Talking Point 1.12.2016 04:20 pm

There was ‘outright, shameless, looting’ in Joburg

City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba during an interview at his office on September 07, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. As the newly elected mayor, Mashaba says he will end corruption and also ensure that all citizens of the city have adequate services. Pictures: Gallo Images

City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba during an interview at his office on September 07, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. As the newly elected mayor, Mashaba says he will end corruption and also ensure that all citizens of the city have adequate services. Pictures: Gallo Images

Read Mayor Herman Mashaba’s 100 days progress report. ‘Never again will the residents of this City be abused by their government’.

On the 3rd of August 2016, the voters of Johannesburg unseated one government and elected another. This is a great achievement in our young democracy.

For the first time in the democratic history of Johannesburg, there has been a transfer of power. And that power is back with our residents.

Never again will the residents of this City be abused by their government. Now, for the first time, the power has been transferred from government to the people of the City.

Our residents have elected a government with many different political parties. This will bring a diversity of solutions to our many problems, I welcome this.

A lot of people focus on the so called instability of a coalition government. I think they are missing the most important point about this coalition.

The fact that our government is required to engage and collaborate with different parties to find solutions to our many challenges, is proving to make our government stronger.

This is what the voters wanted.

 

….

At the very heart of our new administration at the DNA of our approach going forward is the demand for change.

This voice has grown from a quiet whisper of a few, to the loud shout of the many in our City after years of arrogant indifference exhibited by previous administrations.

This loud shout for change, can be heard ringing across Johannesburg from Alexandra to Roodepoort, from Soweto to Midrand.

Behind these shouts are people who believe in the potential of a City that could be great, but they want a government who can lead this City to greatness.

They want a government that will lead the way, which will clear the path of obstacles and will deliver the change that stimulates job creation, fast-tracks service delivery and stops corruption.

But they want change to be delivered now, they don’t want it tomorrow, they don’t want it the day after that.

Inherited issues

Since I have come into office on the 23rd of August 2016, 100 days ago, I have come to learn that the City is not what I thought it was during my election campaign.

It is far far worse than I had thought.

It is important that I take the residents into my confidence now to explain what the true state of the City is that we have inherited.

It is important because our residents need to know the truth that was kept from them by previous administrations.

It is important because our residents must understand the proverbial mountain that we have to climb to turn this City around.

I am in the unfortunate position of inheriting a Budget and an Integrated Development Plan that was passed by the previous administration, just 2 months before voters demanded change.

As a result, our administration has to operate off a Budget and IDP that represents the kind of ‘business as usual’ that voters rejected in the elections.

We have to operate with this Budget and IDP for the remaining 10 months of the financial year. I do not think the drafters of legislation ever considered such a situation. But we, face this situation now.

The local government space is highly regulated. As a new administration we cannot walk in and stop expenditure that is committed to.

This would be deemed by the Auditor General as being fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

As a new administration, we cannot make amendments to the budget until the end of February 2017 when the Auditor General permits adjustments to our budget, providing they are not substantial.

But our residents demand substantial change, and they want it now.

We have inherited an Integrated Development Plan where hundreds of millions of Rand are committed to vanity projects that look great on a billboard above the slogan “World Class African City.”

But they do not improve anybody’s lives, and especially not the lives of the poor residents of our City.

The previous administration would spend YOUR money advertising that it planned to spend R100 billion on capital expenditure in the City over the next ten years.

What they did not tell you on those radio adverts and billboards, is that long-term neglect has produced a 10 year, R170 billion funding gap on capital infrastructure.

The City stands at 42% of the debt to revenue ratio that National Treasury limits to 45% as a debt ceiling. Our ability to borrow further is highly limited.

We have a City with 881 000 unemployed people, with an unemployment rate standing at over 30%. The youth of our City being the greatest causalities of this crisis.

The ranks of the unemployed swelled by 190 000 people over the past 5 years of the previous administration.

We have an economy in our City that is stagnant, with growth of around 2%.

You do not have to be a chief economist to know that with 2% economic growth, you cannot reverse unemployment.

We have a housing backlog of over 300 000, and an average delivery of only 3500 housing units being constructed per year. At the present pace, and forgetting migration into our City every year, it would take a century to resolve this backlog.

There are over 180 informal settlements in our City, with more than half of these with no basic services at all. At these sites, our people are subjected to the most desperate conditions where there is no dignity. These people are the most vulnerable in our society, as we have witnessed in the recent floods in Alexandra.

I ask you to picture the image of the Chauke Family having to climb a tree to escape the flood water. Having to witness their 3 year old daughter, Everite, fall into the water to be swept away.

During the campaign I was constantly challenged to produce evidence of the corruption that I spoke of taking place. Since taking office, we have been inundated daily with cases of corruption, nepotism and fraud. It has gotten to the point where we could not investigate as quickly as the cases were rolling in.

I have reports that range from City officials in Revenue who have collaborated with people to reduce their property valuations to reports where debt write-offs have been pursued on the sidelines.

Corruption is not a strong enough term for what was taking place in the City.

It was outright, shameless, looting.

There is an expression that says “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil was that good men should do nothing.” There has been too much of this within the City.

Another trend that has disturbed me, is the extent to which the City has institutionalised denialism.

I sit in meetings where the official performance reports of the City read that the City has become a safer place for our residents.

I have to ask these people if they live in the same City that I live in. Because no resident would agree with such a pronouncement.

Our JMPD is a shadow of what it needs to become. According to a two year old report, our JMPD is short of 1500 officers, these are the men and women meant to be on the streets protecting our residents.

Lawlessness has become the order of the day in many parts of our City. By-laws have not become worth the paper that they are printed on.

The Joburg Inner City is one of the greatest tragedies that we have inherited.

The potential of our Inner City has been held back by allowing years of lawlessness, crime, grime and abandoned buildings going unattended to. Previous administrations have allowed our Inner City to be taken over by criminal elements, drug dealers and slum lords.

We have over 115 000 people illegally occupying buildings in our Inner City, most of whom are living in the most appalling conditions.

Some so-called Human Rights lawyers have used the courts to keep these people under these conditions to the benefit of the slumlords.

To remove these people, the courts have determined that they must be provided emergency housing for an unspecified period of time within 5kms of the building they reside in illegally.

What does this say to the people who have patiently waited on our housing lists since 1996? Occupy these buildings illegally and you can jump the queue?

How is that fair?

The previous administration, whose budget we have inherited, were obsessed with the City’s international image.

This City spent hundreds of millions of Rand promoting an artificial image of the City that not even their strongest supporters actually believed.

R153 million spent in 2 years on self-promoting advertising, R193 million spent in 3 years on travel.

These are the symptoms of an administration that was out of touch with the needs of its own people.

The essence of the problem, was a City that was trying to run when it never walked.

It would spend R153 million on Mushroom Farms and Solar Powered Bakeries but not address the most fundamental service delivery challenges.

It would waste time on executive committees of international bodies around the world while failing to address robot outages, billing problems, infrastructure backlogs, repairs and maintenance for its own people.

It would merrily spend R340 million on a state of the art council chamber when it could not electrify informal settlements, issue title deeds, or lift a finger to combat the rampant drug trade in our City.

Local government must be about the achievement of a service and economic environment that achieves prosperity for all.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the list goes on and on, and on.

I share all of this with you, not to create a sense of doom and gloom. I share it with you because we need to have a collective understanding of the mountain we have to climb in our City.

It will not be easy, it will be hard. It will not be quick, it will take time. It will not always be popular. But greatness has never been achieved easily. It has never been achieved quickly. And it has never been popular to everyone. I stand before you today to say to every resident of this City

Please join me.

Because we need the support of all the residents of this City. We need the help of the resident who sees criminal activity happening. We need the help of the resident who can become the employer of our people. We need the help of the resident who is not paying their rates and taxes. We need the help of the developers, investors and businesses to grow this economy. We need the help of the resident who is inclined to dump illegally.

But our residents need help too.

Our residents need the support of their government. They need a government that listens more than it talks. They need a government that delivers better services. They need a government that fights corruption. And they need a government that achieves the conditions for economic growth that creates jobs for our people. Most of all they need a government that they can trust and believe in, to lead the huge potential of this great City in a way that makes people proud to be Johannesburgers.

Goals

I am pleased to stand before you today to tell you that this new administration will be that government for the people of Johannesburg.

We are going to return to the real work of local government, we are going to cut out the vanity projects and we are going to focus on getting the basics right.

It is now time for this government to learn how to walk properly before it tries to run.

10 Point Plan

When I took office, I met with the senior administration and the political leadership of the City and we devised what today is known as the 10 Point Plan.

These priorities spoke to the immediate work of a government constrained by an IDP and a budget that we had no say in creating.

They all focus on our drive to get the basics right.

I am pleased to report to you where we stand on these matters today:

  • The 1st part of the plan is to ensure that the entire City adjust its mindset to the environment of a new coalition government.

Every employee of this City has to understand that voters have demanded change, and they require us to deliver that change, together with 7 other political parties.

I am pleased to see the progress we are making in developing this understanding in the administration of the City.

  • The 2nd part of the plan is to run a responsive and pro-poor government. This City must and will listen to its people, and deal with them in a manner that is caring.

When we determine our budget of the 2017/2018 financial year, it will focus on the most deprived in our City.

  • The 3rd part of the plan is to grow the Johannesburg economy to a minimum of 5% economic growth.

We cannot reverse unemployment with anything less than this. It is an ambitious target but it is what we require to bring this City’s unemployment down.

  • The 4th part of the plan is to create a professional civil service. The 33 000 employees of the City must be aligned to the outcomes of our service and economic delivery agenda.

I have announced a ‘Service with Pride’ campaign within the City, to orientate City employees to the idea that civil service is a passion, it is a calling and it is something that must be centered around people.

When our residents engage with our civil servants they must feel that they have been dealt with professionally and in a caring manner.

Already we have initiated a skills audit to ensure that every manager in this City is in their position because of WHAT they know, and not who they know.

  • The 5th part of the plan is to declare corruption public enemy number one.

I have already announced the appointment of Gen Shadrack Sibiya to head our new internal investigations unit in the City.

Gen Sibiya is not a politician and must not answer to me. He is a professional investigator with a track record of operating without fear or favour.

At the announcement of his appointment, I invited him to investigate me or any member of my government whenever he deems necessary.

My directive has been that past cases need to be re-investigated to ensure findings were correct and recommendations were carried out.

I have asked that tenders be reviewed with particular focus on ensuring that we discover any tender that has been awarded to City employees, councillors or their families.

I have noticed an alarming trend in the City where certain companies receive tenders only to immediately sub-contract to other companies. This is an easy way to hide the involvement of families and employees.

But most of all, I have instructed that we hunt down corruption, where previously it had been allowed to flourish in the dark corners of the City.

It has to be exposed, and wrong-doers must be dismissed, funds reclaimed and people must be sent to jail.

We will have to rely on the Department of Public Prosecutions and SAPS in order for our investigations to achieve the arrests and convictions they require.

As a City we will engage with these critical institutions, and hold them accountable if the results are not achieved.

Already, I have met with the Auditor General to discuss the audit findings of the City for the 2015/16 financial year.

I presented to him a series of forensic investigations that are being finalised, that are substantial in nature.

It was conveyed to me that this was the first time that the City had played open cards with the Auditor General in this fashion.

  • The 6th part of the plan is to produce a list of all semi-completed housing units within the City that require work in order for our people to take occupation of these units.

This week I will unveil the City’s plan to take over the completion of over 3000 housing units.

We have approached the Provincial Government for funding so that the City can take over the completion of unfinished provincial housing projects.

City Power has initiated the process of electrifying these units to ensure that their hand over to assigned beneficiaries can be fast-tracked.

  • The 7th part of the plan is to produce an official housing list, open and transparent, available to residents in government offices and on the City’s website.

This is to ensure that we achieve the transparency that has been missing in our housing process, that has left communities frustrated and fearing the worst from their City.

We cannot ask people, many of whom have been on housing lists for 20 years, to be patient with the slow rollout of housing in our City, while the housing list remains in a shadow of doubt and suspicion.

Today I am pleased to announce, for the first time in the history of Johannesburg, a housing list has been completed.

I am in possession of the housing list which bares the details of 79 000 people who have registered for housing dating back to 1996.

We are currently initiating the processes that will provide an audit of the housing list, so that its integrity is beyond question.

In the very near future I will be unveiling the mechanisms that the City will roll out to ensure applicants can know where they are positioned on the housing list.

They will know that nobody is being put ahead of them on the list because they are family or friends of people in power.

Our City faces a severe challenge of illegal land occupation. This challenge will only get worse when the landless and homeless of our City feel that housing progress is never going to benefit them.

The answer to our challenges cannot be the illegal occupation of our land in our City. It leaves people living on un-serviced land, and often in a manner where the City cannot Remove Waste and reach people with Emergency Services.

Part of our housing plan must be the recognition that the backlog cannot be addressed in the short-term.

We therefore need to move towards servicing land and moving people into these areas.

At least we can achieve something for these people. They can live on land with water, electricity and sewerage services and the City can look after these communities.

  • Our eighth part of the plan is to fast-track the delivery of title deeds to the beneficiaries of the City’s housing projects.

In 2013 not a single title deed was handed out to beneficiaries in Johannesburg.

Within a week of our new administration we had 2000 title deeds ready for processing and the process of distribution commenced immediately.

A title deed is more important that most people can actually ever understand.

It is a right to a property, it is a means to security and it is a safety net for the poorest in our communities.

It empowers our residents and provides them with independence. In so doing, it restores their dignity and provides them with an asset that they can hand over to their children.

I have been involved in a number of these distributions and I was touched by the stories of suffering behind these title deeds.

Some of our residents who received their title deeds had been waiting for over 40 years and had given up hope of ever receiving them.

Some of these people made over 100 trips to the Housing Department over decades, hoping for any news. They had given up hope.

  • The 9th part of the plan is initiating a pilot project for a clinic to operate for extended hours.

Clinics currently operate from 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. This is wholly inadequate to deal with the serious health problems facing our communities.

The purpose of this pilot project is to assess the value of after-hours services in clinics, reduce the pressure during ordinary operating hours and to provide primary health services to residents so that they do not have to take time off work.

On the 31st of October 2016, together with the MMC for Health and Social Development, I launched this pilot project at the Princess Clinic in Roodepoort.

I had visited this clinic during my campaign and was deeply moved by the plight of residents lining up in queues at 3am in the morning.

The staff were completely over-worked and under capacitated.

Today I am pleased to tell you that this clinic now operates from 7am to 10pm, Monday to Friday, and is also open on Saturdays from 7am to 1pm.

All of the preliminary reports that I have seen, indicate that this pilot project is WORKING.

The daily load is being reduced, and people can go to work and still get to the clinic on time.

Once we have a final assessment of the pilot project, we will consider rolling it out to other clinics in the City.

  • The final plan is to revitalise the Inner City of Johannesburg.

130 years ago Johannesburg was born from the discovery of gold.

130 years later, we are sitting on a different type of gold mine, one with the potential of creating golden opportunities for our people.

By world standards, the infrastructure of our Inner City is young. It has the ability to produce a vibrant socio-economic mix of high-rise, low cost and affordable housing for our people.

It has the ability to provide low rent office space to start-up companies and young professionals unable to afford the rent of the Sandtons and Rosebanks of this City.

It has the potential to address the spatial inequality that has resulted in many poor people spending more than half of their household income on transport.

It can be a place of home, work and play that becomes the thriving and inclusive heartbeat of our City.

It can become a model for a modern, post-Apartheid, South African City.

I have been deeply invested in this plan since I have taken office. I have met with investors and developers in the Inner City.

I have found them dedicated and passionate, but left without support from the previous administration.

I have met investors with billions invested in the City, and with the potential to invest billions more who have to go to court just to get an electricity bill from the City.

These are the people with the balance sheets that can turn this City into a construction site within a matter of months.

They just need a government who can clean up the City and get the basics right.

They need a JMPD that can make it safer and enforce the by-laws.

They need a City that stops putting obstacles in their way, and rather open the doors to investment.

We are going to be that government. We are going to be the government that unlocks the door to the potential that our Inner City holds for our people.

Private sector needed

The balance sheet of our City is inadequate to do this alone. With only R10 billion set aside annually for Capital Expenditure, and a R170 billion funding gap for capital infrastructure over the next 10 years, we need to work with the private sector.

The private sector can easily pour R20 billion each year into our Inner City and turn it into a construction site within a matter of months.

They have the balance sheets, the expertise and the experience to do this.

They can provide world class rental accommodation to what has become the ‘Missing-Middle’ of the housing backlog. I refer to people earning between R3000 and R8 000 per month.

Many of these people reside in backyard dwellings in our townships and informal settlements because they do not qualify for RDP housing, nor can they afford a bond.

St Mary’s Cathedral

I was touched recently by an engagement I had with the Reverend Xolani Dlwathi, the Dean of Johannesburg and Rector of St Mary’s Cathedral.

Some of you may know this Cathedral because it was the Cathedral where Arch Bishop Desmund Tutu was appointed as the first black Dean in the Anglican Church in 1975.

This Cathedral has fallen to ruin. It has an illegal shebeen operating across the road where patrons urinate against the Cathedral.

It has a rubbish SKIP placed just outside its doors where rubbish overflows onto the pavement. Church-goers are frequently harassed by criminals

This is the Cathedral of Archbishop Desmund Tutu. It is a historical site in the history of our Country. And this is how the City has cared for it.

I am pleased to tell you that this situation has started to be turned around. Pikitup has removed the rubbish SKIP and placed it further away. An additional service of Pikitup has been commissioned for early on a Sunday morning to clean-up.

Work is being commissioned to investigate the options of limiting traffic in the street, and JMPD has increased its visibility in the area. And we have begun working with the Provincial Government to address the incorrectly issued liquor license to the shebeen.

I have received reports from Reverend Dlwathi, who is here today, that things have improved substantially and I am pleased to hear that we are making an impact.

This particular project of restoring the St Mary’s Cathedral, I would like the City to dedicate to Arch Bishop Tutu.

Achievements

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Within the first 100 days our new administration has already begun the process of getting the basics right, to turn this City around. We have achieved a number of successes in the first 100 days, and I am delighted to see the real progress we have made with our Ten Point Plan. There are of course a number of other achievements of the new administration in our City and I wish to share a few of these with you.

Within the first week, I announced the appointment of my team of MMCs. This team is diverse, qualified and experienced. They have already proven themselves as the right people to take their departments forward.

We have appointed a new City Manager, Dr Ndivho Lukhwareni, who joins us here today on his first official day on the job. He is highly experienced and qualified. He understands the vision for change that we are articulating in the City. Dr Lukhwareni, I look forward to working with you on this journey.

At our next council meeting in December, Council will vote on an amendment to the Supply Chain Management Policy that will start the very first open tender system in the City of Johannesburg.

For too long, these processes have operated behind closed doors and away from public scrutiny. From now on they will take place in rooms open to the public, to the media and to all interested parties.

We are also initiating a process of reviewing this policy with the intention of ensuring that tenders are broken down into smaller parts in order for small businesses to benefit.

In revenue, the City has begun to implement a program to address the challenges we have inherited.

First and foremost, by the end of December, we will have concluded a diagnostic exercise focusing on 4 elements of our billing system.

We have received offers from key stakeholders to assist in this process and we will work with them to analyse the errors in our systems and find lasting solutions.

The first is the review of the indigents list, and the system that ensures the poorest in our City receive free basic services without charge. Every month they will receive 50 kilowatt hours of electricity, 6 kiloliters of water, free sewerage and refuse removal services.

We will ensure that everyone on that list is unable to pay for services. And we will ensure that everyone unable to pay for services IS on that list.

The second is to ensure that our property valuation process is improved.

In the last property valuation process the City had to file 60 000 objections against its own service provider. This cannot happen again, because those who are over-valued object and many who are under-valued remain quiet.

The third is the improvement of our revenue collection. Our reality is that we have to collect more revenue.

With the City close to its debt ceiling, we need to improve our collections in order to bring in more revenue to fast-track service delivery. We have received promising reports from experts who believe the City can bring in substantially more.

The property valuation roll of 2013, produced in 2013, has a significant number of under-valuations. It is estimated that by correcting this, the City could bring in as much as an additional R1 billion in revenue.

The tragedy is that we are talking about the wealthiest 0.5% of the roll benefitting from under-valuations, and effectively being subsidized by the average residents of our City. This cannot continue in a City that is committed to be a pro-poor government. A City that is pro-poor would collect this revenue and spend it on service delivery for the poor.

Already I am pleased to report to you that revenue collection rates have increased from 90% to 98% in our short period in office. Our challenge now, is to maintain this.

The final leg of this process is to improve our systems that resolve billing queries.

Our residents go through hell and back to resolve their issues and this administration will be more caring and responsive than it has been historically. Many groups have offered their intellectual support in this process to analyse our systems for issuing bills.

We will set stronger service level agreements in terms of meter reading to prevent long-term estimations and we will live up to these standards. Once the diagnostic exercise has been completed we will call together stakeholders across the City to present and engage on our plans in early 2017.

I would like to thank our residents for their patience and assure them, that HELP is on the way.

I spoke earlier of our target to attain a minimum of 5% economic growth and to reduce unemployment in our City to under 20% by 2021. My team has begun work on constructing a plan to achieve this. Our plan, while under development, will contain particular focus points.

We will regard the Inner City rejuvenation as a key priority because it has the ability to kick-start our economic growth.

It will employ thousands of people, train artisans, lay billions of Rand of infrastructure and create the high-density, urban-environment required for accelerated investment.

It will send a message to the local and international business community, a message they have been waiting for, that Johannesburg is finally open for business.

We have already doubled the cleaning shifts of Pikitup in the Inner City, including a night shift to serve the businesses operating at night.

JMPD have invested a massive presence in the Inner City to manage traffic flows, enforce by-laws and provide visible policing.

I will be assembling a team of Human-Rights Lawyers to assist us to reclaim the Inner City from criminals and slum-lords.

I am not going to stand by and allow criminal elements to control progress in the Inner City.

SMEs

My focus will be on small and medium sized businesses.

I will not engage in the speculative investing witnessed under the previous administrations but rather focus on existing businesses that have demonstrated resilience under trying circumstances.

We will provide the support they need to expand into larger businesses that employ more people.

As of 21 November 2016 we have established 7 SME Hubs throughout the City. Our plans are to expand this to 12 Hubs over the next year.

These are spaces set up where SMEs are able to access office space, make use of Wifi services, receive assistance from SARS, access business advice and funding, receive training and get assistance with their application processes.

Since 25 August 2016, the City has provided support to 2895 SMEs, which is a 1000 more than was achieved in the preceding 3 months.

An investment fast-track team is being established, involving key individuals within the City to ensure higher standards are met.

20 service standards, critical to investor confidence, will be measured on an ongoing basis to make Johannesburg a more competitive investment environment.

These standards relate to the speed of everything from building plan approvals to rezoning applications, and instillations of new meters to clearance certificates.

We have initiated a review of all by-laws in the City, with a focus on those by-laws that are involved in the decision making processes pertaining to economic development.

We will be throwing open our doors to make Johannesburg an easier and more attractive destination to do business.

We will be aggressively expanding the rollout of our free Wifi network across the City. Every study on the subject demonstrates the economic gains that can be achieved by broadening access to Wifi services.

Work has begun in re-positioning Johannesburg’s image as a tourism destination. We will focus on our position as the gateway for visitors in Africa, and work to develop strategies in key defined tourism markets.

Drugs

Our City has enormous potential in under-realised tourism markets such as business, shopping and historical heritage tourism.

Last week, we unveiled a specialised K9 Drug Unit within the JMPD. This unit will consist of the very best the JMPD has to offer the City. It will operate on the basis of intelligence-lead policing and will make use of an extensive network of informants. An additional 19 dogs have also been purchased for this unit and are currently undergoing training.

Already, I am pleased to tell you that this unit has achieved 2 MAJOR drug busts including the arrest of a Tanzanian foreign national. This foreign national is believed to be the biggest dealer of Dagga in Braamfontein and was arrested with 64kgof Dagga – worth an estimated street value of R1.2 million. We will be hard on drug traffickers and dealers but care for the victims of this trade with our treatment programmes.

By-law enforcement

Our JMPD are engaged in an extensive programme of by-law enforcement across the City, because a City that does not maintain the rule of law will degenerate into the crime and grime witnessed in our Inner City today.

We will be establishing dedicated municipal courts, through a funding arrangement with the Department of Justice. This will serve to ensure that by-law enforcement does not fall apart due to an overburdened judicial system.

These dedicated courts will serve to ensure that by-law infringers are dealt with speedily.

They must be required to appear in court before a Magistrate and answer for breaching our by-laws.

We WILL restore the value of by-laws in our City.

Education

Yesterday, I launched the City’s Early Childhood Development Programme. Studies show that these early years of development are critical in preparing our children for school.

It is also the only element of education that remains a function of local government. It is for this reason that we will be expanding this programme. The programme will entail centres in more than 60 of the most underprivileged wards in the City.

It involves an extensive public, private partnership with the Hollard Foundation that will provide 400 facilities and 734 qualified ECD practitioners to provide early learning to our children in these areas by June 2017.

I grew up in desperate poverty and there is nothing that I am more passionate about than the idea of education being a pathway to a better life and individual freedom. Indeed, education holds the key to real and lasting transformation in our City and country.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Beyond what we have achieved, it is important that our residents know WHERE WE are going as a new administration.

The fundamental approach of this government is going to be about a long-term focus on our socio-economic challenges.

We have to adjust our approach to focus on growing the economy in such a way that we can sustainably address the high unemployment in our City.

Because people who are employed are able to improve their own lives far more effectively than the government has ever proven itself able of achieving.

Because someone with decent employment will have a better home than one produced by government for them.

Because someone with decent employment will be able to afford medical aid and reduce the pressure on our public hospitals and clinics.

Because someone with decent employment will pay rates and taxes that allows us to help the most vulnerable in our City more than we can do right now.

Employment is the great liberator of our people out of poverty. But this does not mean we will not continue to look after the poorest in our City

We absolutely will protect them and focus delivery into these communities.

We will incentivise businesses to establish themselves in close proximity to our townships so that employment opportunities can be obtained.

But I maintain that government’s role is to help people up and not to hold them down in a cycle of dependency. Our aim must be to provide a hand up, and not an eternal hand out.

Getting our City working again requires a different approach to our finances. This City has to change its approach to budgeting.

It cannot continue, that it is only the crumbs that fall off the table of government that are dedicated to service delivery.

Service delivery cannot be an afterthought once we have budgeted enough for luxuries, nice-to-haves and non-essentials.

In the budget process going forward, I am going to make sure that funding is prioritised towards the basics of service delivery.

It will be seen in the reduction of traffic light down-time.

It will be seen in the re-surfacing of our roads.

It will be seen in the building of housing projects.

It will be seen in a City that is clean and tidy.

It will be seen in the provision of water and electricity.

It will be felt in the increased presence of more JMPD Officers on our streets.

It will be seen in the upgrading of our informal settlements.

It will be seen across our City.

We have big plans to fundamentally review our service delivery model in Joburg. I am tabling a motion before Council in December to absorb all City Entities.

These Entities operate under the Company’s Act independently of the City, and senior executives report to a board of directors.

This cannot be allowed to continue going forward. With Council’s support, we will absorb these City Entities and ensure that they are 100% accountable to the City.

I plan to decentralise the rollout of service delivery into our regions.

The City has 7 regions which possess limited powers, often suffering from either a duplication of efforts, or gaps into which service delivery priorities fall unattended.

All the research in the field of service delivery demonstrates that decentralised models work better.

In this respect, we will be structuring and empowering our regional structures to become the service of our City.

We need a fundamental change to our housing backlog. Our policy cannot be to address a housing backlog of 300 000, by delivering 3500 housing units per year.

At the same-time, the City does not have the balance sheet to address the problem with RDP housing alone.

It is for this reason that I am going to initiate a review of our strategy.

I see no reason why we cannot free up the private sector to build massive rental accommodation in the City. This would address a substantial part of the housing list, the ‘Missing-Middle’ who can afford low-cost rental accommodation.

I see no reason why we cannot service vacant land in the City so that water, electricity and sewerage services are provided. We can then work to move people residing on unserviced land into these areas so that at least they have access to these services.

I see no reason why we cannot assist people in building their own houses.

These are all elements that I will be considering in this review process, because we need a different approach to what has failed our housing backlog.

Water

We have inherited a water crisis in our City.

Now, while the drought is beyond our control, the serious neglect and failure over decades to maintain our water infrastructure has made matters worse.

Our City loses approximately 40% of its water through leaks and bursts in its aged infrastructure and illegal connections. In 2015 it was reported that R850 million of water was lost to leaks.

You can only imagine how this represents a major challenge to a large metropolitan city when our dams hover at around 30% capacity. We have been able to manage the water crisis, without widespread cuts in water services being implemented as seen in some other municipalities.

It is important for our residents to understand that if a reservoir runs dry, it would take 2 weeks to supply water to the surrounding areas again. However, where necessary, we have implemented water cuts at night so as to avoid domestic and business interruptions.

We would like to thank our residents for their patience, and I implore our residents to continue conserving water because the situation is still very serious.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have commenced the project of developing our priorities and strategy going into the formation of our own budget and integrated development plan next year.

I am encouraged by the manner in which the administrative and political leadership in the City have worked to initiate this process, and I am confident that change is on the way.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Every day, when I get up in the morning, I am confronted by two strong emotions.

The first is the daunting sense of responsibility of the important task that lies ahead of us. Getting Johannesburg working is a project of national importance because, as I have always said, When Johannesburg Works, South Africa Will Work.

The second emotion, is however, the greater of the 2. It is the massive sense of pride that fills me every morning. It is without doubt the greatest honour of my life to have the opportunity to serve our City and its residents. I have always said that I am not a politician, and I mean it.

What I am, is a man who could not sit back any longer and watch our City and country fall apart. To wake up and have the privilege of serving the people of this great City is a responsibility I do not take lightly. And I intend to use every day that I am tasked with this important responsibility to make this City and its people realise their true potential.

Johannesburg has always been the engine room of our Country. It is the place of innovation, it is the place which has a history of sparking change in our Country.

In all of Johannesburg’s beautiful diversity, let us come together to achieve a new era of prosperity for all our people.

Because When Johannesburg Works, South Africa Will Work.

I Thank You

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