Pik­itup, City Power, Joburg Wa­ter in­te­grated

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - ANNA COX @an­na­cox

JOBURG’s en­ti­ties such as Pik­itup, City Power and Johannesburg Wa­ter are soon to be dis­solved and the staff rein­te­grated into the city.

Mayor Her­man Mashaba has stated that the city will be “ex­tremely sen­si­tive to the is­sue of em­ploy­ment and there must not be job losses in this process”.

At the monthly coun­cil meet­ing on Thurs­day, the city took the first step, agree­ing to start the fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies, while the ANC voted against the move.

Mashaba said the Joburg metro had a com­pli­cated struc­ture of mu­nic­i­pal-owned en­ti­ties (MOUs), with an even more com­pli­cated re­la­tion­ship with the core of the city.

The city was the sole share­holder of these en­ti­ties, but they op­er­ated un­der the Com­pa­nies Act and were semi-au­tonomous of the city, he pointed out.

Each of these MOUs has a board of di­rec­tors to whom the man­ag­ing di­rec­tors or chief ex­ec­u­tives re­port. It is these boards that di­rect the ac­tiv­i­ties and not the city.

Mashaba has ques­tioned how a city can be re­spon­si­ble and ac­count­able to its res­i­dents for fast-track­ing ser­vice de­liv­ery when it does not have com­plete con­trol over the en­ti­ties that im­ple­ment ser­vice de­liv­ery.

In pre­sent­ing the re­port to the coun­cil, he said it rep­re­sented “an im­por­tant com­po­nent of the new ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ap­proach to over­haul­ing ser­vice de­liv­ery in Joburg and to im­prove per­for­mance”.

“Ser­vice de­liv­ery has been too slow. With the chal­lenges we have in­her­ited in our city, the gov­er­nance struc­ture of en­ti­ties is cum­ber­some and in­ef­fi­cient.

“To turn around our high lev­els of un­em­ploy­ment we need a gov­ern­ment that acts swiftly in de­liv­er­ing its ser­vices and is will­ing to make the bold de­ci­sions re­quired to achieve this,” Mashaba said.

“Boards have all the pow­ers of direct­ing ser­vice de­liv­ery through these en­ti­ties with zero ac­count­abil­ity to the res­i­dents,” he added.

Other cities, such as Cape Town and eThek­wini, did not have board struc­tures and this ap­proach tended to fast-track ser­vice de­liv­ery. The trend coun­try­wide among met­ros had been to bring these en­ti­ties within the city struc­tures, the mayor said.

The process of rein­te­grat­ing en­ti­ties will take up to 18 months.

The re­port spells out in de­tail the process to be fol­lowed, which in­cludes the for­ma­tion of task teams, both ad­min­is­tra­tive and po­lit­i­cal, and fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies to as­sess the im­pact of in­te­gra­tion and ad­vise on the best model of man­age­ment to en­sure seam­less tran­si­tion.

It would also mean pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion, so that the city could en­gage with res­i­dents, and in­volve de-reg­is­ter­ing of these com­pa­nies.

“Each and ev­ery step will be con­ducted with the best in­ter­ests of our res­i­dents as the key con­sid­er­a­tion,” said Mashaba.

The non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tors on the boards would be the only in­di­vid­u­als to lose their po­si­tions dur­ing this process. This would save the city mil­lions of rand an­nu­ally, with the salaries of non-ex­ec­u­tive board mem­bers to­talling R18 mil­lion in the cur­rent fi­nan­cial year.

“This sav­ing of pub­lic money each year will be redi­rected to im­prov­ing ser­vice de­liv­ery and in­fra­struc­ture. I have no doubt that this is what we need to do to cor­rect the slug­gish and un­re­spon­sive na­ture of the ser­vice de­liv­ery in our city,” the mayor added.

ANC city spokesper­son Jolidee Ma­tongo said his party wel­comed the study to im­prove ser­vice de­liv­ery. “We in­ter­acted with Mashaba over the re­port. But the DA has al­ready taken the de­ci­sion to dis­solve these en­ti­ties, so what is the point of a re­port?” he asked.

OVER­HAUL: It will im­prove de­liv­ery, mayor Her­man Mashaba says.

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