The new Council was inaugurated in the eThekwini Municipality on Monday 6 June with former Speaker, Councillor James Nxumalo, sworn in as Mayor during a Council inauguration ceremony held at the City Hall.
Cllr Nomvuzo Shabalala was sworn in as Deputy Mayor whilst former Deputy Mayor Cllr Logie Naidoo took Oath as Speaker of the Municipality. Cllr Stanley Xulu was sworn in as Chief Whip. Cllr Sipho Kaunda retained his position as Chairperson of the Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC).
In honour of fallen stalwarts, before his inauguration Mayor Nxumalo led a march of all the old and new councillors down Archbishop Dennis Hurley, into Dr Yusuf Dadoo and then along Dr Pixley ka Seme Street into City Hall for the first Council meeting.
“As I walked I thought about how I would not be standing here today if it wasn’t for giants like these. They had a moral character beyond reproach. They all had a vision way beyond the life and times in which they lived and worked. But importantly, they were rooted amongst the poor and oppressed, amongst those fighting for peace and justice, and they stood for those who spoke truth to power,” said Mayor Nxumalo during his first address as Mayor.
“I count myself privileged to stand before you, as your humble servant, asking you to work with us as we show that the work of the Semes and Hurleys and Dadoos and Bikos and Albert Luthulis and Alan Patons was not in vain,” he continued.
He paid homage to Mrs Albertina Sisulu who passed away last Thursday and asked everyone to observe a moment of silence in her honour.
He went on to pay tribute to erstwhile Mayor, Obed Mlaba, and refered to him as ‘the father of the City’ and heaped praises on the work that he did for the citizens.
He went on to reassure citizens he met during the door to door campaigns before the elections that those visits and interaction were not just about electioneering, but it was about taking a mandate to continue to govern in ways that meet their expectations and create a better life for all communities.
“As we begin this term of office we will do everything in our power to meet your expectations and address your basic needs. We will build on the good work that has been achieved by the previous Council and fine tune our systems in order to speed up the provision of services for our communities,” said Nxumalo.
Nxumalo said some of the priorities for his term of office include the acceleration of service delivery, including housing, job creation and ensuring the continuation of good governance practices.
“In order to break the cycle of poverty, dependence and unemployment, therefore, we must start putting more focus on job creation. That is where I want us to focus our energy. If we can give people jobs, they get dignity, with dignity you are more productive and if people are productive many of the social problems in our society will start disappearing.”
“So I will be convening a two-day workshop in August 2011 where we will map out our strategic framework to improve the City’s economic base, provide jobs and ensure the costs of public transport, housing and basic services can be reduced'” said Nxumalo.
Nxumalo concluded by urging Councillors to ensure that communities are part of development.
“We must interact with our communities by calling regular meetings and be responsive to their needs. We must strengthen our working relationships with community structures like community policing forums and ward committees. The Municipality will ensure that ward committees are trained properly and capacitated in order to play their roles and responsibilities effectively. We will give them the necessary support so they can assist Councillors in fast tracking development in communities. Development has to be people driven,” said Nxumalo.