31 August 2021
STATE OF ART BUILDING OFFICIALLY OPENED IN HONOUR OF STRUGGLE STALWART, CHARLOTTE MANNYA-MAXEKE
KwaZulu-Natal Department of Social Development is set to end paying exorbitant rentals for offices and use the money to augment service delivery.
Government has been forking out billions on renting private properties for departments and facilities.
This has made the Department to introduce a new initiative to revamp old buildings to convert them into block of offices to bring services to the people.
Today, the Department officially opened the first of its kind block of offices, which was previously used as a Provincial Government Garage to park pool vehicles.
The Department reconstructed the building, which was already occupied by the homeless people and became the nest for crime in the city.
The Department and Department of Public Works identified the building on Dr Goonam Street in 2017 for renewal and to be used by eThekwini Cluster offices.
The cluster has been paying rental for over 24 years, but this has changed as today the Department officially took over the use of the newly-named Charlotte Mannya Maxeke Building.
Addressing the official opening of new offices, Member of the Provincial Legislature, also Deputy Chairperson of Chairpersons of committees, Ms Makhosazane Zungu, who represented MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza, said the closing of Women's Month was done in a manner befitting the stature of Maxeke.
She said over the years, the eThekwini Cluster rented office spaces at Liberty Towers since 1997, while Durban Service office was paying rent for 08 years, since 2013.
"The Department has spent R113 500 000 in converting government pool vehicles garage to these magnificent offices we witnessed today. As the Department, we will be saving up to R118 768 000 in 10 years and that money will be channeled to service delivery," she said.
Zungu said the money being saved from rentals is insufficient for the development of the people, considering the demands we faced as the Department but it will be making a lot of contributions to the lives of the people.
Councillor Thanduxolo Sabelo, Chairperson of the Human Settlements and Infrastructure Committee in eThekwini Municipality, applauded the provincial government for its noble idea to stop renting, but renovated the government building to be used as offices to service the people.
"What our government has done, especially the Department of Social Development, is inspiring. If we had to be serious about delivering service to the people with little budget, we have, other Departments should follow in the footsteps of Department of Social Development," said Sabelo.
He said this ground-breaking initiative, which aims to secure at least millions of rands, will improve the lives of the people. He challenged government officials to follow in the footsteps of Maxeke when serving the people.
"We wouldn't be happy to hear that one day in that building there are officials who don't respect people. At no stage should we undermine people because they are the ones that make be employed" he said.
The Department applauded the Maxeke family for allowing the provincial government to pay such respect to her.
The granddaughter of Maxeke, Olga Mannya Sema commended the Department for preserving the legacy of the struggle icon.
"We are grateful for the respect shown to our grandmother. We hope a lot of people will learn more about our grandmother. She worked hard to being freedom for our people."
She said as the Charlotte Maxeke Institute they would only come to Durban with pride to see if the people employed and operating in the building respect Maxeke's legacy. A colourful parade with musical sounds that started at Charlotte Maxeke Building and ended at Gugu Dlamini Park brought smiles to the shoppers. Shopper lined along the road to celebrated Maxeke's life in style.
ISSUED BY THE KWAZULU-NATAL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT