Joburg is open for business, says Mayor Mashaba on his first 100 days
Johannesburg Executive Mayor Cllr Herman Mashaba says he and his team have begun working on a massive plan to create 5% economic growth and reduce unemployment in the city to under 20% by 2021.
Speaking in Fordsburg on Thursday December 1 to mark his first 100 days in office following the August 3 local government elections, Mayor Mashaba said this plan included employing thousands of people, training artisans, investing billions of rand in infrastructure and creating a high-density urban environment required for accelerated investment.
“I will send a message to the local and international business community - a message they have been waiting for - that Johannesburg is finally open for business,” he said.
Mayor Mashaba said private investors were prepared to plough more than R20-billion a year into the Johannesburg inner city, revitalise it and turn it around within a few months as the area had the potential to produce a vibrant socioeconomic mix of high-rise, low-cost and affordable housing and low-rent office space for business start-ups and young entrepreneurs who could not afford the high rentals charged by property owners in urban spaces such as Sandton and Rosebank.
He said all this would happen only if the inner city could get its basics right, including ridding itself of urban decay and crime. His administration had already begun the process of getting these basics right.
We’ve already doubled Pikitup’s cleaning shifts in the inner city, including a night shift, to serve businesses operating at night,” he said.
As part of his 100-day reportback, the Mayor announced that the City’s revenue collection rate had increased from 90% to 98%. He said the challenge now was to maintain it and improve systems to resolve billing queries.
“Our residents go through hell and back trying to resolve their issues and this administration will be more caring and responsive than it has been,” he said.
Mayor Mashaba said the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) had increased its visibility in the inner city to manage traffic flow, enforce by-laws and prevent crime. He said he would assemble a team of human rights lawyers to assist the City in reclaiming the inner city from criminals and slumlords.
He said the number of SME hubs would be increased from seven to 12 by 2017. “We have initiated a review of all by-laws in the City, with the focus [mainly] on those that involve decision-making processes pertaining to economic development.
“We will be opening our doors to make Johannesburg an attractive destination to do business. We will be aggressively expanding the rollout of our free Wi-Fi network across the City.
“Last week, we unveiled a specialised K9 drug unit within JMPD. This unit will consist of the very best the JMPD has to offer the City. It will operate on the basis of intelligence-led policing and will make use of an extensive network of informants.”
On Wednesday, he launched the expanded Early Childhood Development programme in partnership with Hollard Foundation to provide 400 facilities that will be manned by 734 practitioners by 2017.
In October, he and Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development Cllr Mpho Phalatse launched a pilot clinic at Princess Crossing in Roodepoort that operates from 7am until 10pm from Monday to Friday and 7am to 1pm on Saturdays.
Mayor Mashaba said he planned to decentralise the rollout of service delivery to benefit all regions.