It’s time to celebrate, Durban

2010-01-09 00:00

ETHEKWINI city manager Michael Sutcliffe is determined to change the mindsets of people who are ne­gative about the city of Durban.

Sutcliffe told Weekend Witness his main goal for 2010 is to encou­rage citizens to be more pro-active about their city and to get them behind the World Cup, which arrives in five months.

“2010 will be a busy year for us. If we get it right, it will mean a lot to the city. Every South African needs to support the 2010 campaign if we are going to show the world what we have to offer,” he said.

Sutcliffe said citizens should complain less and rather become a part of the solution.

“Become pro-active, if you see paper on the pavement, pick it up instead of writing a letter to complain about it. Its small things like these that make a huge difference.”

Sutcliffe believes people should “own” their city by being courteous to tourists and promoting the city and the wide variety of attractions it has to offer.

“I have seen a change in the past few years and this is pleasing. People have [become] more proud of their city, and I hope that this conti­nues even when the World Cup has passed.”

Sutcliffe, who has often been cri­ticised for the street renaming in Durban, said he also wants to focus on massive projects like the Wes­tern freeway upgrade.

This will be complete by late January.

Other projects are the inner city people-mover buses, which will now operate for 18 hours a day.

He said he is particularly excited about the Moses Mabhida stadium and the people’s park that will open in February.

“We have built one of the most beautiful stadiums in the world. It’s a world-class stadium that people are very proud of. It has also helped change the mindsets of people who believed that we couldn’t complete it on time.”

Sutcliffe said more than 20 000 people have already experienced the city’s sky car, which takes people to the top of the stadium’s 106-metre arch where a breathtaking view of the city awaits them.

“We have definitely set a precedent in South Africa with a lot of new tourism products. Durban has outperformed Cape Town with our tourism figures.”

The multi-billion international airport in La Mercy is also a deve­lopment Sutcliffe is proud of.

“I have the greatest confidence that the transition from the old airport to the new one will go off smoothly. It’s not an easy feat, but it will be done,” he said.

The poor are also on Sutcliffe’s list of priorities for 2010.

“We aim to build 20 000 houses for the poor. It’s critical that we address the issue of shelter for the poor.”

On a lighter note, Sutcliffe said he pities those soothsayers who told local newspapers he would be involved in a financial scandal and eventually leave his post.

“I feel sorry for people who are so negative. All they think about is gloom and doom.

“The tragedy is that it shows us that we still live in a racially divided country,” he said.

Sutcliffe says he is here to stay.

“I’m focused on delivering a great 2010 for my city. I will conti­nue to work for this city and urge other citizens to do the same. I have travelled extensively across the world, but there is no place like Durban. I will always come back home.”

Become pro-active, if you see paper on the pavement, pick it up instead of writing a letter to complain about it. It’s small things like these that make a huge difference.

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