Speaker on a mission to tackle service delivery in Eldorado Park
Security in community parks, the proliferation of drugs and poor lighting were some of the service delivery issues that were put under the microscope when the City of Johannesburg's Speaker of Council, Cllr Vasco da Gama, visited Eldorado Park in Region G on Tuesday November 8.
The Speaker was in the area to engage elected community representatives and officials of various City entities on service delivery bottlenecks and to seek ways to address them effectively. Addressing a meeting at the Don Mateman Hall, Cllr Da Gama said the City's service delivery programme "must result in action and tangible deliverables on the ground".
The Speaker, whose responsibilities include oversight management, said his approach was not about holding endless meetings with politicians but about fostering working relationships among City entities and departments, community representatives and communities.
"Our role as community representatives means that we should change the lives of our people through the decisions we take every day. I'm very much aware of the problems of this area as I drive these streets every day to and from work. So we need to change how we approach these challenges," Cllr Da Gama said.
He emphasised that whatever decisions were arrived at in resolving service delivery bottlenecks they should include the community. "It is important that we bring government closer to the people and allow them to interact with our entities on a one-to-one basis," he said. Da Gama said he believed in a hands-on approach and demanded of officials to spend more time interacting with communities.
City Parks's Wilson Mbutini told Da Gama that the biggest challenge facing the entity was vandalism of infrastructure in parks. He said work at Kremetart Park, for instance, was hampered by the theft of equipment. "We're answerable to the community. The steps taken by the Speaker are encouraging and will assist us in responding quicker," he said.
The meeting was followed by a walkabout to assess service delivery successes and challenges in the area.
Ward 18 councillor Fazel Jaffer said afterwards that he was encouraged by Cllr Da Gama's approach to service delivery. He said the meeting with representatives of City entities had opened a new chapter on how to deal with service delivery effectively.
"I was encouraged by the kind of meeting we had and we were able to arrive at decisions without having to go through red tape. With representatives of City entities being part of the meeting, it helped us to resolve some of our challenges quicker," he said.
Jaffer said vandalism of public infrastructure received attention and specific steps were taken to help manage the scourge.