MEDIA RELEASE: STATEMENT BY THE ACTING MAYOR OF KWADUKUZA MUNICIPALITY, CLLR. DOLLY GOVENDER, ON THE IMPACT OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND THE GRADUAL RESTORATION OF OPERATIONS

KDM has released a statement regarding COVID-19 pandemic impacts and the gradual restoration of operations. 

Greetings to the residents and stakeholders of the KwaDukuza Municipality. I address you at a time when our communities are tense, with very high levels of fear and anxiety due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

My address includes decisions that have been taken at the level of the District Command Council (DCC) and Local Command Council (LCC) concerning the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in KwaDukuza and the gradual restoration of operations in the municipality as government phases in the system of Alert Levels. The LCC is constituted by Members of the Extended Executive Committee, the Municipal Manager and Executive Directors of all Business Units. The LCC meets every Tuesday in the morning to take decisions on measures to be implemented that are aimed at containing the virus in KwaDukuza.

The meeting of the Provincial Command Council of Tuesday 5th May 2020 presided over by President Cyril Ramaphosa with Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize also in attendance, alluded to the fact that our district (iLembe) and eThekwini contributed the most cases of COVID-19 infections in KwaZulu-Natal. In the main, those infected include healthcare workers and retail employees.

We have all seen various official postings from various outlets and institutions confirming temporary closures to decontaminate various facilities where employees have been found to have tested positive for the novel COVID-19. The latest cases being the General Gizenga Mpanza Hospital and the SASKO Bakery.

As KwaDukuza Municipality we have also begun to face the reality of infections amongst our essential service workers which is a great cause for concern for both the municipality and local government sector in general which is at the forefront of providing unequivocal service delivery towards realising conducive environments where the virus is less likely to thrive.

Currently, there are 283 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the district, and KwaDukuza accounts for some 260 of these cases, the SASKO Bakery that I alluded to earlier contributed to the 26 new cases in our area. Transmissions will rise, given the brace signal we have been given by the Presidency and Ministry of Health, if we continue to live in a fiefdom where the virus does not exist or is too good to be true for us to alter life as we know it. One of the realities that we need to confront is that the virus does not move, how it spreads and the amount of devastation it is causing is determined by our very own actions.

We are also aware of the fact that this period has brought about serious hardship in some sections of our community, making it almost impossible to bear with the lockdown regulations at times. However, I want to appeal to our residents that there has never been an important time to stay at home especially with the winter season setting in much faster than anticipated, and with the high levels of movement within the municipality on daily basis.

We need to work together to contain the spread of the virus and to flatten the curve. Already there are several external and internal measures that we are or will be implementing as a municipality.

GRADUAL RESTORATION OF OPERATIONS

The current COVID-19 pandemic and national Lockdown has necessitated a revision to most of the municipality’s operational plans and how operations themselves are carried out – this is a situation facing many businesses.

As part of the Level 4 conditions, our sector has been included amongst those that shall enter the gradual restoration of operations given the nature of work we are tasked with. Our approach was guided by a robust debate to look at urgent interventions required to ensure that the KwaDukuza Municipality remains financially sustainable and it can fulfil its constitutional mandate.

External Measures:

Externally, we have taken the following decisions:

All events/activities other than funerals are still discouraged. This, therefore, means that no approval for any other nature of function will be granted under Level 4. We urge all involved in funeral planning to keep to the regulations that were pronounced by the President in the municipal cemeteries or in any other burial space. We will continue to ensure that this is adhered to by means of enforcement.

All official municipal meetings are still on hold to ensure compliance with the directive of the National Command Council.

We are pleading for cooperation from the retail sector, more particularly from the recently opened establishments to consider trading regulations sharply and doing all that is humanly possible to limit the numbers of patrons accessing them at each given time.

All municipal recreational areas and beaches remain closed. The safety of our residents and patrons remains our apex priority. We will, therefore, continue to avail hand sanitisers, masks and gloves to all frontline staff in the municipality in order to ensure safety in our essential service workers.

We will also ensure that all our customer-receiving offices are cleaned with disinfectants on a daily basis. Furthermore, we will carefully monitor offices such as licensing and finance to ensure that they do not become breeding spaces for the virus once they are opened. Basic hygiene will be encouraged at all times and we plead with all our residents to work together in this regard.

We will ensure the consistent provision of soap in our customer receiving offices and in all municipal toilets and we encourage residents to ensure that they make use of these utensils responsibly and sustainably.

We continue to encourage our patrons to pay their accounts electronically in order to minimise physical contact with others as far as possible. However, given the various challenges some of our patrons encounter when trying to make payments, the municipality’s cashiers will now be at the General Gizenga Mpanza and Nokukhanya Luthuli House buildings during official business hours and working days as from Wednesday, 13 May 2020.

Should patrons wish to acquire their statements they are encouraged to send requests by email. The emails that will be provided by our customers will be linked to those accounts and used to send statements to the patrons moving forward. These requests shall be sent to the following officials: (i) ZaneleM@kwadukuza.gov.za; (ii) SamukelisiweM@kwadukuza.gov.za; (iii) SiyabongaG@kwadukuza.gov.za; (iv) LeicheA@kwadukuza.gov.za.

Once payment has been done, consumers are urged to email their proof of payment to RameshR@kwadukuza.gov.za. Our banking details are:

ACCOUNT NAME : KWADUKUZA MUNICIPALITY

ACCOUNT NUMBER : 4087627126

BANK : ABSA CHEQUE

We will also continue to ensure that awareness materials are provided and displayed for members of the public in strategic locations within the municipal boundary advising of the necessity for adherence to the protocols and regulations set to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We will continue to support and run awareness campaigns in our social media platforms and other relevant media platforms.

Internal Measures:

Internally, we have taken the following decisions, since the declaration of Lockdown: Level 4 and looking at the effects of COVID-19 on the workforce and sustainability of the institution:

All business units will continue to use the staff initially declared to be rendering essential services. During this time the Municipality shall ensure that maximum interventions are put in place to ensure the safety of the currently working essential service employees, whilst also preparing for the return of 50% of municipality’s workforce between June-July 2020.

Between May-June 2020 business units have been granted permission to call up administrative staff to perform given responsibilities and thereafter these staff members are to go back home. Duties relate to support for those providing essential services and those who are responsible for Budget and IDP processes.

The municipality has set aside a budget for the purchasing of sanitisers, gloves, masks and soap for the frontline staff and other relevant employees as well as patron and community receiving buildings. This has been achieved through the redirecting of some funds intended for non-core service delivery items. A meeting will be held on the 04 June 2020 to deal with the Special Adjustment Budget that will speak to the aforementioned budget.

The Corporate Services Business Unit will work closely with the relevant directorates to ensure that health and safety champions and OHS inspectors continuously implement the municipality’s measures and implement awareness campaigns for all employees. Our OHS inspectors and health and safety champions are engaged with conspecific training to frontline staff and office cleaners in line with the precautionary measures issued by the Department of Health.

We will continue to suspend all non-essential meetings in order to comply with the instruction of the President. In addition to this, we will have suspended attendance to all non-critical meetings inside or outside the municipality except on exceptional circumstances and those meetings will only be approved by the Municipal Manager.

We are continuing with the suspension of all travel outside the municipality except on exceptional circumstances and those trips will only be approved by the Municipal Manager. Travelling by municipal employees will only be within municipal boundaries. We encourage our officials to utilise electronic mediums of communication and video conferencing.

Revised Draft 2020/2021 Budget and IDP Timetable:

The current COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated a revision to the Draft 2020/2021 Budget and IDP which was initially scheduled to be adopted at the Council Meeting dated 26th March 2020. We now anticipate holding our meetings electronically.

Interim Measures Introduced for Development Application Processes and Related Activities:

The municipality has put in place interim measures in order to be able to accept electronic submissions for development applications. It must be noted that whilst it is the intention to process all applications that are submitted during this period, the focus will be on high impact developments due to their socio-economic impact in the region. This is mainly informed by the limitations and constraints that the department is currently facing, some of which are being actively addressed.

Accordingly, starting from the 11 May 2020, different emails (i.e. municipal and Gmail accounts) have been created for different applications in order to simplify the submission process. Gmail accounts have been created specifically to receive bigger files as the municipal account is limited to receiving files not more than 10 megabytes. Applicants are requested to send through their applications to the following email addresses:

BUILDING PLANS/ EARLY COMMENCEMENT APPLICATIONS:

KDMplans@gmail.com (files >10mb),

KDMplans@kwadukuza.gov.za (files <10mb)

Contact person: Ms Zakithi Cele (ZakithiC@kwadukuza.gov.za)

OUTDOOR ADVERTISING:

KDMadvertising@gmail.com (files >10mb),

KDMadvertising@kwadukuza.gov.za (files <10mb)

 

Contact person: Miss Rushenka Moodley (RushenkaM@kwadukuza.gov.za)

 

SPECIAL CONSENT, ENCROACHMENTS OR RELAXATION APPLICATIONS: KDMconsent@gmail.com

KDMconsent@kwadukuza.gov.za 

Contact person: Miss Ayanda Ntshangase (AyandaN@kwadukuza.gov.za)

REZONINGS/SUBDIVISIONS/ SCHEME AMENDMENTS:

KDMspluma@gmail.com (files >10mb),

KDMspluma@kwadukuza.gov.za (files <10mb)

Contact person: Miss Tash Madyibi (TashM@kwadukuza.gov.za)

EIA/SCOPING SUBMISSIONS/ ENVIRONMENT ENQUIRIES:

KDMenviro@gmail.com (files >10mb),

KDMenviro@kwadukuza.gov.za (files <10mb)

Contact person: Miss Nokubonga Duma (NokubongaD@kwadukuza.gov.za)

MAPPING/ GIS REQUESTS OR ENQUIRIES:

KDMgis@gmail.com (files >10mb),

KDMgis@kwadukuza.gov.za (for files <10mb)

Contact person: Mr Slindelo Khanyile (SlindeloK@kwadukuza.gov.za)

GENERAL ENQUIRIES ON APPLICATIONS:

KDMapplications@gmail.com (files >10mb),

KDMapplicatioms@kwadukuza.gov.za (for files <10mb)

Contact Person: Miss Jolanda Kuzwayo (JolandaK@kwadukuza.gov.za)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are confident of the strength of our community when acting in unison and we are therefore hopeful that, moving forward, the virus will be contained and the war against it will be won. This, therefore, calls for all of us to be considerate of others. The war against COVID-19 requires that we act as individuals, knowing that our actions or inactions will affect the level and extent of the spread and devastation of this virus.

Let us not worry but work together to fight this pandemic. Remember to always wash your hands regularly. Stay at home, stay safe.

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