Tau takes oath of office


Trees soften the square, providing shade for those using it
Parks Tau is poised to move the City on to a new developmental growth path
MPHO Franklin Parks Tau is the newly elected executive mayor of Johannesburg, beginning his five-year term on 19 May, the day after the local government elections.

Tau was elected and sworn in as mayor on Thursday, 26 May at the council chambers in Braamfontein. He takes over from Amos Masondo, who served for 10 years, the only Joburg mayor to have occupied office for that long.

In his acceptance speech, Tau said he was poised to move the City on to a new developmental growth path. “It will not be business as usual,” he vowed.

He was willing to work together with all political parties and stakeholders, he said. “This will enable us to find workable solutions for the diverse range of developmental challenges facing Joburg as we move towards our vision to become a world class African city.”

Significant achievements under Masondo’s tenure were also highlighted, with Tau noting that the City had successfully established a record of efficient and accountable administration, stabilised finances, moved from a qualified audit position to a report without qualifications, pioneered the concept of municipal bonds, revitalised the inner city, attracted new investment, significantly reduced crime levels and took strong action against urban grime and decay.

At present, 95 percent of Joburg citizens had access to basic services, including quality water, reliable electricity and decent sanitation, he said. Other achievements included changing the city’s landscape, through the construction of the Nelson Mandela Bridge, the revitalisation of Constitution Hill, Newtown and Brickfields, to list a few. Joburg also now had an effective Bus Rapid Transit system that offered residents a safe, fast and affordable alternative.

Mixed housing developments like Cosmo City and Lufhereng had been built and about 200 000 trees had been planted to address greening imbalances.

“We transformed Johannesburg into a desirable destination for trade tourism and investment, a proud and successful host of major events,” he said, adding that the myriad accolades the City had received in the past decade bore testimony to its successes.

Tau said he had been proud to serve under Masondo and to associate himself with his legacy and track record. “In his words, the task for the new generation of leadership will be to build on this legacy and take the achievements of the city to a higher level.”

He had “every intention” of serving the people of Joburg guided by the vision of the ANC, to create a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa, free of the ills of the injustices of the past. “I want to give the people of Joburg the assurance that we will not let up in our efforts to help create a better Joburg through the building of better communities.”


Tau noted that he was “well aware of the issues that need to be addressed”. His priorities would be turning around the City’s billing system, refurbishing and replacing obsolete infrastructure, and continuing with the provision of basic services. The quality of roads would be scrutinised and the ever-increasing potholes would be patched up. Broken traffic lights would be repaired and culverts and storm water drains would be cleaned.

Rea Vaya would be extended to ensure that all communities had access to safe, affordable and reliable public transport. “We will address environmental concerns and together with other spheres of government and the private sector, find solutions for pressing issues such as acid mine drainage.”

Tau said his administration would redouble its efforts to improve the quality of interaction with residents and clients. “We will do so in the spirit of Batho Pele,” he said, adding that management and staff would be held accountable for the quality of service delivery.

“All of this will be done within the context of fiscal responsibility and according to the high standards of prudent financial management we have set ourselves. We successfully weathered the storm of the deepest economic recession in recent history.”

He said the City’s primary focus would remain “firmly fixed” on human development and improving the quality of life of all people across all regions.

“You should expect this administration to focus very strongly [on] and introduce measures and programmes to address issues of social exclusion and underdevelopment. Thus we [will] continue to pay special attention to programmes that alleviate endemic poverty, widen the net of our expanded social package, address issues related to child-headed households and people living with and affected by HIV and Aids,” he explained.

“I am a humbled and honoured to serve this great city of Johannesburg into this exciting new era, this as we enter the second decade of the 21st century.”

Johannesburg was poised for an exciting new chapter in its history. “We as elected representatives are presented with the opportunity to help shape the future of our city. I am confident that we will be up to this task and that we will not disappoint the trust placed in us by the people of Joburg.”Tau said the time had come for the council, the new mayoral committee and each and every employee of Johannesburg to roll up their sleeves and dedicate themselves to the task at hand. “The people of Joburg deserve this from all of us.”

Prior to being elected Joburg mayor, Tau served under the administration of Masondo as the portfolio head of finance. Tau was opposed as Joburg mayor by the Democratic Alliance’s mayoral candidate, Mmusi Maimane, whom he toppled in secret ballots in council on 26 May.

“Now that the votes have been cast and counted it is time to put our differences aside and unite in the service of the residents of our great city. Joburg deserves only the best efforts from everybody, whether they are in the political leadership, in management, in all positions within our administration and across the spectrum of our partners in business, labour, the faith-based community and civil society,” he said.