High-ranking politicians from all spheres of the government, traditional leaders, Buffalo City Metro residents, and other stakeholders gathered at the East London ICC to attend Buffalo City’s State of the City Address delivered by Executive Mayor Xola Pakati yesterday. Some people watched the august event through various platforms such as live streaming and the metro’s Facebook pages.
Delivering his State of the City Address, Pakatii touched on several issues including job creation, the building of RDP houses, and economic development and developmental projects that are currently underway across the Metro.
“Our theme for this year’s State of the City Address is ‘An Active Agent for Development: A City Hard at Work.’ This is a declaration of intent because we seek to be such a city. We have decided to theme it in this manner because we believe that the prosperity that we seek will be realized when we have adequately built our city into a true instrument of development for the benefit of all residents, businesses, and stakeholders,” he said.
Pakati says the municipality will work hard to ensure that the economy of the metro is fast-tracked.
“It is our view that an active agent of development is an institution characterized by high levels of integrity and an institution that the people trust. We can never fix the economic fundamentals and grow our economy sufficiently if there is no confidence in our integrity as an institution of development. We have themed this year’s State of the City in this manner, therefore, to first indicate the path that we want to take and also show the road we have traveled to build our city to its current levels. This should be understood as a consolidation of the achievements we registered in the previous term.”
He further said that the number of indigent beneficiaries in the metro has increased in the past two years due to joblessness caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“To ease the burden on indigent consumers, the basic welfare package for households that qualify in terms of our indigent policy has increased by 5.4 percent. This means that the indigent of Buffalo City will continue to have a safety net of free basic services translating in the new financial year’s basket of services from an average value of R782.26 to R824.30 per household per month. This reflects a major commitment by the municipality toward assisting the poor and vulnerable in our city. We remain unapologetically a pro-poor city, with a pro-poor budget,” said Pakati.
Pakati has urged ratepayers and business owners to pay their bills on time.
‘’For us to implement our program of development, we require residents and stakeholders to pay their accounts on time. We are going to be upscaling our revenue enhancement methods to ensure that the municipality is paid for the services that it renders, and I know that some of the methods can seem harsh. Things do not need to get to this point, and we are here today appealing to the conscience of all our consumers to pay for services. We are appealing to your inner patriotic spirit – please settle your accounts and if you cannot settle them at once, we are willing to enter a payment arrangement with you. The financial health of our municipality depends on all of us – let us all do our part.
He has vowed that the metro is forging ahead with plans of upgrading its decaying infrastructure.
“We are continuing to implement the Smart Metering Project to guarantee the integrity of our billing system and the project is progressing very well. With the implementation of smart water meters, the consumption of water is billed consistently every month based on consumer usage. Therefore, whatever the consumer has consumed will be submitted from the metering device through to the monthly billing of the account. This also assists the consumer to receive up-to-date readings from the meter,” he said.
All political parties in the council will be allowed to debate the state of the metro address.