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On the agenda are investment in roads and water, a push for energy efficiency, the building of economic and industrial nodes in developing areas and more police officers in every ward.
INVESTMENT in water reticulation systems, storm water drains, electricity substations, the road infrastructure network and waste treatment plants will be expedited in an effort to stimulate economic activity and create an enabling business environment for economic growth.

Executive mayor Parks Tau and Council Speaker Constance Bapela during opening of Council (Photo: Enoch lehung, City of Johannesburg)Executive mayor Parks Tau and Council Speaker Constance Bapela during opening of Council (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)These are some of the myriad flagship projects and initiatives that will anchor Executive Mayor Parks Tau’s five-year term of office. He made the announcement when delivering his first State of the City address on Thursday, 22 March.

The mayor was detailing some of the City’s achievements in the past year and some challenges it was making strides in.

He said since the year 2000, the City has invested in infrastructure and housing development; however poverty remained and inequality had increased steadily. Going into the future, the City would focus attention on a new service delivery approach, reprioritising expenditure to address revenue maximisation, infrastructure development and underdevelopment.

Retrofitting buildings
Among the flagship projects announced is the plan to retrofit buildings with energy efficient and eco-friendly devices in an effort to enforce energy efficiency measures and invest in new and cleaner technologies. Tau said the City will start by retrofitting all Council-owned buildings to set a precedent.

“We will implement measures to ensure the efficient and effective utilisation of energy as well as reduction of usage and shift towards diversification of energy sources, which will also contribute to our revenue optimisation, greater service delivery and reduced carbon emissions,” he explained.

ElectricityThe demand for electricity is growing as Joburg expandsThe City will also implement electricity demand-side management measures and smart metering across the municipality. “The introduction of new technology in households as well as time of use management will be rolled out across the City in the medium term,” he said.

People would be incentivised for separating their waste, either through a food voucher or direct payment from recycling. Tau said a number of educational and awareness campaigns, including recycling initiatives, would be intensified to get communities involved.

The City wants to reduce the proportion of income its poorer residents spend on transport, decrease traffic congestion by investing in new and efficient transport options and enhance the urban environment.

Viable economy
He said trade, manufacturing, construction, transport and tourism had been identified as engines for viable economic growth. “We will be targeting labour-absorbing activities as well as promoting innovation through green economy initiatives,” Tau said.

The City will spearhead regional economic development in Ruimsig, Cosmo City, Sunninghill and Diepsloot.

A regional economic node will be built in Lanseria and will be anchored by hotels, a conference centre, a research and development park, an agriculture hub, a shopping mall, aerospace innovation and a training hub and medical precinct. Existing runways will be upgraded.

Joburg is a prime destination for both local and international touristsJoburg is a prime destination for both local and international touristsTau announced that greater Alexandra will benefit from a new multimillion rand retail development, the Alexandra Shopping Mall at Vincent Tshabalala Road. He said both that suburb and greater Ivory Park will profit from new automotive industrial node developments.

The community of Poortjie, in the southern quadrant of the municipality, will get a retail facility.

Municipal broadband
Municipal broadband will be rolled out under the Joburg Broadband Network project to reduce high telecommunication costs and stimulate the development of small, micro and medium enterprises and employment creation.

“It will also give the City an opportunity to provide access to disadvantaged youth and adults who must become familiar with and use information communications and technology in order to be more competitive for jobs,” the mayor said.

At least 10 police officers will be deployed per ward throughout the city to work with community policing forums, street patrollers, neighbourhood watches and all security sector people based at ward level, including security companies contracted to households.

“This is to ensure crime prevention is achieved and to develop creative ways of taking back the streets in our city,” he said.

He said the City was still grappling with rapid population growth and migration. “The growth in our population implies an increasing urgency for us to develop and expand our socio-economic infrastructure.”

The municipality was working with national and provincial government, the Independent Development Trust and the Global Coalition for Health and other partners to address poverty and health issues.

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