City of Joburg tracks service delivery record

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Pretoria - Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau used his State of the City Address on Wednesday, to outline his administration’s track record in service delivery and announce future plans.

Mayor Tau has been at the helm for the past five years, having been elected in 2011.

In his address at the Turffontein racecourse, on Wednesday, Tau said the City’s Financial Development Plan, adopted in 2012, has delivered positive results which has led to liquidity improvement of 41.5% over the first two years from R2.2 billion to R5.2 billion.

“There has been a growth in Opex budget from R29 billion per year to R43 billion per year and a growth in Capex from R3.7 billion to R10.1 billion.”

This, he said, noted that it was an indication that the City has significantly improved its financial management and compliance levels.

Over the last two years, the City has also received unqualified audits.

“We have demonstrated that we live in the nation’s fastest rising economic democracy. Our City government is leading this change through deliberate strategy, developed in partnership with you, the people.”

Among the successes he listed under the urban redevelopment was the upgrading of 168 shacks to nearly 30 000 homes, urban redevelopment under the Corridors of Freedom plan which aims, among other things, to combat apartheid era spatial planning by through establishing bus rapid transport routes alongside mixed-use urban redevelopment.

“The Corridors of Freedom programme is bringing new life to Fleurhof and South Hills, to Kliptown and Jabulani, to Turffontein and Rosettenville.

“To the student halls and shopping squares of Empire Road; to Randburg, Jabulani, Orlando East and Park Station. It is bringing new mixed-use change all along the Louis Botha Corridor, connecting the Inner City, Orange Grove, Alexandra and Sandton.”

The City has also developed quality, integrated housing in Fleurhof, South Hills, Lufhereng Riverside and Malibongwe Ridge.

This is adding successes in areas such as Lehae, Cosmo City and the Golden Triangle - which Mayor Tau labelled as the most ambitious mixed-income housing projects which have yield of almost 70 000 units.

In addition, the City has formalised nearly 29 000 informal sector homes where they stood, and relocated over 600 other households to linked housing projects, while most of the City’s access to informal settlements have access to basic water and electricity.

“We can celebrate the fact that 99.4% of citizens have access to water, and 94.5% have access to basic sanitation.”

Vulindlel’ eJozi programme

He reflected that that through the Harambee youth employment accelerator, known as the Vulindlel’ eJozi programme, the City has registered over 127 000 young people of the targeted 200 000.

Tau encouraged the youth to continue to raise up their hands and register on

“We have already engaged over 31 000 youth in opportunity channels and the majority of the remainder are being attached to a foundational skills and matric rewrite programme, breaking down a major barrier to work and skills development opportunities.”

The roll out of the Vulindlel’ eJozi programme, Mayor Tau said, has confirmed that the lack of relevant skills and qualifications remain a major barrier to participation in the economy.

“Our young people bear the greatest brunt of this exclusion. It is thus that we have identified vocational skills development and the bridging of foundational learning to be critical interventions in breaking down barriers to employment for youth.”

Massive Open Online Varsity initiative

Though the Massive Open Online Varsity - or MOOV initiative- the City has also opening up opportunities for 4 000 young Joburgers.

MOOV uses state-of-the-art, video enabled, learning – to turn libraries and community centres into online universities and technical schools.

Jozi@Work programme

Turning on the City’s Jozi@Work programme - which is a bootstrap for local community enterprises as co-producers of municipal services, the Mayor said over 1000 cooperatives and small enterprises are providing profit share and earning opportunities for thousands of residents.

“Our network of SMME hubs is there to make sure thousands – and ultimately tens of thousands - of new enterprises have the chance to open for business.

“Already, we have supported over 14 000 small companies through these hubs, enabling them to be part of Joburg’s rising economic democracy,” Mayor Tau said, adding that collectively as the City, they have directly supported and assisted over 24 000 small- and medium- sized enterprises over the course of this term.

Bridge the digital divide

During his tenure, Mayor Tau reported that the City continued to bridge the digital divide by turning Johannesburg into the smart City, with over 1 100km of broadband and Fibre-optic cable in place.

“We have connected 66 of our 87 local libraries citywide to high-speed internet, provided at no cost to the public in areas such as Orange Farm, Lenasia, Diepsloot, Randburg, Westbury, Emmarentia, Cosmo City, Ennerdale, Florida, Roodepoort and all across Soweto,” he said, adding that the Maru, a Jozi platform, is already helping those with little experience of the internet at the city’s 408 free Wi-Fi hotspots including the wireless mesh over Braamfontein.

These have logged 1.3 million hits since the start of this financial year.

“Our first cohort of Digital Ambassadors has already trained more than 24 800 internet deprived users on how to navigate the mobile web and use the Wi-Fi to improve their lives.”

Building a safe City

Over the last five years, the City has rehabilitated over 140 km of roads and resurfaced almost 2 500 lane kms – significantly reducing the incidence of potholes.

The City is also building confidence in a safe City, safe business districts and safe neighbourhoods by introducing an Integrated Intelligent Operations Centre that is enabling better decisions on where JMPD and Emergency Management teams are deployed to reduce crime and save lives.

The Smart technology – and smarter policing – is already reducing crime levels in the City through the CCTV system monitoring. This has led to serious crimes such as bank robberies and cash heists to be significantly reduced in the CBD.

Primary healthcare

Primary healthcare delivery is also being revolutionised and dignified through improved infrastructure and expanded services available at the 118 government clinics across the City.

“We are moving to replace mobile clinics with brick and mortar facilities in some of our most deprived communities,” he said, adding that the new electronic patient record system, will be installed in 15 clinics across Soweto by June.

Affordable housing

Looking into the future, he announced that the City has engaged with developers at the exclusive Waterfall Estate and Modderfontein to ensure that they are affordable housing.

This will allow these new mega developments to accommodate both rich and poor to live together.

The multibillion-rand Waterfall Estate, in Midrand, is situated where the second largest single phase shopping mall to be built in Africa, Mall of Africa, recently opened.

“We engaged with the developers of new towns in Waterfall Estate and Modderfontein to ensure there will be affordable housing included in these new mega-developments,” Mayor Tau announced.

“Joburg’s new economic democracy is rising, because we are democratising access to shelter,” he said.

He also begun the path to the Joburg of 2040 as outlined in the strategy which aims to turn the City into a high-performing metropolitan government in a globally competitive Gauteng City Region. -