Last Thursday marked another milestone in the history of the city when Thembi Nkadimeng, Polokwane Executive Mayor delivered her State of the City Address (Soca) in the Jack Botes Hall in which she reported that the city has managed to increase its operating revenue from R1 496 billion in 2011/12 to R2 405 billion in the 2015/16 financial year, showing a growth of 61%.
The venue was packed to capacity and representatives of the provincial government, parastatals, church congregations and other stakeholders witnessed the arrival of the Executive Mayor as she was escorted by an entourage of the Provincial Police Band, Community Safety, and the Traffic and Fire departments.
In her address, Nkadimeng said that since the inception of its term in 2011, this Council has focused on reconfiguring the administrative and governance systems and to stabilize operations which would strengthen the provision of quality services to communities. “In 2011, this Council adopted a turn-around strategy aimed at putting the municipality on a firm path to recovery and stability. In pursuance of the objectives of local government, it crafted and adopted the vision of the municipality as ‘The ultimate in innovation and sustainable development.’ This was further cemented by the mission statement: ‘Provision of cost effective services which promote socio-economic development, a safe and healthy environment through good governance and active community participation,” Nkadimeng said.
Nkadimeng said that Council has identified the increase of the municipal revenue base, provision of basic services, maintenance and refurbishment of infrastructure, land use management and sustainable human settlements, public transport systems, emergency, safety and security, social development, institutional development and marketing and communications as key areas to be addressed during the term of Council. “These priorities are embedded in various programmes that we undertook in the four years of this Council with great success in the fight against poverty and underdevelopment. When this Council took office in 2011 the municipality still had 18 252 households without adequate supply of water, 38 453 households without decent sanitation, 20 000 households without electricity, 4 013 km of gravel and dirt roads and this municipality was on the verge of bankruptcy. These are the challenges that this Council had to deal with over the past four years. Today as we present the 2015 State of the City account, this current council made further inroads towards addressing this backlog and currently the municipality is providing basic services to no less than 178 001 households. Out of these 171 054 households, 96% have access to water and 77 869 (43%) have access to sanitation.
In conclusion, Nkadimeng thanked all stakeholders and in particular the traditional leaders represented in the council, for giving the municipality space to work within their communities. She referred to the xenophobic attacks that occurred in other parts of the country and thanked the people of Polokwane for ensuring that the city remained incident free by embracing fellow brothers and sisters from other African countries.
A large number of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) supporters also arrived at the venue after the event had started and could not be admitted to the main hall due to lack of space. Big screens were provided in the ante-room and they could listen to the Nkadimeng’s address from there. After the event, guests were provided with lunch boxes and a special lunch at the new Peter Mokaba Stadium for invited guests.
Story: BARRY VILJOEN