Year into the job, mayor still buoy­ant

Mashaba keeps eye on his goals

Sowetan - - News - By Mpho Sibany­oni ■ sibany­onim@sowe­tan.co.za

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

/SANDILE NDLOVU

Jo­han­nes­burg mayor Her­man Mashaba speaks about im­prove­ments af­ter a year in of­fice.

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