IN his first state of the city address, Executive Mayor Parks Tau is expected to echo President Jacob Zuma on job creation initiatives, infrastructure development projects and improving municipal services.

Tau delivers his speech at 11am on Thursday, 22 March at the Council Chambers in Braamfontein. Among the major issues he is expected to include are the integrated waste management plan, safety and security, civic participation as the cornerstone of a democratic municipality, a prospective shift to low carbon infrastructure, and urban management.

He will likely announce infrastructure projects the City will embark on and explain how the municipality will contribute to the national drive to create jobs. He is expected to give a detailed account of how municipal services have improved, successes of the past year and challenges with which the City is still grappling.

Tau will also give details on the City’s plan to merge some of its institutions, a move to lighten the cumbersome burden of governance and the duplication of roles. Ultimately, this is expected to improve the efficacy of municipal administration.

“He is likely to briefly reflect on the past decade and the progress Joburg has made, highlight challenges faced by the City and necessary adaptations, improving the City’s and clients’ experiences and the GDS Joburg 2040,” says the council spokesperson, Virgil James.

Billing issues

Progress on the roadmap to billing health and some of the council’s endeavours to improve service delivery, including repairing portholes and fixing traffic lights, are other topics that he is expected to raise.

Other topics are how the City has spent its estimated capital budget of R33-billion in building and maintaining infrastructure, maintaining open spaces and cutting grass, reducing power outages, cleaning informal settlements and addressing illegal dumping, to list a few of its undertakings.

He will also reflect on the Joburg 2040 blueprint. The eight-week public consultations that led to the plan, and its adoption as official municipal policy, opened public discourse on key challenges confronting the city. Input was received from the public and other stakeholders on how best to administer Johannesburg over the next 30 years.

The adoption of Joburg 2040 as the City’s official business plan is arguably Tau’s overarching endeavour. He took up office after the local government elections in May last year.

Although Tau has attended the opening of the council over the years, this will be his first address as its political head. Proceedings will start about 10.25am, when the mayoral cavalcade will assemble at the corner of Bertha and Jorissen streets in Braamfontein. It will then go up Jorissen Street towards the Metro Centre on Civic Boulevard.


At the Metro Centre piazza, Tau and his wife, Pilisiwe Twala-Tau, will take a salute from metro police and emergency services drill squads and then lay a wreath in commemoration of officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. Thereafter they will proceed into the Council Chambers for his address at 11am.

The council Speaker, Constance Bapela, will officially open the council for the year and welcome guests before the mayor delivers his state of the city.

Bapela says: “Although the council of Johannesburg has already met this year, the formal opening is when the executive mayor delivers his state of the city address.” It sets targets for what should be achieved in a particular calendar year.

The state of the city address will be broadcast live on Kaya 95.9fm and several community radio stations: Alex 89.1fm, Eastwave 92.2fm, Eldos 87.6fm, Islam 1548mv, Jozi 105.8fm, Mix/Midrand 102.3fm, Radio Today 1485am and Thetha 100.6fm.

It will be also shown live at Diepsloot, Orange Farm, Thokoza and Ivory Park parks, and in Westbury Recreation Centre and Jabulani Civic Centre.

“I encourage residents to tune in to their favourite community radio station from 11am or watch the event live in certain fan parks and recreation centres,” says Bapela.