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eThekwini Municipality > City Government > Administration > Office of the City Manager > City Managers Blog > Posts > Going the extra MILE for innovation
September 26
Going the extra MILE for innovation

AT THE end of 2009 the first Institute of learning for local government practitioners driven by local government on the continent was launched by eThekwini Municipality. The Municipal Institute of Learning (Mile) aims to be at the forefront of learning and sharing of information and innovation on the continent in order to advance the development of the continent. Mile was launched out of a recognition that many innovative practices existed within the Municipality and these should be shared with others, just as eThekwini benefits from the work of others.

Mile has gone from strength to strength, assisting municipalities across the world, hosting elegations visiting our Municipality to learn from us, planning and holding Master classes for middle to senior managers on a wide range of topics, and doing whatever it can to build municipal capacity. We have much to be proud of. The 2010 and beyond eventing strategy meant that whatever we built for the Fifa World Cup was also geared to what would happen afterwards. As a result we have received awards, not only for the incredible construction and designs of the Moses Mabhida Stadium and other infrastructure, but we were the first city to host a carbon-neutral World Cup and we implemented many practices which are ensuring environmental, economic and social sustainability going forward.

Environmental innovations are found, for example, at the Green Hub, launched as a green technology demonstration building. The first green roof on a South African municipal building was launched in May 2009 as part of eThekwini Municipality's Municipal Climate Protection Programme. We have recognised the importance of food security, especially in responding to climate change, and have established an Agricultural Management Section to start tackling issues of access to food by empowering local communities in sustainable agricultural and organic practices.

Our Energy Office is the first of its kind in South Africa, tasked with project conceptualisation and implementation in all areas dealing with energy efficiency. Among many other innovations, converting methane gas at landfill sites into energy is an innovative project implemented by the Municipality to curb the effects of climate change.

In 2006 eThekwini embarked on an initiative to develop a long term plan for the city of Durban. A visionary and extensive consultative approach, including engaging school children, was used to develop a 50-year plan that prescribes actions for each sector of the population, including civil society, business, individuals and government, in achieving a truly sustainable city. Financially, innovative programmes and software has been introduced to increase procedural efficiency and customer service.

Our Quality Circles programme employs self-managed teams of operational-level staff to examine and be responsible for recommending improvements for procedures related to quality, cost, delivery, safety and morale. Our accessible, one-stop, walk-in Sizakala Centres provide places where residents are able to access various municipal services and pay municipal accounts, all at one location. These are but some of the innovative and leading practices that are currently taking place within the eThekwini Municipality by local government practitioners.

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