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Thumbs up for Mayor Mashaba’s first SOCA Print E-mail
08 May 2017

Johannesburg Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba’s vision, presented in the City’s 10-point plan and articulated in his first State of the City Address (SOCA) on May 3, has been endorsed by the Democratic Alliance’s coalition partners and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

In a lively debate on Friday May 5, councillors congratulated Mayor Mashaba on his maiden SOCA in which he pledged to improve the lives of the City’s “forgotten people”, fight corruption and crime, create sustainable jobs, upgrade outdated infrastructure and improve service delivery.

They also praised the executive team for its achievements in the first nine months of the new municipal term, including restoring the dignity of residents by extending operating hours at six clinics across the city, waging a war against drugs and planning to recruit more Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officers to keep the city safe.

The DA’s Cllr Mpho Phalatse, who is also Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development, congratulated Mashaba on “delivering an accurate account of the true state of the City with sound precision”.

“It was time we told our people the truth, the truth about what they truly need to maximise their potential and participate meaningfully in our City’s market economy,” she said.

She said through the Mayor’s vision, the poor’s dignity would be restored “through various means, including increased access to decent low-cost rental accommodation in the inner city, property ownership and the handing out of title deeds”.

Cllr M van Wyk of the ACDP said involving people would help resolve most of the challenges the City was facing.

“This administration should be more focused and be qualitatively different from the administration it is replacing,” he said, adding that improved service delivery would go a long way towards enhancing residents’ quality of life.

He urged the Mayor to pay close attention to coloured areas such as Eldorado Park, which had missed out on the extended clinic and library hours initiative.

Cllr ARG Noorban of Ajamal said for the Mayor to unlock 5% economic growth, an inclusive approach was needed.

Cllr MS Arnolds of the African Independent Congress cautioned Mayor Mashaba against making promises he could not keep. She said instead of complaining about corruption and poor service delivery record of the ANC administration, his team should show improved results.

“If you think the R360-million spent on this chamber was too much, why did you allow us to relocate into this expensive chamber? We don’t want a witch hunt. Service delivery should move in a positive direction,” she said.

Cllr Musa Novela of the EFF said the administration should remain in touch with the poor. “We must not claim easy victories. No cheap political rhetoric either. We must be a responsive municipality that is truly pro-poor. The EFF rejects the water tariff increase, for example.”

Cllr Mzobanzi Ntuli of the IFP, who is also MMC for Housing, said he supported the Mayor’s anti-corruption drive but urged him to attend to long-standing service delivery issues at hostels and informal settlements.

Former Mayor Cllr Parks Tau of the African National Congress accused Mashaba of being hostile towards his party and painting it in a negative light and not highlighting the many achievements his administration had made.

“We’re not the enemy,” Cllr Tau said, adding that while they might not agree ideologically, co-operation would help the City achieve more.

Tau defended his administration's legacy, which he said Mashaba was ignoring.  He said his administration had fought corruption and introduced several initiatives to improve people’s lives.

In his response, Cllr Mashaba said he would take on board the councillors’ suggestions and embrace critical strategies that would improve service delivery. He said he would continue to fight corruption “because it steals from the poor, youth, unemployed and disadvantaged”.

“Local government is about putting people first. But there are no quick fixes or silver bullets. We need interventions that will grow the economy,” Mashaba said.

He said Tau’s administration had “its priorities horribly wrong and spent more time on self-promotion instead of service delivery”.

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Last Updated on 08 May 2017