City’s creme de la creme grace Mayor Tau’s SOCA
Metro Centre in Braamfontein, Johannesburg was abuzz with excitement and energy as the who's who in the political, social and business spheres arrived to listen to Johannesburg Executive Mayor Councillor Mpho Parks Tau deliver the 2015 State of the City Address.
Dressed in elegant cultural or formal attire, the guests created an upbeat and positive mood that reached a crescendo when Mayor Tau was ushered into the piazza area by members of the Emergency Management Services (EMS), Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) and the Fire Brigade.
Before delivering his speech, Mayor Tau – flanked by Members of the Mayoral Committee, representatives of municipal-owned entities as well as Speaker Councillor Connie Bapela – paid silent tribute at a plaque in the centre's forecourt to members of the EMS and JMPD who lost their lives in the line of duty.
The ceremonial welcome – which was also witnessed by members of the Junior Mayoral Council – included drill demonstrations by members of the EMS, JMPD and Fire Brigade.
Some of the dignitaries who attended the occasion included Chief Whip Councillor Prema Naidoo; ANC Regional Secretary Dada Morero; the City's Chief Operations Officer, Gerald Dumas; Metrobus Managing Director Mavela Dlamini and Johannesburg City Parks & Zoo MD Bulumko Nelana, as well as several members of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.
At the beginning of his address, Mayor Tau proudly announced that he had been dressed for SOCA 2015 by "a trio of young designers from Soweto".
"Today, I am proudly dressed by Kwandile Dladla, Nkululeko Makhubu and Jacob Nakedi of Bespoke PHR. These men are emerging young fashion designers from Soweto who approached me a few weeks ago with an interesting proposition – that I wear a suit made by them for today's event and I duly obliged. To them I say: 'Thank you'," he said.
The 2015 SOCA, whose theme was "Turning Challenges into Opportunities", covered a wide range of issues, including youth empowerment, digital access, public transport safety, rollout of the Corridors of Freedom programme, Jozi@Work, progress on the implementation of the "blue economy", green economy interventions, update on the expansion of the Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) system, load shedding, the City's financial performance and urban renewal.