It’s still early days, but new City of Tshwane executive mayor Solly Msimanga appears to be pressing the right buttons – getting to the bottom of what’s ailing the capital city.
Endemic corruption, nepotism, mismanagement and wasteful expenditure are problems that have seen several municipalities crumbling to the point of being unable to deliver basic services to residents. Last week, Msimanga announced he had uncovered massive graft in Tshwane and had been given forensic reports about corruption that were “suppressed” for a long time.
This week, Msimanga announced that Tshwane officials would no longer be allowed to purchase or lease luxury cars. This was part of cost-cutting measures implemented by the executive mayor since taking office last month.
“I will not allow public money to be spent on luxury cars while our people struggle for services‚ houses and jobs. No more luxury cars will be bought or leased under my government. A Hyundai i20 or Toyota Corolla can do the same job for a politician as an expensive sedan‚” Msimanga said.
Shortly after taking office, he revealed plans to ban blue-light convoys for politicians and city officials‚ including himself. “Tshwane officials will now travel alongside ordinary citizens. They will wait in traffic and will stop at red lights‚” he said in his inaugural address last month.
Last week‚ Msimanga announced two immediate changes to cut costs: putting a stop to all inaugural parties and inaugural events with catering for Tshwane’s new executive and ending celebratory dinners and lunches that only benefit politicians.
The mayor appears to be a breath of fresh air in the capital city council which was previously run by an administration with a penchant for reckless spending from the public purse. A clear example is the failed smart electricity meters deal.
A few weeks ago, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria prevented the Tshwane metro from making a nearly R1-billion payment to the company responsible for rolling out the project in the city.
We hope Msimanga’s bold plans are not just a publicity stunt driven by political point scoring. He must now walk the talk and ensure he and his team put Tshwane on a road to recovery that benefits all its residents.