Since the Democratic Alliance entered into a coalition government in the Johannesburg metropolitan two and a half years ago, the City of Johannesburg has achieved and maintained economic growth of around 1.95% a year, mayor Herman Mashaba said at the city’s annual general meeting on Wednesday.
He further pointed out that the city was achieving a 92.6% refuse collection rate, while 98.4% of citizens had access to water, 95.1% access to sanitation and 90.8% access to electricity.
This is despite an inward migration of about 3 000 people a month into the city. Johannesburg’s population currently stands at 5.4-million people, of which 31.2% are unemployed.
It is projected that the population in Johannesburg will increase to 7.6-million in the next 20 years.
“Change is not an event, it is a process comprised of deliberate actions by government with a clearly defined objective, backed by mechanisms intended to achieve results.
“The multi-party government in Johannesburg has been carefully implementing a vision of a city that is responsive to the needs of the citizens,” Mashaba said, adding that this was amid continuous service delivery protests as a result of prior governance failures.
He noted that the prior governance system had been tailored to cater to the whims of politicians.
“These overlords created a culture of impunity, and choosing to put themselves ahead of the people they led. This attitude filtered down into our city’s administration across all entities. Since coming into office, we have uncovered one shocking example of corruption after another.”
On that note, Johannesburg city manager Ndivhoniswani Lukhwareni said that, for the 2017/18 financial year, the majority of Johannesburg’s 12 entities achieved an “unqualified” audit report, which was an improvement on a “qualified” audit report, but still a step away from a “clean” audit report.
Of the 12 entities – City of Johannesburg group, City Power, Joburg Water, Pikitup, Johannesburg Social Housing Company (Joshco), Joburg City Theatres (JCT), Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ), Johannesburg Roads Agency, Johannesburg Property Company (JPC), Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA), Metrobus, Joburg Market and Metropolitan Trading Company – only JCT, JCPZ, JPC and JDA achieved “clean” audit reports.
Mashaba noted that the city had, during the 2016/17 financial year, embarked on an exercise to drastically cut wasteful expenditure through the introduction of austerity measures in a programme called Diphetogo, netting the city savings of about R600-million.
These savings have been put back into service delivery areas including road maintenance and electrification – the multiparty government has electrified 7 000 rural households since it took over the city.
Further, the city has established a Service Delivery Committee, made up of Mashaba and the managing directors of the city’s entities, which will drive visible service delivery.
The mayor’s objective of clean governance entails embedding a culture of integrity and ethical behaviour, which will be aided by the city’s appointed group governance head Raj Pillay, who Mashaba said would champion ethics in the city.
Nicola Dickon, representing the Auditor-General South Africa’s office, however, said the Auditor General had found that noncompliance with supply chain management legislation remained widespread across the City of Joburg’s entities, as did material noncompliance with legislation on “implementing consequence” with wrongdoing within the entity, while eight out of the 12 entities still struggled with irregular expenditure.
Irregular expenditure totalled R1.9-billion in the 2017/18 financial year, compared with R1.2-billion in the 2016/17 financial year, with the City of Joburg itself and City Power being the biggest culprits in overspending budgets.
Meanwhile, looking forward, the City of Joburg plans to achieve economic growth of 5% a year by 2021, which will reduce unemployment. This will be aided by the mayor’s Inner City Revitalization Programme, which has seen 154 buildings released to the private sector for housing and student accommodation developments.