Landfill waste, food insecurity and unemployment are three major challenges that the City of Johannesburg (CoJ) aims to prioritise in its 2040 vision, said CoJ manager Trevor Fowler at a Johannesburg Investor Roadshow event held in Johannesburg on Friday.
He noted that by 2040, the city aimed to reduce landfill waste by 93% and that, to date, it had been reduced by 5%.
The city’s vision also included steps to eradicate poverty, ensure resource security and environmental sustainability, as well as build sustainable human settlements and enable social inclusion.
“Food security and agriculture is another top priority that the CoJ is focused on. Three years ago there were 400 000 people in Johannesburg who were food-insecure. We have since assisted 80 000 people to date to ensure that they have a stable source of food,” said Fowler.
He further noted that the CoJ had also assisted 85 farmers in the past year alone to farm on land around the city to create food security and address those that were food-insecure.
Meanwhile, Fowler mentioned that Johannesburg represented 17% of South Africa’s total gross domestic product (GDP), contributing 5% to Africa’s total GDP.
Leading up to the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup, Johannesburg spent R2.5-billion on infrastructure, though 90 000 jobs were lost in Johannesburg in 2008, after which infrastructure spend slowed down owing to a reduction in revenue.
Nevertheless, Johannesburg had since increased its infrastructure spend from R3.7-billion in 2010 to R10.2-billion in 2015.
“Johannesburg ranks number three in the country in terms of infrastructure spend,” said Fowler, adding that infrastructure created opportunities for investment and development.
Fowler further commented that Johannesburg contributed significantly to the employment rate in Gauteng, adding that the city was mindful that 34% of those who were unemployed in the province were youth. In townships and informal settlements youths constituted 60% of the unemployed.
He noted that job creation was, therefore, a key challenge being addressed by the CoJ.
Fowler highlighted that the projected number of formal households in Johannesburg in 2015 was 1.7-million, which was supplemented by over 350 000 estimated backyard dwellings.
“We have put a programme in place to formalise backyard dwellings to ensure that people build [according to] the correct housing standards to ensure their safety. The CoJ also wants to ensure that these people have adequate access to services such as water and sanitation.”
In respect of households located in informal settlements, the city’s programme also aimed to address electricity, water and sanitation access.
Fowler highlighted that over 94% of Johannesburg’s residents had access to water, electricity and solid waste removal.
Also speaking at the event CoJ CFO Reginald Boqo noted that the city reported a strong financial position with a surplus of R3.9-billion in the financial year ended June 30, 2015, compared with R3.8-billion the previous year.
Johannesburg’s capital expenditure had increased to R10.2-billion, 94% of what was budgeted for, in the financial year ended June 30, 2015, compared with R7.3-billion the previous year.
“Revenue increased from R38-billion to R42-billion and assets increased from R67-billion to R78-billion,” he stated.
Boqo further noted that the increase in assets was attributable to growth in property, plant and equipment (PPE), as well as an increase in cash and cash equivalents over the years. Further, cash balances increased from R700-million in 2011 to R4.9-billion in 2015.
“Throughout the political term we have demonstrated good financial management and can say that Johannesburg is financially stable,” concluded Boqo.