The eZasegagasini Metro is a newspaper put together and distributed by the city and functions as the voice of the city authorities. The latest issue came my way as a supplement with the Mercury of 13 September 2008. A couple of interesting snippets:
- >>Deputy mayor Logie Naidoo is reported as defending his decision to give an R11-million loan to the Remant Alton bus company [see here and here]. Naidoo, as acting Mayor, approved the loan under the Rule of Order 18, which allows the mayor to approve matters of extreme urgency without reference to the city’s executiove committee. Oppositions councillors were up in arms and called for an audit of Remant Alton. Deputy Head of Public Transport Erik Moller said the city would not terminate Remant Alton’s contract. He apparently said that the company wasn’t getting away with murder [as it might perhaps appear to the uninitiated –Allan).
- >>Street renaming of 99 streets is to go ahead regardless of all opposition and the first of the new street signs could be up as early as next week. Siyabonga Mngadi, deputy head of Corporate Geographic Information Systems, said a contractor has been appointed and the process should be complete in a couple of months.
- >>Thanks heavens, but at least there was some good news in the paper. It was reported that renovations are underway on the city hall. The rather wonderful building, which resembles the Belfast City Hall and was starting to look a bit sad, is to be refurbished in a R43-million project. The restoration plan was developed in 2001 by Paul Rappaport, an Australian** expert in sandstone restoration. The restoration was to have begun right away but there was difficulty in getting matching sandstone. Work is underway on the north facade, which should be complete on 2 November this year. Next will be the west facade which should complete in July 2009, the south facade in February 2010, and the east in August 2008.
- >>Looks like we’ve got a new sister city. Top brass from New Orleans in the US visited last week and a memorandum was signed (on June 10) as the culmination of four years of talks. The New Orleans delegation was led by Mayor RC Nagin and Durban was represented by Mayor Obed Mlaba.
**In one of the coincidences which are the breath of life to me, the city hall was built by the firm of Cornelius and Hollis and completed in 1910. William Cornelius was also from Australia and had arrived in Durban in 1895 after the Land Bank crash. He set up as a building contractor in premises in Stanger Street. There are many references to Hollis, Cornelius and the City Hall on the main FAD site, which you can find using the search function.