Despite the many significant milestones and service delivery successes the City of Johannesburg had achieved over the past five years, socioeconomic transformation remained one of the most important challenges that still had to be tackled going forward, Johannesburg Executive Mayor Cllr Parks Tau said on Wednesday July 6.
The Mayor was speaking at Bidvest Wanderers Cricket Stadium in Illovo during the release of his End-of-Term Report, which details the City’s performance between 2011, when the current administration took over, and now, less than a month before the August 3 local government elections.
The 156-page document serves as a report-back to Johannesburg residents on the progress made over the current term and is in preparation for the administration that will be in place after this year’s municipal elections. The City's performance was guided by the Joburg 2040 Growth and Development Strategy.
Featuring in the report are successes achieved through initiatives such as the R100-billion infrastructure investment programme, Corridors of Freedom, Vulindlel' eJozi youth empowerment programme, Jozi@Work, Massive Open Online Varsity (MOOV) and the creation of free Wi-Fi hotspots, to mention a few.
“Johannesburg today is a R78-billion-asset local government entity that accounts for 14% of the national economy. We have had a massive increase on our capital expenditure – from R3.7-billion in 2011-2012 to R10.8-billion in 2014-2015,” Cllr Tau said.
“We also went on to improve our billing distribution from 2013 through the use of SMS and MMS and beefed up query resolution average of 90% within 30 days.”
He said as a result of better financial management, the City had attracted more than R8-billion in investments.
“Johannesburg has overall built a good reputation, both locally and globally, and we continue to be a destination of choice for business tourism, as well as for international conferences and events."
“There are some who want to pretend that no delivery has happened in the City of Johannesburg in the past 21 years, while misleading residents that they can miraculously deliver things that they alone claim have not been delivered. This is very unfortunate because our record speaks for itself,” the Mayor said.
Although acknowledging the many achievements the City had made since 2011, Tau said more challenges still had to be overcome, among them poverty and inequality, the housing backlog and youth unemployment. He said with 120 000 people migrating to Johannesburg every year, the city had to come up with more innovative housing and other service delivery solutions. He said while the City had a growing middle and upper-middle class, many households still remained poor, with food insecurity and inequality becoming ongoing challenges.
He said though the average household monthly income in Johannesburg was R15 270, on average 50% of poor homes earned about R3 543, of which between 60% and 80% was spent on food, housing and transport. Because of this, the City was on a mission to reverse the apartheid spatial planning and projects such as the multibillion rand Corridors of Freedom would go a long way in addressing this.
“This is why as the City we have the responsibility to come up with interventions that reduce the cost of all these and increase access,” he said.
“It’s therefore important for all the work outlined in the End-of-Term Report to continue beyond the current term. This will ensure greater impact in creating access to economic and social opportunities for more residents of Johannesburg and certainly improve the quality of life for the many who live in the city.”