Joburg residents are 'upbeat'


Rea Vaya is one of the City's biggest achievements so farRea Vaya is one of the City's biggest achievements so far

MOST households and businesses in Joburg are generally upbeat and are satisfied with the City's delivery of essential services, says mayoral spokesperson, Nkhensani Makhobela.

Makhobela notes that this is seen in the number of scientific surveys conducted by independent institutions, which measure the city's customer satisfaction levels. The surveys, conducted frequently over the past eight years, have enabled the municipality to identify key challenges and priority areas related to service delivery, and bolster its strategies.

"The City of Johannesburg has made considerable strides since the first mayoral term of 2000 to 2005 to the second mayoral term of 2006 to 2011," she says.

Municipal IQ states: "Johannesburg has shown improvement in customer satisfaction, albeit unevenly between services, and for this the City can be proud of areas of improvement. But like any metropolis in a developing country, its economic success acts as a draw-card for migrants who often fail to secure the better life that they sought, or at the very least wind up compromised in terms of crammed living conditions."

Municipal IQ is a web-based data and intelligence service specialising in monitoring and assessing South Africa's 283 municipalities. It targets municipalities and government regulators interested in municipal performance and the policy terrain in which they operate.

It measures the performance of municipalities on a range of socio-economic and financial issues and then compares and ranks one against the other. It again named Joburg South Africa's most productive city in its Municipal Productivity Index (MPI) in 2010, which quantifies the most productive places in which to work, live and invest.

Rea Vaya

Makhobela says indications of the City's delivery of services include the introduction of Rea Vaya, Africa's first Bus Rapid Transit system which has improved the efficiency of public transport. Rea Vaya operates energy efficient buses running at regular intervals on dedicated lanes, helping to combat traffic congestion and improve the quality of public transport.

The City's greening project saw 200 000 trees planted in Soweto (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)The City's greening project saw 200 000 trees planted in Soweto (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)

The City has set aside about R600-million for its expanded social package, Siyasizana, which gives social service subsidies to residents earning less than R3 366 a month. As part of the package, indigent households receive up to 15 kilolitres of free water per household a month and up to 150 kilowatts of free basic electricity. "In addition, significant progress has been made in creating emergency shelter for residents in the inner city," Makhobela says.

Siyasizana replaced the indigent subsidy programme, and enables even those without property accounts to apply for help.


Makhobela says Joburg's ambitious Greening of Soweto legacy project "has exceeded expectations". Through City Parks, it has planted more than 200 000 trees to improve the environment in the southern suburbs.

The Greening of Soweto started in 2006 when Executive Mayor Amos Masondo led the planting of 6 000 trees on pavements, streets and roads in Soweto. One of the aims was to plant 200 000 trees as a FIFA World Cup legacy to level the greening imbalance in the southern parts of the metro.

"We continue to rehabilitate and green the Jukskei and Klip rivers. We have secured the support of many partners who are willing to travel the journey with us to make the city of Johannesburg green, safe and clean. More than 10 new parks were developed and more parks and cemeteries were upgraded, clear evidence that the goal of a green city is being realised," she explains.

Joburg supports greening initiatives and has set up a green policy designed to green and clean the environment, reduce the energy load in buildings and reduce carbon emissions.

Through its Migrant Help Desk, the City chairs the Migration Advisory Committee which brings together Masondo, members of the mayoral committee, civil society groups, government departments and migrants.

The committee labours to ensure that migrants feel they are part of an inclusive city. Its objectives include developing a service frontline that gives migrants information on available services and conducting anti-xenophobia awareness campaigns.

Safety and security

And as part of bolstering safety and security in the inner city, more than 200 closed circuit television surveillance cameras have been installed and the area is permanently closely monitored.

The City successfuly hosted the 15 matches of the 2010 World Cup (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)The City successfuly hosted the 15 matches of the 2010 World Cup (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)

"The visibility of policing has also been increased through an operational plan that focuses [metro police] patrols at transport nodes, parks and areas with high incidents of crime. In the area of social crime prevention, metro police officers have been trained in victim support skills."

Makhobela says the City remains well placed for innovation and best practices in all aspects of delivery and leadership. "In the City we will continue working with residents to ensure the delivery of essential services and strengthening accountability and transparency."


These efforts and achievements have been recognised in a number of platforms: among others, Rea Vaya received the ITDP Sustainable Transport Award 2010 in Washington; and the Joburg Social Housing Company got the United Nations' 2010 Scroll of Honour Award for its holistic approach to providing decent settlements, which benefited almost 30 000 people in the metro.

The Johannesburg Development Agency won the Business and Arts South Africa Award for Innovation in 2010 for commissioning art by local artists for Rea Vaya stations; Joburg Water received an Isigidi Award for its Olifantsvlei Treatment Works project as the best managed large facility in the country; and the Alexandra Renewal Project got a Scroll of Honour Award from UN-Habitat in 2009, among others.

In addition, Joburg was a key role player in hosting the successful 2010 FIFA World Cup™. The kick off concert, first and final games, and opening and closing ceremonies were held here and about 15 matches overall were played at Soccer City and Ellis Park.

Makhobela says such acclaim suggests that the City is doing something right.

It received three consecutive unqualified audits from the auditor-general from 2007 to 2009. "The City continues to be committed to sound financial practices and management. We are hopeful that Joburg will receive another unqualified audit for the year 2010."

It has also established a section 79 committee that focuses on providing political quality assurance and scrutiny of all the work undertaken in the City.