The City of Johannesburg is in good hands. This was said by Member of the Mayoral Committee for Finance Councillor Geoffrey Makhubo during the tabling of the City’s 2014-2015 draft annual report at Emoyeni Conference Centre in Parktown yesterday.
MMC Makhubo said positive feedback from ratings agencies, investors and Johannesburg residents confirmed and demonstrated that the City was delivering on its promises. “We said we’ll put the city in a healthy financial position and we did. As we reach for the end of the term of office, we can safely say we’ve indeed established a solid financial foundation. The city is in good hands,” said MMC Makhubo, who was flanked by City Manager Trevor Fowler and Group Chief Financial Officer Reggie Boqo.
Explaining Johannesburg’s performance by numbers, Boqo said the city’s 2014-2015 revenue leapt by 8% to R42-billion. The bulk of the money came from service charges such as water, electricity and refuse removal.
Total expenditure, which represented a 12% increase, was R37.8-billion and the City had R4.9-billion in its cash reserves. Said MMC Makhubo: “I’m pleased to report that the City received an unqualified audit opinion from the Auditor-General. It is also worth noting that the number of municipal entities that achieved clean audits has increased to six.”
These are the Johannesburg Social Housing Company, Joburg Theatres, Johannesburg Roads Agency, Pikitup, Johannesburg Property Company and Johannesburg Development Agency.
“The City is proud of this achievement and corrective measures and action plans have been put in place to ensure that matters raised by the Auditor-General are remedied going forward. “We’ll work hard to restore the clean audit opinion of the Joburg Market and move all other entities and core towards a clean audit,” said MMC Makhubo.
For the 12 months under review, the City achieved a surplus of R3.9-billion, despite the bleak global economic outlook.
MMC Makhubo said the City was mindful of the stark economic conditions that had had an impact on consumers’ affordability rates. “But I would urge those residents who play the Lotto first before paying for services to consider paying us first before they gamble,” said Cllr Makhubo, who also disclosed that the revenue collection rate had increased to 92%.
Johannesburg increased its capital spending by 38% to R10.1-billion, created 51 977 job opportunities under the Extended Public Works Programme and installed 61 871 electricity smart meters. The MMC added that the City resurfaced 675.6km of roads, rolled out 100 Wi-Fi hotspots in clinics, libraries and theatres, supported 6 160 orphans and vulnerable children through a basket of services, created 2 496 jobs through Jozi@Work, ensured that 39 078 food insecure households received support and recorded a 4.22% reduction in the mortality rate.
“The fact that we’ve received favourable ratings from two major agencies, Fitch and Moody’s, is good news for the residents of Johannesburg. It means we can get access to credit at good rates to continue our work of rolling out infrastructure throughout the city,” said the MMC. Fowler said crime was down in the inner city as a result of an intelligent crime-prevention system monitored by the Johannesburg Metro Police Department and South African Police Service.
The state-of-the-art system boasts software that tracks car registration plates and crime trends so law enforcement agencies could be deployed to hotspots.
He said the City had received good satisfaction levels in the latest Customer Satisfaction Survey. About 83.9% of residents were satisfied with water services; 82.4% with sanitation; 85.1% with waste removal and 75.3% with storm water.
MMC Makhubo added: “We know that we have a responsibility to collect what is due to the City and ensure the judicious use of these resources. Service delivery and the improvement of the quality of life of our people are central in measuring the progress that the City is making. “We’ll continue working together to ensure that tomorrow will be better than today for all who reside in Johannesburg.”