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IN the nine months that Parks Tau has been executive mayor of Johannesburg, the provision of service delivery has improved, a new model of institutional transition has been implemented and the 30-year growth and development blueprint has been adopted.

Executive mayor Parks TauExecutive mayor Parks Tau“We gave ourselves the opportunity early on in the new term of office to focus on improving service delivery provision, while at the same time acknowledging that we will be undergoing a process of institutional transition,” said Tau, reporting to the annual general meeting of the South African Cities Network.

He was giving an account of developments in the 2010/2011 fiscal year on Friday, 9 March in Sandton.

He said following the May 2011 local government elections, the council decided to reaffirm the desired institutional structure of the City in terms of the iGoli 2002 model, which sought to restore its financial health and sustainability, and improve administration and the delivery of basic services.

“We decided to maintain a model that allows for service delivery through agencies owned by the City, except that we need to ensure that we find efficiencies,” the mayor told the meeting, which was also attended by mayors of other metropolitan municipalities.

He said a decision was taken to disestablish smaller companies in the City where the private company governance model had become cumbersome. The Promusica Theatre in Roodepoort, the Joburg Theatre Complex in Braamfontein and the Soweto Theatre, which is nearing completion, would be merged into one institution. The Johannesburg Zoo would also be disestablished and merged with City Parks.

“The idea was to remove the cumbersome burden of governance in the way we have it,” he said.

“Institutionally that’s where we are. We have reaffirmed the model, we have begun the process of recruiting, re-establishing the boards and we intend to finalise the process latest next month and ensure that all the processes of recruitment and institutional stabilisation takes place,” he explained.

Public consultations and debates on whether this was the appropriate model for the City would be undertaken in the latter part of the year or early next year. “The debate about the efficacy of the Joburg institutional model for local governance and service provision will always be a raging debate, we might as well open it,” Tau said.

The meeting, which was held in camera, allowed the mayors to network and share ideas about best practice. Tau also spoke about the City’s long-term Growth and Development Strategy, which was launched in October last year, Joburg 2040.

Executive mayor Parks Tau speaks about the institutional transition that is being undertaken in the City to improve administration and bring efficiency at the annual general meeting of the South African Cities Network held in Sandton on Friday, 9 March. View video.
He said public consultations on the vision had included all residents and stakeholders and had yielded positive results.

It defined four key areas of intervention and desired outcomes, namely governance, economic growth and employment creation, social development, and sustainable human settlements and spatial restructuring. “We have then reorganised our governance models to respond to that sort of agenda that seeks to drive those outcomes.”

He said although expected outcomes had been defined in the strategy, the challenge remained implementation and focusing on an outcome-based agenda. “That’s proven to be fairly tricky,” he said.

“To move a ship from moving in a particular trajectory and say let’s change course in an institution that is above R30-billion with 27 000 employees, established structures and institutional models is not always easy.”

A decision had been taken that after 2011, the City would break down the strategy from boulders to pebbles and the granules, he said. This had proved to be time consuming and tedious. As a result the City had identified flagship programmes to anchor the Growth and Development Strategy while departments were being institutionalised to ease service delivery.