The State of the City Address revealed quite a bit about the progress being made in the City of Johannesburg, as well as the obstacles faced by the administration.
Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba had a lot to say, and we highlighted 14 points in his speech that will give you a good overview of the crucial decisions being made in the City.
1. The City has increased its maintenance spend to over six per cent on infrastructure. This is a positive increase from less than two per cent in previous years. Mashaba said the job of keeping infrastructure working will require a delicate balance between repairs, maintenance and refurbishment
2. The City has, since the new administration came into office, repaired 181 000 potholes and resurfaced 520 kilometres of roads
3. The no-join policy at traffic intersections has been implemented at 120 intersections across the city. Mashaba said this has reduced their downtime by 72 per cent
4. On a more negative note, the mayor revealed that 107 billion litres of water was lost through the city’s dilapidated water network in the 2016/17 fiscal year. On this, he said the City needs to start investing in technology that helps save water
5. Since 13 clinics across Joburg extended their operating hours, 87 000 patient visits were recorded during the extended hours. There has also been a decrease in waiting times. The extended operating hours at clinics has been an initiative brought forth since the mayor’s first State of the City Address and will likely be a point of focus for the rest of his term with more clinics’ hours to be extended in the future
6. The mayor spoke about a concerning ageing artisan generation on Joburg. To deal with this, 300 youths will begin artisan training provided by the City
7. Mashaba said land-use and development applications have seen reduced turnaround time. “Indeed, in the past financial year, we achieved the processing of 95 per cent of submitted building plans within 30 – 60 days.”
8. Another announcement was about the draft inclusionary housing policy. This policy, which is currently out for public comment, proposes that every new development of 10 units or more must include 20 per cent inclusionary, or lower cost and affordable units
9. Since the new administration came into office, Metro police have made over 20 000 arrests, which the mayor said is more than was achieved between 2009 and 2012 combined
10. To date, over 50 kilometres of gravel roads in informal settlements have been tarred. In February’s adjustment budget, R62 million more was allocated to expand this
11. A Re Sebetseng, the City’s volunteer clean-up campaign that started late last year, has already seen over 11 000 events take place across the city and 245 000 tonnes of waste collected
12. On the fight against corruption, the mayor said the latest statistics reflect that over 3 500 cases are at various stages of an investigation. “[It involves] a staggering R18 billion.”
13. The mayor also made an unexpected announcement that the investigation into the Municipal Trading Company (MTC), a City-owned entity that was set up to handle the building operation and handling of a broadband network throughout the city, is coming to a close. The City bought out the network contract at a cost of R2.3 billion before setting up the entity.
“A series of companies benefited through this buy-out deal and a simple search of these companies revealed no less than two national ministers listed as directors,” he said
14. The mayor also said the skills audit is progressing to higher levels and is expected to be completed before July.
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