Fu­ture rosy for Tsh­wane un­der the DA, says mayor

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - RAPULA MOATSHE

BE­ING the mayor of the cap­i­tal city has been a learn­ing curve for mayor Solly Msi­manga, he con­ceded yes­ter­day. But the road ahead looked rosy and res­i­dents would be treated like VIPs.

Msi­manga was mark­ing the end of the first year since his DA wrested Tsh­wane from the ANC in the 2016 mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions.

May­ors in charge of the DA-led mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties were re­port­ing back on their per­for­mance since they came into power. Msi­manga said since be­ing sworn in as mayor, he had to learn a lot.

“When we took over the city, we knew there were things we knew that we knew, and that there were things we knew we didn’t know. But then there are things that we got to know that we knew we didn’t know,” he said.

While the road trav­elled so far had not been smooth, largely due to a R2 bil­lion bud­get deficit in­her­ited from the ANC ad­min­is­tra­tion, Msi­manga ex­pressed op­ti­mism about the fu­ture.

“When the DA took over in Tsh­wane, the cap­i­tal city was on the verge of bank­ruptcy with a deficit in ex­cess of R2bn due to two decades of reck­less gov­er­nance by the ANC,” he said.

His ad­min­is­tra­tion, he said, be­gan ad­dress­ing a mul­ti­tude of cost-cut­ting prob­lems to help sta­bilise the city and grow its econ­omy – and the peo­ple of Tsh­wane could look for­ward to be­ing treated as “VIPs”.

He added that they would get bet­ter ser­vice than they ever had.

Un­der his lead­er­ship, the city had made ef­forts to at­tract in­vest­ments worth R2.29bn in just nine months.

He said the in­vest­ments, which would as­sist in job-cre­ation, had ex­ceeded the set tar­get to at­tract at least R10.5bn in five years.

Msi­manga ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion in the way the DA had run the city dur­ing the year in au­thor­ity, hint­ing that bet­ter ser­vice de­liv­ery projects were in store for res­i­dents.

“This is just the be­gin­ning of things to come in this ad­min­is­tra­tion,” Msi­manga said.

He lamented that the city had in­her­ited an al­most R700 mil­lion broad­band con­tract from the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“The city is work­ing to get on a solid le­gal and fi­nan­cial foot­ing so we can con­tinue with the roll-out of Tsh­wane’s free WiFi project in a way that does not threaten to bank­rupt the city,” he said.

Msi­manga added that the aim was to pro­lif­er­ate WiFi offering to en­sure that more res­i­dents had ac­cess to it and to date, the city had iden­ti­fied 1 000 spots in need of WiFi in­stal­la­tion.

“The city is also ex­tri­cat­ing it­self from a R2bn smart me­ter con­tract which was found to be ir­reg­u­lar by the au­di­tor-gen­eral. Le­gal pro­ceed­ings are un­der way and we are op­ti­mistic that this will put the city in a much bet­ter po­si­tion to pro­vide af­ford­able and sus­tain­able elec­tric­ity to our peo­ple,” he said.

The city had also un­cov­ered mas­sive cor­rup­tion, he pointed out. “Th­ese in­clude the city hall scan­dal, the R30m shoe pol­ish de­ba­cle, as well as the Di­no­keng Tribe One-Nicki Mi­naj fi­asco that cost the res­i­dents in ex­cess of R60m, which is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

The ex­trav­a­gant may­oral man­sion lo­cated in Muck­leneuk was in the process of be­ing sold to free up much-needed funds for the city, he said.

Al­though “blue lights” were banned, it was only Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma who could use them in Pretoria, as he was al­lowed to in terms of cer­tain laws of the coun­try, Msi­manga said.

More than 2 804 ti­tle deeds had to date been handed over to ben­e­fi­cia­ries, and the city planned to de­liver at least 6 000 more in the 2017/18 fi­nan­cial year.

“The city is cre­at­ing 23 000 Ex­panded Pub­lic Works job op­por­tu­ni­ties to al­le­vi­ate burden of poverty and en­sure peo­ple can find work,” Msi­manga said.

In part­ner­ship with Eskom, the city had en­sured that more than 80% of house­holds had ac­cess to elec­tric­ity.

Msi­manga said more than R13m has been in­vested in the restora­tion of wa­ter in­fra­struc­ture, among other achieve­ments.


BIG IM­PROVE­MENT: Mayor Solly Msi­manga, left, shares a light mo­ment with DA leader Mmusi Maimane at a progress re­port-back ses­sion in the met­ros gov­erned by the party.

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