OUTGOING Executive Mayor Amos Masondo said his predecessor would have to be “utterly committed to service and the wellbeing of people” as he prepared to wrap-up his 10-year tenure.
Masondo was speaking at the release of Joburg’s End of Term Report, covering the years from 2006 until 7 April 2011, in Rosebank, northern Johannesburg. The report reviews the City’s performance in governance, finances, economic development, spatial form and urban management, environment, transportation, infrastructure and community development, housing, health, public safety and corporate and shared services.
In the last term, Masondo said the City had spent R31-billion on stabilising City Power’s distribution network, providing basic water and sanitation, and paying for refuse removal in areas previously not covered, among other things. It had improved the quality of public transport, upgraded and maintained roads and addressed service backlogs in Orange Farm and Diepsloot.
Joburg had registered a R13-billion domestic medium term note programme under which the sourcing of funds had been diversified to include commercial paper, floating rate notes, institutional bonds and Jozibonds. It had attained three consecutive unqualified audit reports from the auditor-general.
“The financial position of the City remains positive. This is evidenced by our investment grade credit ratings which have remained unchanged at AA- from the previous year with a stable outlook,” he said.
The “rise of the south had been marked by a series of milestones”, including the tarring of roads, planting more than 200 000 trees; refurbishing Dobsonville stadium; launching Rea Vaya; building the Soweto Theatre; providing mixed housing developments in Lufhereng and Lehae; formalising and regularising informal settlements; refurbishing the University of Joburg Soweto Campus; and providing housing in the Elias Motsoaledi settlement.
“Some may point to the many new shopping malls, others to the tarred streets and their tidy kerbs, others to the hundreds of thousands of trees and parks and others even the many new restaurants and the bubbling nightlife. These are all milestones and all unimaginable a mere two decades ago.”
Masondo said the City had embarked on a green agenda, starting with the planting of trees, clearing alien vegetation, protecting rivers and ecosystems and guarding and expanding open spaces.
Joburg needed to shift towards a low carbon and greener economy, he said.
It had spent R1,2-billion on upgrading infrastructure; the Urban Development Zone tax incentive had resulted in property investments valued at R8-billion.
It had rolled out the Expanded Social Package, which aimed to combat household poverty.
In health, Masondo said Joburg was regarded as the best performing municipality in the country for its implementation of the National TB Crisis Plan. Through the Johannesburg Mayoral Aids Fund, the City was committed to reducing the impact of HIV/Aids on orphans, child-headed households and destitute families, he said.
It was making strides in delivering basic services to all its communities.
It had developed an anti-fraud strategy and strengthened its internal systems and procedures. “Good governance also refers to the systems and procedures to ensure clean and ethical governance.”
In fighting corruption, nepotism and maladministration, Masondo said the City had strengthened procurement and supply chain management processes, and taken decisive and bold action against those found looting state resources.
Through regular mayoral road shows, it had listened directly to residents and was sensitised about the needs and concerns of local communities.
“Socially, we need to enhance the ability of our communities to assimilate the presence of foreign migrants, migrants from rural areas and in general to cope and manage cultural, ethnic, religious and racial difference in neighbourhoods. Managing conflict is a key element of communities’ resilience.”
Going ahead, Masondo said City audits would no longer be confined to finances only, but would also review performance and service delivery.
Although his administration had done “a lot of work” in the term, much more work needed to be done. Going into the future, he said municipalities would be expected to be more responsive, effective and efficient.
The End of Term report is compiled as per recommendations of the Growth and Development Strategy and the Integrated Development Plan. The strategy informs all City strategic decision-making and budget allocation processes.