Year into the job, mayor still buoyant
Mashaba keeps eye on his goals
Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba is a man under pressure to deliver on the promises he made during last year’s local government elections.
From his council chamber offices in Braamfontein, Mashaba, literally, has his finger on the pulse of the central business district.
It is here where his efforts to attract investment to the inner city has put him on a collision course with some.
“People who are against this [the drive to rid [the] inner city of hijacked buildings and slum lords] are those who want to plunge this country into chaos.
“Anyone who wants me to provide accommodation for people of the world (foreign nationals), please give me the money. I’m not going to take the limited resources of the city to provide for the world,” he said.
Mashaba said there were 158 000 people in the city who lacked accommodation because they were poor.
“Some of them have been sitting on the waiting list for housing since 1996 and I’m not going to allow anyone to get ahead of them.”
When the Sowetan team met him on Wednesday afternoon, he said he had been meeting businesspeople, investors and residents to deal with their issues.
In recent weeks, the City of Johannesburg has come under heavy criticism amid power cuts in the CBD caused by cable theft.
Also last week, the ANC tried and failed to get the council to hear a motion of no confidence against him.
Mashaba alleged that the motion of no confidence was brought by ANC members who wanted to prevent him from exposing corruption.
Asked about the city’s unsuccessful labour court application for leave to appeal a judgment in favour of its suspended ombudsman S’du Gumede on Wednesday, Mashaba said the city would file another appeal.
The court had in June ruled that the suspension of Gumede was unlawful.
Mashaba, however, said as soon as his administration “starts cleaning-up, which includes replacing the head of legal, the city will stop losing cases”.
He claimed that when he came into office he found a senior management team who thought they were working for the ANC instead of the city.
Mashaba denied that he was targeting managers associated with the ANC, arguing that he was willing to work with any professional who wanted to do their job.
The mayor counts among his successes the issuing of 2 000 title deeds to residents, the extension of operating hours of libraries and 16 clinics and that more than 1 700 potholes have been fixed.
“The biggest achievement for me was the passing of the budget …because of the R170billion infrastructure backlog with only R10-billion to address that, with housing backlog of over 300 000,” he said.
Mashaba described his budget as pro-poor, saying 60% of the capital expenditure budget was directed at poor communities.
‘‘ The city’s resources can’t provide for the world
Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba speaks about improvements after a year in office.