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2008-10-29: Growing roll-out of basic services in Johannesburg

Close on 80% of all people in Johannesburg now have access to quality water, adequate sanitation and electricity – and these figures are growing by the day, so said Johannesburg Executive Mayor, Cllr Amos Masondo while delivering the City of Johannesburg’s Mid-Term Report on Wednesday (29/10/08).

Mayor Masondo referred to the City’s commitment to eliminate all backlogs in accessing basic services. Among the targets the City has set for itself are:

    Achievement of 98% coverage of at least level-of-service (LOS) 1 for water;
    Achieve 95% coverage of at least LOS 1 for sanitation;
    Reduce reliance on chemical toilets to no more than 2% of the total population;
    Collect waste once a week from all formal and informal settlements by 2008;
    Distribute electricity to at least 95% of formalised households;
    Provide street lighting to 95% of formal areas in Johannesburg; and
    Provide street lighting to at least 60% of informal settlements.

At the end of 2007/08 about 84% of the 1 169 048 households in the City had access to water, and 76, 7% had access to adequate sanitation. A total of 78, 4% of all houses have electricity (inclusive of Eskom supplied areas).
“The efforts towards accelerating delivery and ensuring sustainable services through effective water and energy conservation will be strengthened,” Mayor Masondo said.

City Power has embarked on a programme to provide public lighting in informal settlements. All informal settlements are also receiving at least a once-a-week waste collection service in the form of bin liners and 85 litre bins. Pikitup is now providing a daily cleaning service to 71 of the 182 informal settlements.

The City is also working on ensuring that infrastructural networks function optimally. This requires day-to-day maintenance as well as proactive measures to address leakages and infrastructural inefficiencies.

The Service Delivery Improvement Programme was set out to reduce electricity billing losses from 3% to 1% and reduce electricity outages by 50% in 2010. City Power has reduced outages due to distribution infrastructure failures.

In the first three quarters of 2007/08, 52 unplanned electricity outages were recorded, representing almost a 50% reduction in the number of outages for the year. There has been a significant investment in electricity distribution infrastructure and network upgrades. City Power has worked with Eskom to implement a load shedding management plan and develop demand-side management policies to respond to the electricity shortages experienced in 2008. Prepaid electricity meters were installed in 19 170 homes during 2007/08.

Mayor Masondo said the City continued to roll out Operation Gcin’amanzi to reduce unaccounted for water. This involved a programme to introduce pre-paid water meters in Soweto, saving 38 billion litres in just over two years. Unfortunately water savings have slowed down because Operation Gcin’amanzi has been halted in response to a court ruling that deemed the pre-payment meters unconstitutional.  The judgment is being appealed.

City Power has developed an action campaign named Izinyoga that involves the installation of protective structures to prevent illegal connections. It is also pursuing a number of prosecutions dealing with illegal connections. The action campaign to remove illegal connections has met with some success, but has not significantly reduced electricity losses.

The City also embarked on a number of technologically innovative programmes that allow consumers to regulate – and ultimately reduce – their own demand for municipal services. Demand-side management has advantages for the City, for residents and ultimately for the environment.

“We are also working to reduce waste to landfill,” said Mayor Masondo.
 As a signatory to the Polokwane Declaration of 2001, the City is ultimately committed to the “Zero Waste” to landfill goal. Pikitup has successfully introduced waste minimisation, diverting, separation and recycling programmes. These include brokering an agreement with City Parks to divert green waste to garden sites; piloting diversion of commercial waste to a private recycling facility; establishing a partnership with Mondi to increase waste minimisation efforts; and repairing and upgrading dilapidated garden sites and weighbridges.