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SOCA: It’s now business ‘unusual’ in Jozi – Mayor Print E-mail
04 May 2017

It is now business “unusual” in the City of Johannesburg.

In his maiden State of the City Address (SOCA) at the Metro Centre in Braamfontein on Wednesday, May 3, Johannesburg Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba painted a picture of a city that was riddled with corruption; throttled by a high rate of unemployment, especially among the youth, and hamstrung by shocking service delivery backlogs.

“It is going to take time to turn around the years of neglect, incorrect priorities, decay and mismanagement in our city,” Mayor Mashaba said.

“The sheer magnitude of the backlogs that we have inherited is staggering. But, like all enormous challenges, the only way to tackle it is to take it one step at a time.”

Mayor Mashaba said at 862 000, the number of unemployed people in Johannesburg was “unacceptably high”, adding that only a projected minimum 5% economic growth could reverse the situation.

He said Johannesburg’s infrastructure had crumbled, revealing a R170-billion 10-year unfunded gap. The Mayor said the government had to be in “tune with the people it served”.

“What is clear from last year’s historic local government elections is that our residents’ demand for change requires a clear break from the way things were being done. Following what has failed will not bring change. We can no longer conduct business as usual,” he said.

Outlining the City’s 10-point plan, the Executive Mayor said his administration would ensure it embraced the environment brought about by the creation of a coalition government, pursue a responsive and pro-poor agenda, seek to grow the economy by 5%, create a professional civil service, fight corruption, produce an official housing waiting list, produce a list of incomplete housing units, fast-track the distribution of title deeds, extend clinics’ operating hours and revitalise the Johannesburg inner city.

Mayor Mashaba said his administration was determined to ensure the coalition governance arrangement was a success. “The residents of Johannesburg, the people we serve, are the ones who decided that they want to be governed by a multiparty government. We dare not fail them,” he said.

On the pro-poor agenda, the Mayor said the proposed 2017-2018 Budget would largely be used to improve the lives and living conditions of the traditionally poor and under-serviced communities – the forgotten people of Johannesburg.

On the economic front, Mayor Mashaba said he wanted Johannesburg to be the engine room of South Africa’s economic growth. “We need to create an enabling environment for businesses, especially small businesses, to flourish and thereby become employers of our people,” he said.

He said his administration would also speed up the handing over of title deeds. He said a proper housing waiting list would followed when allocating homes. “There will be no jumping of queues. There will be no bribing to be in front of the waiting list. There will be no nepotism and favouritism,” he said.

He vowed to reclaim stolen buildings in the inner city. “The criminals, drug lords and slumlords have messed up our city. But we are on them. They are starting to flee. We are taking back our buildings and our streets. We are going to take back those buildings, clean them, refurbish them and turn them into decent and affordable housing units for our residents,” he said.

He was optimistic the City would achieve its 5% economic growth target by 2021 that he was prepared to put his job on the line. “Vote me out in 2021 if I don’t meet the target. Don’t vote for failure,” he said.

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Last Updated on 04 May 2017