JOHANNESBURG has graduated at the top of its class this year, coming first in the metropolitan municipal productivity index for the fifth consecutive year.
This is according to the data and intelligence service company, Municipal IQ, which specialises in monitoring and assessment of all the municipalities in South Africa.
Joburg was rated against the eight other metropolitan municipalities, including Cape Town, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni. eThekwini and Cape Town came in second and third, respectively.
“Most metros fall within a close range of each other, sometimes beating each other by mere decimal points, but Johannesburg takes a clear first place with a combination of robust local economic conditions and resilient spending,” the managing director of Municipal IQ, Kevin Allan, says in a press release.
The index takes into account five factors: poverty levels and the municipal response to poverty; access to a minimum level of municipal services; economic intelligence, which is the infrastructure used by residents to participate in the economy; financial governance and expenditure levels by local council; and vacancy rates in the municipality.
“The results reflect the gains the City is making in the provision of human and strategic infrastructure to facilitate development in its endeavours to build a resilient, liveable, sustainable urban environment – underpinned by infrastructure supportive of a low carbon economy,” says the City spokesperson, Nthatisi Modingoane.
There is a number of initiatives Joburg has implemented to care for the poor, the biggest of which is the social services package, Siyasizana. It is a basket of benefits for residents earning under R3 861 a month and helps indigent households with free basic services such as water, electricity and sanitation.
This support indicates that local government is improving its developmental footprint, says Allan.
“To support productivity in the business sector, Johannesburg has made significant gains in the provision of public transport [Rea Vaya], safety and security [the roll-out of CCTV cameras] and communications [the City-wide broadband project],” Modingoane adds.
The municipal productivity index results largely fall in line with previous years. Results for 2011 remain largely the same as 2010, despite pressure from the recession on revenue streams.
Joburg’s stellar performance in the index also contributed to Gauteng overtaking the Western Cape as most productive province for the first time.
“Johannesburg’s status as ‘the most productive metro’ in South Africa confirms the growing confidence that local residents and the business community have in the quality of governance in the City,” Modingoane says.
“Confidence in the City will continue to grow as the current processes to roll out the revenue and billing roadmap intensify.”