Inaugural speech by the City of Johannesburg Executive Mayor Clr Herman Mashaba
Speaker, Cllr Vasco Da Gama
Municipal Manager of the City of Johannesburg, Mr Trevor Fowler Members of the Media
And most importantly residents of Johannesburg Ladies and gentlemen
Before I start my address, I would like to again pay my respect to the late Councillor, Nonhlanhla “Stompie” Mthembu, who tragically passed away during our first council meeting. Cllr Mthembu will be remembered for her love and unwavering dedication to the people of our City.
She was truly a servant of the people. May her memory inspire us to live up to her example as we embark on this new and challenging journey. May we never forget, that beyond any party-political loyalty, we are bound together as public servants first and foremost, and her untimely passing is a loss to us all. May her soul rest in peace.
It was due to this unexpected tragedy and out of respect for the deceased and her comrades in the ANC that I requested that my inauguration speech be delayed to the second sitting of this Council. I would like to thank you for agreeing to that request.
On behalf of the City of Joburg, I would also like to take this opportunity to wish our Muslim residents a blessed Eid al-adha. Eid al-adha is one of the holiest celebrations on the Islamic calendar and we are reminded that this is a time for thanks and sacrifice and a recognition of the blessings that the Almighty has bestowed on us, our families and loved ones.
Members of Council, ladies and gentlemen
I am honoured and deeply humbled to be standing before all of you today as the Mayor of Johannesburg.
Today marks my 22nd day in office for my administration.
Thank you for placing your trust in me to lead our City. It is a position I do not take for granted and the new DA-led administration is already working tirelessly to bring about the change desired by the people of Joburg.
It is a mandate we dare not fail to deliver on. Because if Johannesburg works, South Africa works.
This election was clear evidence of the maturing of our young democracy – a peaceful change of government through the ballot box. This in itself should be celebrated across our country.
The people of our City have spoken. They want to see real change and bold steps taken to move Johannesburg forward again.
It is important to note that no single party holds a majority in the Joburg Council.
The people have chosen a diverse group of parties to lead them, but on one thing their voice was clear. Change must come to Johannesburg.
This election should be a lesson to us all, never take for granted the voters who we are meant to serve.
I want to assure the Residents of Joburg, we will be a government for every single one of you, regardless of your vote. Gone are the days where advantage was achieved by a membership card of a political party or a connection to someone in a position of power.
Now is not the time for political squabbles. The time for campaigning and politicking is over. We face great challenges that no party can confront on its own. Now is the time for all of us to roll up our sleeves and get working together.
But words alone will not achieve anything positive. 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.
Positive actions achieve positive results. It is time to rebuild our City. Because if Johannesburg works, South Africa works.
But before we start I need to ask the people of Johannesburg for patience. The truth is that there are no short cuts, there are few quick fixes and no silver-bullets.
It is going to take time to correct the many years of mismanagement and decay that has resulted in the failures of our City.
We need to start from basics and step by step build a city we can all be proud to call home.
The DA has a positive vision and plan for our City, a plan grounded upon our promise to create jobs, deliver better services and eliminate corruption from this administration.
No one can deny that the biggest challenge facing our City is the soaring unemployment confronting over 800 000 of our people. Almost one in three of our residents are without work. The youths of our city being the biggest casualties of this epidemic.
Job creation will be the number one priority of this new DA-led administration.
We understand that the actual role of local government in job- creation, is to create an enabling environment for businesses to establish themselves, flourish, and thereby create permanent jobs. Because a job is a means to dignity and self-improvement in a way that can never be achieved by a social grant.
Small businesses create jobs. They have an abundance of potential waiting to be unlocked and they have the ability to expand into employers of our people. That is why small business development will be the focus of my term in office.
Economic growth has largely stagnated in our city. Strong economic growth is vital in our quest to ensure our people are employed.
When I sat down with my teams I was presented with a projected target of 2.5% economic growth in our City. This is simply not good enough. Because to accept 2.5% economic growth would mean we accept that we will not make a dent in the number of unemployed people in our City. I cannot accept this.
It is for this reason that I have reached an agreement with all department heads and my MMC’s that all plans and policies must be aligned for our city to work towards achieving a 5% economic growth rate.
While this is an ambitious target, we appreciate the fact that if we do not achieve this, unemployment will remain high, and the youth will still be out of school and out of jobs at the end of this term.
Joburg must be the engine-room of South Africa’s economic growth but this cannot happen at the current growth rate.
One of our top priorities is to professionalise the public service by hiring the very best people to run a City that attracts investment and creates jobs for our people.
Our residents deserve a City which serves them with the highest standards delivered by a civil service that is dedicated, proud and understands that under this administration the bosses are not the politicians but rather the residents of our City.
If I wish to professionalise the civil service, it was essential that I set an example with the appointment of my MMC’s.
The team I appointed just over two weeks ago is made up of doctors, a professor, a lawyer, community development activists and, plainly, people who have a deep love for their city, people with a passion for development, and a dedication to achieve it.
The MMCs I chose have an abundance of skills and knowledge, experts in their respective fields and people who will take Africa’s commercial hub forward.
As a matter of urgency, I intend reviewing the boards of all City- owned entities to make sure that they have the skillset and willingness to drive our agenda of bringing change that will create jobs, fight corruption and fast track the delivery of better services to all our people. These boards must be filled by men and women who are aligned to our motto of service with pride.
We will also conduct a skills audit of the City of Joburg’s employees to ensure that all are properly qualified for the roles they are in.
Gone are the days of cadre deployment and the appointment of friends and family.
The days of requiring a political party’s membership card to get an EPWP job are over.
The new DA-led administration must run a responsive and pro-poor government.
On this point, I would like to state unapologetically, that the majority of this City’s budget will be directed to poor communities.
However, it is important to understand that our City can be business friendly and pro-poor at the same time – in fact, the two must go hand in hand if we wish to succeed in creating a City of golden opportunities.
The economic revival of the Inner City is key to creating an inclusive and prosperous City for all our residents. We will facilitate the revamping of empty and hijacked buildings by the private sector.
The City of Johannesburg owns many buildings that will be audited and identified to provide low-cost housing and affordable commercial spaces for small businesses and shops to reverse the Inner City’s decline and bring business and people back into the Inner City.
I have already begun to work with Pikitup to ensure that shift work in the Inner City is doubled to address the filth in the Inner City.
JMPD have also agreed to intensify efforts to enforce by-laws in the area and step up the visible policing.
This coming Thursday I will be meeting with investors, businesses and stakeholders in the Inner City to start a process of consultation and assessment.
Already I have heard of many completely avoidable and easily solvable obstacles that investors and businesses have suffered in the quest to rejuvenate the Inner City. Our efforts to revitalise the Inner City will not fail like it did under the previous administration.
A 5% economic growth rate is possible if the infrastructure is stabilised. The protection of our infrastructure is a critical component to Joburg’s economic growth.
I have engaged all relevant department and entities on this and City Power, for example, have plans afoot to protect sub-stations from cable theft that leaves businesses and residents alike sitting in the dark. Through a long term integrated security project our City’s power infrastructure will be a less attractive target to criminals.
It is worth noting that 40 of our high risk substations have already been equipped with the security system and a total of 280 substations will be similarly protected by June 2017.
With regard to Johannesburg Water we take cognisance of the fact that water supply is limited. Further water restrictions have come into place, and all efforts need to be put in place to conserve water.
In the next three months our City will implement a “First Line Response Team” initiative. This initiative will entail dedicated crack teams being dispatched to isolate water leaks and bursts within two hours when a major burst is reported. We cannot place restrictions on our residents without putting in place measures that will help protect and conserve our limited water supply.
In an effort to further intensify reduction of water losses throughout our City, Johannesburg Water will continue to roll-out the pipe replacement programme with 100 kilometres of water pipes targeted to be replaced in the current financial year.
Active leak detection is carried out on a daily basis by dedicated leak detection teams. During the coming three months, these teams will survey 2,500km of the water reticulation infrastructure to ensure that all leaks are reported and repaired in an effort to reduce water losses.
With last week’s removal of the MD of Pikitup, the focus now turns to stabilising and strengthening this entity so as to ensure that it fulfills its mandate of keeping our city a clean and healthy environment for all.
The normal 135 weekly refuse collection rounds have been restored at all 12 depots as well as street sweeping and litter picking around our City. The priority must now be to make Pikitup a City entity that makes our streets and communities clean again.
There is a massive backlog in clearing waste at the 2 080 illegal dumping sites spread out across our City. In conjunction with the JMPD, we will begin a process of by-law enforcement at these illegal dumping sites.
Ongoing refuse removal in dense areas including informal settlements will be stepped up with 35 co-operatives and 1 498 community members under the [email protected] programme in Regions C (Bramfischerville), Region D (Protea South and the surrounds), Region E (Alexandra), Region F (Hillbrow) and Region G (Deep Soweto) supported by a door-to-door education and awareness under the EPWP programme with 1 450 people employed.
A further rollout of the programme includes 30 cooperatives and 1
070 community members in Rosettenville, Jeppestown, Turffontein, Berea, Yeoville, Bertrams and Kya-Sands during the 2016/17 financial year.
Transport plays a critical role in economic growth. We need to ensure that Joburg has well-functioning roads, storm water and public transport so that people and goods can move quickly around our City.
To enable economic growth, major economic roads in our City are being upgraded – the upgrading of the M1 towards the CBD has already begun and in the first 100 days we will resurface 45 kilometers of roads. In addition, to improve mobility the Johannesburg Road Agency has committed to a measured reduction in total traffic light downtime in our City, within 100 days.
To improve service delivery especially in previously disadvantaged areas informal settlements and hostels in the first 100 days, JRA is tarring 12 km of gravel roads in Protea, Lawley, Ivory Park, Braamfischerville, and Tshepisong, and completing three bridges in Soweto between Mofolo Central and Dube along Nxumalo, Kinini- Leselinyana and Zulu-Mahalefele Streets.
I was concerned to note that R70 million has been set aside over the next three years for the development of bicycle lanes around our City. I intend putting a halt to this project. When every road in Johannesburg is tarred, maybe then we will look at bicycle lanes again.
Ladies and gentlemen,
None of us can rest while hundreds of thousands of families in Johannesburg suffer in abject poverty and without even the most basic of services.
Millions of people are stuck in a cycle of poverty denying them the right to real freedom and a chance to improve their lives.
I have laid eight complaints with the South African Human Rights Commission over the past six months, which they have agreed to investigate. These include communities in Alexandra, Zandspruit, Kwa Mai-Mai and Princess. I did not do this to play politics. It was out of my deep concern for the plight of our people who deserve better after 22 years into our new democracy.
I hope that the Human Rights Commission is able to expedite these investigations. However, we are now the government in this City and the responsibility lies with us to uplift these communities and ensure that their dignity is restored.
I intend visiting these eight communities over the coming weeks with government officials to determine how we can go about restoring the dignity of those living under such deplorable conditions.
This DA-led administration will prioritise the upgrading of informal settlements. We will work tirelessly to provide decent services and help lift people out of poverty. One only has to look at the residents of Alex standing today in two foot of sewer water, arising from aged and unmaintained infrastructure, to see the challenges we face. This is the legacy that the previous administration has left for us to deal, but deal with it we will.
City Power has prioritised the electrification of our City for every citizen as a response to the needs of the disadvantaged.
City Power is also engaging with Eskom to fast-track the electrification of the Zandspruit reception area. The contractor has been appointed with procurement of material currently underway.
An additional 2500 stands will be electrified in the Informal Settlements of Thembelihle and approximately 200 families who are being relocated from shacks to newly built RDP houses in Elias Motsoaledi will also be provided with electricity.
Furthermore, a total of 2000 more street lights will be installed in the streets of Johannesburg, including streets in Protea South, Naledi and Thembelihle Informal Settlement.
The severe shortage of quality houses is something that will be addressed.
Within 60 days a report will be produced on the number of completed houses built by our city and the province - but not yet allocated or handed over to beneficiaries. It is unacceptable that there are houses that have been built but remain unoccupied when many of our residents live without acceptable accommodation.
We will ensure that thousands of title deeds are given to people so that they have the dignity of a proper home which can be passed on to their children.
Last week the Housing Department compiled a list of all title deeds ready to be handed over to beneficiaries. I am delighted to announce that 2000 title deeds, many for houses handed over 20 years ago, are ready to be distributed in the coming weeks. Tomorrow I will begin the distribution of these title deeds in Diepkloof.
We will also bring an end to the deep-rooted corruption in the housing lists, and make the process of selecting beneficiaries transparent, open and fair.
The Housing Department is in the process of completing the official housing waiting list, which I will sign off within 90 days. Unlike before, it will be publically available at government offices and to communities to ensure that it is transparent. Because when the bright light of transparency shines down, the space for corruption disappears.
With regard to the official housing list, budget has been allocated for the electrification of Fleurhof, Lufhereng, Southills, River View, Jabulani. Preparatory work for the construction of the new infrastructure is underway and all the pre engineering work will be finalised within 100 days.
I am often criticized by my political opponents for not caring for the poor, for not understanding their plight.
This could not be further from the truth. I grew up in poverty. I remember having to drink water to stave off the hunger.
My father died when I was two years old and my mother was a domestic worker in Johannesburg, raising other people’s children, while my sisters and I were lucky to see her once a month.
I know the plight of the poor, I understand and lived this plight and I can assure you this will be an administration which makes delivering to the poor and fighting poverty its top priority.
Universal access to health care is an ideal that our City must work towards because a healthy city is a working city.
By cutting unnecessary expenditure, we must strive to extend the hours at our clinics to ensure a healthy citizenry, allow residents to visit clinics after work hours, and relieve the current burden of unmanageable queues on our doctors and health care professionals at our clinics.
On this point, our City is in the process of investigating the possibility of keeping clinics open for extended hours. We intend using the Princess clinic as a pilot project to investigate this possibility.
I visited the Princess clinic during the campaign period and noted the serious need to address the challenges that negatively impact the health of informal settlement populations in a developmental context.
Clinics in informal settlements are faced with a myriad of challenges. The Princess clinic itself, epitomises these challenges and is in desperate need of additional support.
In a period of 8 months the clinic has gone from seeing 1000 patients per month to over 2300 per month on average.
Emergency Medical Services is also suffering from serious shortages and is only 40% operational arising from years of neglect from the previous administration. In addition, EMS has less than one third of its required workforce. It currently responds to only 68% of medical and fire emergencies in the required response times. This is simply unacceptable and will be addressed as a matter of urgency.
I am also pleased to announce that a new fleet for EMS will be arriving in April, 2017.
Another crisis that has plagued our City’s residents for decades is the billing system. On this point, I would like to announce that I will be organising a billing indaba. Between April and June this year, monies owed by residents to the City grew by R2.8 billion. This can only be when our billing system needs serious attention. There will be three central issues which will be addressed at the indaba.
Firstly, we need to produce an accurate indigent list to protect our poorest residents and ensure that they have access to free services. Currently we have people unable to pay for services. Some of whom are having their homes seized because they cannot afford the services that their neighbours receive for free.
Secondly, we need to introduce measures to improve revenue collection in our city. There are far too many people who can afford to pay but are currently failing to do so as a result of flaws in the billing system, outdated account details, or simply ignoring their bills.
Increasing revenue collection will allow us to use this money to improve infrastructure and service delivery, especially to the poor who need it most.
Finally, we need to review current mechanisms and introduce new mechanisms for processing and resolving billing complaints. Our residents go to hell and back to resolve issues. We have to be a more responsive and caring government than our predecessors.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am pleased to announce that I have tasked my Finance MMC to assemble a team to investigate the issue of insourcing. Whatever the supposed benefits of outsourcing, there are perceptions that in the municipality sector outsourcing leads to casualisation of jobs and exploitation of workers, reduces job security, and is associated with poor wages and exclusion of attendant benefits such as medical aid and pension. I am confident that especially in the fields of facilities management, insourcing can be a viable option.
With regard to public safety, the days of turning a blind eye to JMPD officers accepting bribes or unlawfully harassing motorists are over.
Their commitment must be to fighting crime, upholding the law, and protecting everyone.
A study conducted two years ago found that there is a shortage of 1500 officers in our JMPD force that are meant to be the feet on the ground. This is something that needs to be urgently addressed if we are going to succeed in turning the tide on high crime rates in our city.
Furthermore, a programme has been launched that will achieve mobile station commands across each region in Johannesburg. These mobile station commands will operate in communities and allow for better visible policing and improvements to response times and accessibility.
In our City there will be no co-operation between JMPD and SANRAL on E-tolls and I have received a commitment from the JMPD that there will be no harassment of our motorists about outstanding E-Toll payments.
It is time to bring back the Rule of Law in our City. This is essential to our future success. Respect and proper enforcement of our by-laws will be central to the new administration. Because a City without respect for its laws cannot be a City of prosperity which protects its residents.
This latest tragic incident at Langlaagte is a clear case of the breakdown of law and order in our country and illegal mining seems to continue unabated. This is an old mine declared a Heritage Site because of its historical role in the development of our City of Johannesburg. It was the first site where gold was discovered in 1886. This site is therefore the commercial foundation of our city, and ultimately the country.
I am going to call for the immediate closing off of the area for preservation to turn it into a tourist site. With mining being a national competency, I need to engage the national government to work with us to unleash the commercial potential of this site. We must engage with the private sector to provide us with proposals on how we can commercialise the site for the benefit of our residents.
Corruption and nepotism are deplorable. It hampers service delivery meant to benefit our people, especially the poor. The new DA-led administration will deal with this swiftly, severely and decisively.
We will conduct a forensic audit, targeting expenditure and tenders that have raised suspicion. Hear me and hear me well, there will be no slaps on the wrists, there will be no quiet departures or golden handshakes. Those found guilty of corruption and fraud will go directly to jail.
There was over R5 billion in unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure over the last administration’s term in office. This will simply not be tolerated under the new administration and any case of wrongdoing will be exposed and punished.
Another way in which I intend curbing corruption is to break large tenders into smaller pieces. No longer will there be connected middle men 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 media so as to prevent wrongdoing. This will also encourage the growth and development of small businesses, who in the past never stood a chance, because they were not part of the politically connected elite.
The blatant abuse of residents’ money on excessive advertising, lavish parties and self-serving promotion has come to an end. In the last 2 years, the political leadership of our City have authorized over R156 million rand in marketing and advertising. R56 million of which, was spent to communicating the End of Term Performance of the outgoing administration, conveniently just before the Elections.
You should be ashamed of yourselves.
It is a disgrace that our residents have had to endure your shameless sell promotion of a ‘World Class African City’ while living with your less then world class performance.
I stand before you and pledge to you, the people of Johannesburg, I will never abuse your money in this manner.
The administration of the past five years can be depicted as one of style over substance. The new DA-led administration will be one of substance over style.
People say that I am not a politician. They are correct. I am not.
And when I look at the legacy left behind by the previous administration in Johannesburg, I do not want to be considered a politician.
My motivation for entering public office is to serve the residents of Johannesburg.
I am not doing so because I am a political expert, I am doing so because I am a successful businessman, and that, I believe, is what qualifies me to run the economic engine room of the country.
I am a businessman who has never compromised on the quality of the services and products my businesses have offered.
I will bring my brand of job creation to Joburg and I want to get our City working again.
I started my business career at the age of 22.
In the dark days of Apartheid, the government did everything to prevent a black person from succeeding.
I did not let any of that stop me.
I want Johannesburg to be a city that empowers young entrepreneurs so they are given every opportunity to succeed.
A city that creates an environment where poor people are afforded the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty and make a success of themselves.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Our new administration is here with the support of a variety of political parties. To our coalition partners we thank you for standing by us. I would also like to thank the EFF for voting in the best interests of the people of our City. Over the next 5 years I believe that, together, we will be able to continue putting the interests of our residents first.
It is time to set aside our political differences and work together with a shared vision for the improvement of the lives of our City’s residents, especially the poorest residents of our City.
The future of our City and country depend on it. Because if Johannesburg works, South Africa works.
The new DA-led administration will actively promote redress for past injustices. Without doing so we will never be able to create lasting reconciliation in our City.
Johannesburg is culturally, politically and economically the heart-beat of South Africa. It is vital for our City to experience the change required to move forward again.
Our City has always been at the forefront of change in South Africa.
2016 marks 40 years since the youth of Soweto took their destiny into their own hands and refused to have the brutal and oppressive Apartheid government determine their future.
Johannesburg was also the home of great South Africans such as Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Helen Suzman.
Residents of ‘Jozi’, ‘Egoli’, ‘Joburg’ have every reason to be proud of their city. It is time to make them proud of their government too.
In closing, I would like to acknowledge and give a special vote of thanks to the City Manager, Mr Trevor Fowler, for his outstanding work and assistance during this transition and integration process. Over the past 3 weeks, the administration of our City has demonstrated their commitment to our new vision. I thank them for their professionalism as true civil servants.
I call on all residents and organisations of this City – our coalition partners, civil society, labour organisations, and the private sector – to unite behind this new vision for Johannesburg and work together to realise our potential.
Together we will bring change to our City of Johannesburg.
Together we will bring change that creates jobs, delivers better services and fights corruption.
Together we will make this a city of golden opportunities. I thank you.
Issued by the City of Johannesburg, 13 September 2016