Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba’s acceptance speech in the council chambers yesterday was crudely interrupted when a group of Democratic Alliance supporters demanded to be paid for canvassing for the party ahead of the August 3 elections.
When the group attempted to storm the chamber, the Economic Freedom Fighters proposed an adjournment so that Mashaba could receive their memorandum. Outside the chambers, the group went berserk when Mashaba told them to come to his office today.
They shouted: “No, no. Pay the money. We worked for you…just pay us and leave us in peace.” The adjournment dragged on for more than 20 minutes as other DA leaders got involved, trying to get the group to leave – with the EFF councillors singing struggle songs in support of the group.
When they refused to leave, the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) officers had to use tear gas to disperse them. One of the group members, Itumeleng Sekao, said they campaigned for the DA from May to August 3. “We were supposed to be paid R650 per week,” said Sekao.
“Mashaba knows us. We campaigned with him at the robots and did door-to-door with campaigns.”
After resuming his speech, Mashaba had some good news for road users in the city. He announced that there would be no cooperation between JMPD and and the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) on the controversial e-tolling system.
“I have received a commitment from the JMPD there will be no harassment of our motorists about outstanding e-toll payments,” he said.
Mashaba reiterated his war on tender corruption, saying he intends to break large tenders into smaller pieces. “No longer will there be middlemen receiving tenders with their sole responsibility being to sub-tender to smaller parties. I also intend seeing the tender adjudication process being opened to the public and the media so as to prevent wrongdoing.”
In a clear rebuke of the ANC, Mashaba said the time of residents staring at expensive billboards or listening to radio adverts about a “world-class African city” while they do not have basic services has come to an end.
However, Mashaba admitted that it was going to take time to correct the many years of mismanagement and decay that has resulted in the failures of the city.
Mashaba also blasted the past administration, accusing it of the blatant abuse of residents’ money on excessive advertising, lavish parties and self-serving promotion.