congratulated the City on its performance excellence and confirmed business commitment to help eradicate the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

He said the chamber was proud to be a part of a functioning city, which is something not all cities can boast about. He said the city has provided an enabling environment and numerous opportunities for business growth and development and business must exploit these. The public are invited to comment on the Annual Report 2016/17.The document is available on the city’s website www.durban.gov.za and is also available at Sizakala centres
and libraries.

Comments may be emailed to Khululiwe.faya@durban.gov.za before 2 March.