Not all doom for PMB

2014-09-02 00:00

WHERE to now for Msunduzi?

This is the question that former eThekwini city manager Mike Sutcliffe will be helping Maritzburgers answer in the months ahead.

Sutcliffe is leading a process supported by the South African Cities Network (SACN) — to help Msunduzi develop a long-term vision or a city development strategy.

He was at the city hall yesterday presenting the executive committee (Exco) with the first phase of the project, a status quo analysis or where the city is today. This will form the basis for discussions in formulating the city development strategy.

In the weeks ahead, Mayor Chris Ndlela and municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi will be inviting various sectors across the city to provide their views on the key strategies and action plans that should define the long-term perspectives for development within Msunduzi.

Sutcliffe’s status report found that not all is doom and gloom in the capital city but that there is an underlying vibrancy. However, the city being placed under administration created its own challenges on the way forward.

According to Sutcliffe, in finding a city development strategy for the future there is a need to take stock of the present. Some challenges cited in the report include:

• Business confidence is at an all time low.

• Msunduzi is among the 10 most populous cities in the country, and is more densely populated than some metros.

• Poverty levels remain high. An SACN report showed that Msunduzi’s average household income is among the lowest among the SACN cities.

• There are more women than men in the city, compared with the district municipality or nationally. Sutcliffe said this could be due to higher levels of migrancy, with more men having left the municipality in search of jobs.

Some positives that any future strategy can build on include:

• More people gained employment, particularly in the youth sector. The report said there is a decline in youth unemployment in the 15- to 34-year age group,which stood at 58,2% in 2001 and declined to 43,1% in 2011.

• There is a marked increase in incomes in the upper and middle income households. Sutcliffe says this could be because of increased government employment.

• The report said Msunduzi’s excellent educational facilities are reflected in the fact that it has the fifth highest proportion of people with higher education of South Africa’s large cities.

The report also scrutinises how Msunduzi Municipality has been operating and points to its shortcomings, for example, that the municipality’s service charges are some of the most expensive of the SACN.

It also looks at the strengths and weaknesses in terms of economic developments.

Sutcliffe said yesterday that the draft document will be placed on the Msunduzi website shortly.

Anyone who wants copies of the document can e-mail him at or Sue Bannister at sue@city­

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