Manzini Mayor’s 2023 New Year Address
Compliments of the New Season and Happy New Year to our residents and stakeholders!
It is a singular honour for me to make this 2023 New Year address as the Manzini City Mayor. It is our belief and hope that residents, stakeholders and city visitors had a safe and exciting cross-over to the New Year. It is worth highlighting that the end of the year 2022 coincided with coming to an end of the Council’s 5-year political term of office; which had run from 2017-2022. As a result, the national Government has commenced preparations for the urban local government elections process; which process will result in the election of new Councillors. In that regard, may I take this moment to thank our former Councillors, who have just vacated their political office, for the hard work and dedication towards growing the City of Manzini. It is our hope that the incoming Council for the period 2023-2028 will be able to take the city to greater heights in terms of development and service delivery. I would also like to extend our profound appreciation to all our stakeholders for giving us support throughout the past 5-year journey of our city development strategy. Most outstanding has been your participation in the Municipality’s decision-making processes. I vividly remember, way back in 2018, when we rolled-out a citywide stakeholder consultation process where as stakeholders, you made inputs and influenced the 2019-2024 City Integrated Development Plan (IDP).
As a municipality, we were charged with the responsibility of ensuring that your wishes and aspirations as stakeholders were accomplished through the 5-year city’s development plan as influenced by your inputs. Notwithstanding the impact of varying hindrances experienced by the city, which included but not limited to the Covid-19 virus, economic downturn, climate change and other social ills, as a Municipality we managed to deliver on our mandate of service delivery and city development. I trust that the city residents and other stakeholders are pleased to experience the good infrastructural services delivered by the Municipality despite being confronted by the above highlighted unfavourable conditions. To all stakeholders, including ratepayers, I would like to mention that the development that we are experiencing in our city requires availability of resources, mostly financial. Therefore, it remains critical that we continue supporting the Municipality in accordance with the Rating Act, 1995. If we all do so, more and more development is guaranteed. To this end, I wish to highlight some of the many milestones achieved by the Municipality in the duration of the 5-year strategy/ Integrated Development Plan (IDP) as follows;
Highlights of Achievements
- Unqualified financial Audit Reports
It pleases us as Council to mention that during the 5-year period, the Municipality has achieved five unqualified Audit Reports as audited by our external auditors from Eswatini PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC). This is a good achievement for the city and its stakeholders as it indicates that the Municipality’s financials are well managed in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).
- Turn Around Strategy Implementation
I am happy to highlight that as a Municipality, we managed to complete the development and implementation of a Turn Around Strategy (TAS) which resulted into a new agile organizational structure and service delivery model. The main objective of the TAS was to re-establish the Municipality’s business viability and sustainability for improved service delivery effectiveness and sustainable development. Our stakeholders have already begun to enjoy the benefits of turning around the Municipality as service turn around times have improved and the city’s landscape is continuously being transformed.
- Customer Relationship Management
Being a Municipality with many stakeholders, we managed to execute numerous customer relationship management and engagement initiatives which enabled our stakeholders to contribute to the development direction of the city. This was achieved through hosting two IDP stakeholder feedback meetings, five Annual General Meetings (AGMs) and five stakeholder budget submission consultation meetings. We further managed to facilitate dissemination of service delivery and developmental information through the main national newspapers, whereby 260 newspaper articles were published. This was further supported by the use of digital media platforms comprising Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn; whereby more information was shared with residents and stakeholders. This is part of the Municipality’s good governance practices of being transparent and accountable to city’s customers and shareholders.
- Construction of E94.7 Million Worth of Road Infrastructure
Through the Capital Investment Programme (CIP), we managed to facilitate the delivery of E94.7 million worth of roads infrastructure services in the various municipal wards. The capital projects included but not limited to the construction of Springle Farm Road in Ward 4, rehabilitation of Pleasing Prospect/Donegal (T-Junction) in Ward 3, rehabilitation of Southern Distributor road, Tikhuba road and Mimosa roads in Wards 11 and 10, rehabilitation of Stanley Street in Ward 4, rehabilitation of Meintjies Street (Ward 6), Mahleka Street, lower Martin Street (towards the Manzini Magistrates’ Court), Masalesikhundleni Streets (Ward 12), lower Tenbergen Street (from Satellite Bus Rank to Zakhele Remand Centre traffic lights), upper Tenbergen street (past Sydney Williams) and upper Acacia Street in Ward 10. Also constructed was the Bosco bridge, a new link infrastructure which provides an additional entry/exit point into the city centre from Ngwane Park via Springle Farm and Bosco Skills Centre. The bridge has already been opened to traffic.
- Construction and Commissioning of Autism Respite Centre
We partnered with the Republic of China in Taiwan (ROC) and the national Government to establish an Autism Respite Centre facility. This facility was established to address the need for autism therapeutic services for children living with the condition of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It pleases us to mention that this critical facility was completed and eventually launched for operationalization.
- Support for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children
In noting that our residents were grappling with various socio-economic ills, the city established eight social centres to provide meals, education and other ancillaries for orphaned and vulnerable children within the city. Throughout the 5-year period, the Municipality managed to support and look after between 1,400 and 1,500 children at the social centres. May I also extend our gratitude to the private sector entities and NGOs who partnered with us to support the future citizens of the city.
- Procurement and Installation of Waste Management Equipment
In an endeavour to improve waste management and curb littering in the city, we managed to procure a new refuse truck, skip truck, vacuum tanker and road marking equipment. This investment has improved service provision in the city in the area of domestic and bulk waste collection, liquid waste collection as well as ensuring that city roads are clearly marked in order to minimise the occurrence of traffic accidents. The Municipality further procured and repaired 15 skip bins and over 230 litter bins which were all placed at strategic points for ease of waste disposal by residents and general public.
- Review of Town Planning Scheme
Upon noting that the 5-year term of the city’s Town Planning Scheme had lapsed, we managed to commission a review of the Town Planning Scheme. This was meant to develop a new Town Planning Scheme that is responsive to contemporary human settlement demands while providing guidance to the spatial development of the city. The review process involved consultation with residents at ward level, private sector, professional structures and government agencies. We are happy that this review process is at its final stages as it is expected to play a key role in supporting the development of the city into the future.
…Manzini City 2023 and Beyond!
Having highlighted the Municipality’s past 5-year achievements, it is prudent that I briefly give a sneak preview of the city in 2023 and beyond. This is being done in cognisance of the fact that there will be an incoming Council which shall provide a full view of the city’s future direction upon assuming office. However, the development framework of the city continues to be guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the National Development Strategy (NDS) as promulgated by national Government.
- Integrated Development Plan (IDP) Review
With the understanding that the current city’s Integrated Development Plan (IDP) is running its last lap, the Municipality will be engaging in a review process; the aim being development of a new development plan. The new development plan will provide guidance to the city’s development and future strategic intent. This exercise will include community and stakeholder consultations as per the principles of participatory development planning.
- Infrastructural Services
As a city we still have 35% of our roads infrastructure being gravel while also experiencing dilapidation of existing roads infrastructure; which situation demands increased replacement capital investments. For the coming planning period, the Municipality will be looking at investing towards upgrading of the Central Business District (CBD) roads infrastructure while also attending to the gravel roads backlog; especially in the townships.
- City’s Safety and Security Services
In view of the increased development of the city, safety and security challenges experienced by our communities as well as increased vehicular volumes in the city, the Municipality will be exploring robust measures towards improved safety and security in the city. This initiative will require great collaborations from the diverse stakeholders, from the private sector and national Government.
- City’s Economic Development
In view of the fact that the city’s businesses and the economy in its entirety was negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Municipality will be implementing business support initiatives aimed at stimulating local economic growth. The Municipality is currently reviewing the Local Economic Development (LED) Strategy, with an aim to support economic recovery as well as create more economic opportunities for the business community and residents. The Municipality will also be continuing with exploration of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) concept; the aim being collaborations with the private sector and other development institutions to deliver community amenities at the local level.
- Expansion of Municipality Services
As a Municipality we have noted an increase in spatial development within and beyond the city’s boundaries. These developments have stimulated demand for municipal services to support the communities with planning services, waste and sanitation services, environmental management services, infrastructural services as well as other critical community amenities for purposes of ensuring a quality of life for citizens. The Municipality will be continuing with the consultations that had already commenced with national Government and other key stakeholders towards finding an appropriate method for expanding the municipal services to neighbouring human settlements.
…MUNICIPALITY WISHES ALL CITIZENS, STAKEHOLDERS PROSPEROUS 2023
On behalf of the Municipal Council of Manzini, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all citizens of the city, including ratepayers, the business sector and all other stakeholders, a prosperous Year 2023. We truly appreciate the support received from all our stakeholders during the year 2022. As a Municipality we remain committed to serving our citizens, inspired by Goal 11 of the United Sustainable Development Goals, national Government Policies as well as urban local government legal framework. We also continue to drive our strategies towards attainment of our vision of being “A vibrant African city that innovatively provides quality service and economic opportunities to its stakeholders”. As Council we encourage citizens to continue engaging with us even this year through our various customer feedback platforms, including our 27/7 Call Centre (800 2004/2505 7000), WhatsApp (7808 2333/7908 2333), Social media (Municipal Council of Manzini), email (email@example.com), website (www.mzcitycouncil.sz) or by telephone (2508 5000).
…PLEASE NOTE: Changes in Frequency of Manzini News Articles
Citizens of Manzini, other stakeholders and all readers of the weekly Manzini News article are notified that the Municipality has taken a conscious decision to scale down the frequency of publishing the advertorial. With effect from January 2023, the article, which will have improved features, will now be published bi-weekly (that is; fortnightly). The Municipality will, instead, increase its presence on social media and other mass media platforms. The day of publication of the article will remain Wednesday; on both the Eswatini Observer and Times of Eswatini. Any inconvenience that may be caused by these changes is regretted.