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By working together we can achieve so much more<p>Councillors, colleagues, members of the public and media, welcome to the second digital Council Sitting for the City of Cape Town.</p><p>Before we start today, I’d like to ask for a moment of silence for Amahle Quku, the young girl from Philippi who was raped and murdered as well as all victims of gender based violence whose names did not reach the media. Let us also have a moment of silence for the late Mr Shahied Ajam, Chairperson of the District 6 Working Committee, as well as all our friends, family members, colleagues, front line staff, and loved ones who have sadly passed away from COVID-19. </p><p>Thank you.</p><p>It is important that we still host our council sessions on this digital platform as we are seeing a major spike in Coronavirus infections.  It is this time that we are currently in that we have spent weeks preparing for, and I hope that the public are being just as cautious in their day to day tasks to limit the spread of the coronavirus. </p><p>Please be kind and support those who have been affected by the virus. Please also be considerate of the many families in our communities who have been affected by the loss of income and employment due to the national lockdown.</p><p>I want to thank the councillors for supporting their communities during these tough times and for making yourself available under very challenging circumstances. </p><p>We have seen how our own services have increasingly been impacted in recent weeks as a result of the coronavirus. Our refuse collection services have been particularly hard hit with a number of delays due to staff testing positive for the coronavirus and the depots consequently having to be shut down for deep cleansing. </p><p>I appreciate the patience that our residents have shown when our services are affected, and I am glad that for the most part we have been able to offer uninterrupted essential services to our residents throughout the lockdown. </p><p>It was during the hard lockdown as it is generally known, or Alert Level 5 as it became to be known, that we spent many days working late into the night to prepare the City’s services to continue functioning. </p><p>The public might not have seen or heard from us as often as usual because we were hard at work putting all the necessary measures in place. We had to rapidly adapt our services so that they could continue functioning while we also procured personal protective equipment (PPE) for our front line staff. </p><p>It is not a comfortable discussion to talk about the projected increase in deaths as we enter the coming peak infection period but it is important that the public are aware of the worst-case projections. While the demand for burial and cremation of COVID-19 victims is still manageable, the City is preparing additional grave sites.  </p><p>We are also taking appropriate measures to ensure that we are prepared for the possibility of mass burials. These will only be conducted as a last resort, with the dignity of the deceased being preserved as much as possible.</p><p>Today we will be tabling proposed changes to our Integrated Development Plan (IDP) to formalise the changing needs of our society that the City is required to address. This means adjustments to our budget, the way we work, and the services we offer. </p><p>One example of the impact of the national lockdown on some of our services, which were forced to operate at limited capacity, is the MyCiTi bus service, which has had to reduce its passenger load significantly to ensure social distancing. The original scorecards (targets) for these services will need to be adjusted accordingly. In addition to the proposed changes being tabled today, we will need to accommodate for the resources that have and continue to be diverted to address the COVID-19 pandemic, so further changes to the IDP will likely be tabled in due course.</p><p>During the lockdown, we not only prepared our essential services to continue functioning, we also made sure that other services continued to function, which is why we were able to approve 2 225 building plans to the value of R2.8 billion; provide 3000 business support kits to SMMEs who were allowed to operate during Alert Level 4 and 3 of the lockdown; and we continued to pay contractors and service providers on time, all of which is part of our efforts to keep our local economy going.</p><p>Unfortunately as the lockdown levels lifted, gang violence began to escalate again. The City rapidly deployed our law enforcement teams to the flare-ups of gang violence. Their on-the-ground presence resulted in several illegal fire-arms being confiscated as well as numerous arrests for the possession of illegal drugs and firearms. We need our residents to please report suspected gang activity, you can do so anonymously. </p><p>I want to encourage our residents to speak out if they know something about the crimes being committed in their neighbourhoods. </p><p>While we are calling on the public to report criminal activity, I want to address the criminal actions that have taken away critical services from the public. In Hangberg a crèche and soup kitchen was destroyed, leaving hundreds of families without a warm meal, and in Dunoon and Joe Slovo, MyCiTi buses and a station were torched, leaving those communities without access to safe and affordable public transport. </p><p>We have just reduced the fares for the MyCiTi services but residents in these communities, as a result of this destruction of public property, will not be able to enjoy this reduction in fares. Destroying public property never achieves anything. If residents have concerns rather engage with us – this is the best way to make sure your concerns are heard and addressed.  </p><p>If the public know who is involved in these incidents, you have a duty to report them, and you can do so anonymously. We need you to speak up, otherwise you let others who don’t have your best interests at heart speak for you. <br>I have noticed how there are a few voices who constantly shout about different matters, often demanding that the city not apply its by-laws and allow land to be illegally invaded or for others to set up a home wherever they want, regardless of the laws of the country. </p><p>These shouters and screamers only seek to divide, and they often get their manufactured outrage covered in the media, but I am glad to see that many law abiding residents are starting to speak out against those who want to paint the City in a bad light when we try and carry out our duties. </p><p>I read a letter by one of our residents that was published in a local newspaper this past week. He complained about the homeless in his community, the increase in litter, the destruction of fynbos as a result of their makeshift structures and the fire hazards that were caused. These are legitimate concerns but residents have become scared to speak out because a handful of aggressive political campaigners shut down those who wish to do so. The resident even referenced how offers to sleep at the Haven night shelter were turned down and clothes and blankets that were donated had been thrown away. </p><p>While the City offered the best services in the country for our homeless community during the first weeks of lockdown, the focus was mostly on the negative and often untrue claims about the services being offered.</p><p>Let me also use this opportunity to say thank you to the councillors who have come to see me in recent weeks to discuss these challenges. As you know, there are bed spaces available in the shelters. I know this because I have personally checked on the shelters and know that we have provided funding to make hundreds of extra bed spaces available, with at least 180 spaces still available in Bellville this past week. </p><p>Many homeless unfortunately don’t want to take up these bed spaces, nor do they want to return to their families. I am, however, pleased that we were able to reunite a number of homeless people from Strandfontein with their families, and assist many others with rehabilitation. </p><p>Looking at the good work we have done, I want to call on all organisations to please work with us. We can accomplish so much more if we work together. Contrary to the challenges from some organizations, the Constitutional Court just this past week in a unanimous ruling, upheld the City’s by-laws. <br>I want to appeal to our residents, don’t let a small group of political campaigners speak for you and misrepresent issues. Councillors, work with those organisations in your communities who want to help their communities and uplift them. We have a responsibility to all of our residents, and we will not be bullied by a minority of political opportunists. </p><p>I know that the majority of our residents are happy with the services they receive, and I want to ask you to please speak out and share your good news stories. <br>I heard many positive stories this week as I handed out equipment and ingredients to soup kitchens in Hanover Park, Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha. This is over and above the 80 soup kitchens that we have already supported across the City.</p><p>I was also pleased to interact with the businesses in Atlantis when we handed over support kits to the business owners. Let us focus on the positive as there are many good stories to share. </p><p>I would like to close off by thanking all those businesses and residents who have returned to work and opened their doors while taking all the necessary safety measures. I also want to thank all the residents who have adapted to working from home. All of you are what keeps our economy going. </p><p>Lastly, I want to thank all our councillors and staff who continue to work and ensure that the City of Cape Town stays open and that services are delivered. I understand the pressures you are all under and I really appreciate the work that all of you are doing. </p><p>Thank you </p><p><br><strong>End   </strong>            </p>2020-06-29T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891d;GP0|#8b03f782-9eb6-455f-82e9-6429b6354cf9;L0|#08b03f782-9eb6-455f-82e9-6429b6354cf9|SpeechesGP0|#90b49a62-96e2-436a-9c68-187c9ab33534;L0|#090b49a62-96e2-436a-9c68-187c9ab33534|Mayor;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#81784b2d-b68b-4846-9a9e-6eab52c7396d;L0|#081784b2d-b68b-4846-9a9e-6eab52c7396d|soup kitchen1

 

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