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Joburg is in good hands, investors reassured

Investors have been reassured that the political transition in the City of Johannesburg following the August 3 local government elections has gone off smoothly and the council is functioning well.

This assurance was given by Member of the Mayoral Committee for Finance Cllr Rabelani Dagada and City Manager Trevor Fowler at an investor roadshow in Rosebank on Friday October 21. The breakfast meeting was attended mainly by private sector investors.

Presenting the political overview of the city, Cllr Dagada said the new administration had been in office for only seven weeks. He reassured investors that nothing “had been shaken up” as the architecture of government had basically remained what it used to be during the time of the previous administration.

“Many people have invested in the city. They invest heavily in our brands. With a big change in government, there was fear fundamentals might change. These fears had to be allayed. As the new administration, we need their support. We are happy with the response here,” he said.

Cllr Dagada said when the administration assumed office, Executive Mayor Cllr Herman Mashaba came up with a 10-point plan to take the City forward. A slide highlighting the main points of the plan was presented.

“For instance, we want to run a responsive and pro-poor government. The City can be business-friendly and pro-poor at the same time. To this front, plans and policies are being aligned towards achieving a 5% economic growth and creating a professional public service that serves Joburg residents with pride,” Cllr Dagada said.

He also spoke about some of the administration’s top priorities, including the re-absorption of municipal entities such as the Joburg Theatre and the Joburg Fresh Produce Market into the City’s administration. He said, however, that consultations were taking place, adding that the process would take time. This, Cllr Dagada said, was done to improve service delivery and reduce costs.

In his strategic overview, Fowler said the City was mindful of the environment in which it was operating.

“For instance, we are experiencing a drought and slow economic growth, which means that there’s more hardship on the poor, increase in migration, pressure on City services, weak job creation and increased social tension. We’re also seeing increased pressure on City revenues, which means increased financial stresses on households will impair City income,” said Fowler.

Responding to a question on the re-absorption of entities during the question-and-answer session, Cllr Dagada said a balance had to be struck to ensure that the entities’ boards did not wield too much power. At the same time, as the government, the City needed to be involved in the running of these institutions.

The roadshow was in preparation for a mayoral lekgotla on November 2. The next investor roadshow has been planned for February 2017.