Greeting to all.
It is a great honour once again to share this briefing on some few developments with you as a valued community member of Umzimkhulu and citizen of South Africa.
Yes, 2022 has been the challenging and yet hectic period to the entire communities hence it was the first festive season after the Covid-19 pandemic. Many people lost their jobs and as a result there is severe poverty that had been witness accompanied by unmeasurable frustration. We have further witnessed increasing rate of Gender Based Violence (GBV) due to this. This new normal has put us as the municipality in a situation where it has been not easy to interface with our communities but relied on other means to communicate with people.
As if that is not enough, the latest high-level rolling blackouts in South Africa are taking its toll on various fundamental sectors of the economy. Eskom announced further load shedding on the days go by. The power utility said that it is necessary to continue at stage 5 to limit the use of the emergency generation reserves. The country’s economy is facing an unprecedented scenario with load shedding not only impacting food security and mobile networks, but business sectors and industries at large.
Earlier in September, Stats SA reported that the country’s gross domestic product decreased by 0.7% in the second quarter of 2022 – much of this decline was attributed to rolling blackouts which hobbled economic output.
The Bureau of Economic Research noted this week that the current round of load shedding is likely to have a similar impact on the nation’s GDP in the third quarter. The intensity of the current power cuts threatens the GDP recovery from the 0.7% q-o-q contraction experienced in 2022 Q2. It also serves as another reminder of the urgency to fast-track increased private sector power generation, including securing funding for this. If it were not for the loadshadding, it is viewed that the country’s economy could be between 8% and 10% larger. Small businesses are usually on the municipal grid, not Eskom’s grid, so they can’t even negotiate special deals like big business can. Typically, cannot afford backup generators or the solar system installations that bigger businesses can install to mitigate the impact of power outages. With all this, we would like to plead with communities to use electricity wisely.
All the above issues are putting immense pressure on the Local Government hence all these victims reside in a local municipality. It is on that note that as leaders we understand the undesired reactions from our communities because their reactions towards any leader in influenced by series of traumatic events. The Council takes every program with diligence so that our communities can find comfort in our existence. As a municipality, we have since noted the tertiary institution registration funding one of the key motivations for our communities to witness grace at its best. We further zoom onto embracing the artistic diversity of our communities by hosting talent shows in different genres. These talent search competitions is a strategic way of instilling to our communities especially youth that they need to remain rooted in their cultural roots and to further create an enabling environment for elders to transfer skills. We had been inspired by how this program continues to produce incredible artists who continues to climb the ladder in the entertainment industry. Putting budget aside to annually host a Maskhandi Festival, Tourism Festival , Isicathamiya Competition ,Crafter/ Arts Flee Market and other tourism activities has fruitfully mapped our objectives.
As the Council, we are committed to creating an enabling environment towards our SMMEs and further capacitated them in different aspects because our convictions in that the economic future is much brighter through them. We therefore would like to encourage our communities to continuously and consistently visit our LED Office just opposite Umzimkhulu Hotel. Through our CWP Office, we are able identify beneficiaries who are into LED related activities who aspire to systematically graduate to be capacitated by LED Office for them to fully participate in economic stream. Our CWP has more than 1200 beneficiaries this therefore means that there is light at the end of the tunnel, as long as we are consistent in our approach and pace.
The factual reality is that Umzimkhulu is quite vast, infrastructure backlogs are evident even though we have impactful strategies to curb this. The disastrous whether conditions are to an extent a very sour pill to swallow but we had been mandated by you to unlock these backlogs, ours is to be creative enough to rise above all these hinderances. We are committed to increase the volume of catalystic projects that we are have in our sleeves so that the output can speak for itself. Our social partners such as Harry Gwala District Municipality , Develop Bank of South Africa, COGTA ,SALGA, Department of Agriculture , Department of Education, Department of Social Development , Department of Transport, Department of Housing – Rural Development and Land Reformed and many more has added a traceable value onto our communities.
We encourage our crucial and vulnerable communities, people with Disability to continue flying the flag through our office situated at Emakhosini Building. They do not only inspire those close to them but they also inspire us as leaders too because we get fuelled by their vigilance.
The struggle continues, I thank you.
Cllr. Jabulile Mzizi-Msiya
The Mayor of Umzimkhulu Municipality