During his 10 years as mayor, Johannesburg has invested heavily in correcting imbalances of the past, bringing services to the previously underserviced, explains the outgoing mayor.
MORE Joburgers than ever before had access to basic services, including running water and sanitation and electricity and waste removal services, said Executive Mayor Amos Masondo, who is wrapping up his 10-year tenure and is preparing to hand over the City to a different administration after the 18 May local government elections.
Executive mayor Amos Masondo reflects on the past 10 yearsExecutive mayor Amos Masondo reflects on the past 10 years“We inherited a city that was deeply divided. People were excluded from amenities, from basic services and from participation in the mainstream of economic and social activities based on the colour of their skin,” he explained.
His work had been focused on addressing such imbalances; that’s why the City had made significant capital investments in improving the quality of life of its citizens. Expenditure on essential projects had over the past 10 years been increased to an average of 95 percent of the capital budget, with 62 percent of the total spent diverted towards infrastructural developments, Masondo said.
Of the R31-billion spent on capital projects in the last decade, R7-billion was directed to stabilising City Power’s distribution network, to reduce power outages. About R4,6-billion was spent on increasing access to water and sanitation and R507-million went to refuse removal, to cover areas previously not covered.
“In the past 10 years the City has taken great strides to continue to be committed to sound financial practices and management,” Masondo said.
Between 2006 and 2010, more than 29 000 households in informal settlements got access to basic water through communal standpipes and over 30 000 households were given access to basic sanitation. This increased the city’s percentage coverage to 98 percent of people with access to basic water and 91 percent with access to sanitation.
Most households are electrifiedMost households are electrifiedIn the same period, City Power powered more than 34 000 households and rolled out more than 25 000 public lights in targeted areas.
Its waste collection company, Pikitup, provided waste removal and management services to over 709 846 customers. About 185 738 Joburg households in informal settlements are serviced daily or at least three times a week. Pikitup also services 14 822 business customers around the city.
Each year, the utility collects about 281 705 tons of waste from illegal dumping spots. About 384 000 tons of rubbish have been collected from informal settlements over the past five years and a total of 1,6 million tons of waste are collected annually across the city.
Masondo said that in his 10 years at the helm, the municipality had been able to meet its targets of delivering free basic services to the poor and indigent communities. “This has ranged from 10 kilolitres of water to 100 kilowatts per hour of electricity, as well as the related relevant rebate on sanitation.”
The City had also laboured to upgrade obsolescent infrastructure and establish world-class infrastructure design and technology. The implementation of Rea Vaya had “indeed not just been an ordinary transport intervention”, said the mayor.
Rea Vaya is providing a safe and comfortable ride for commutersRea Vaya is providing a safe and comfortable ride for commutersAbout R3,6-billion was invested in transportation, mainly in the roll-out of an improved public transport system, Rea Vaya. Another R3,4-billion was set aside for general road maintenance as well as addressing backlogs in previously under serviced areas such as Orange Farm and Diepsloot.
Rea Vaya, the flagship mass transit system, had helped to reduce Joburg’s carbon footprint through the use of alternative energy conserving measures; it now connected communities across the city and helped to integrate the city’s transport system, Masondo explained.
“[Rea Vaya] also provides quality, cheaper, reliable, fast, safer and cleaner transport,” he said, adding that Rea Vaya had modernised Joburg’s transport system. The City planned to complete the remaining 5,4km Phase 1B roadway and the four remaining stations before the end of June.
As the largest municipality in the country, Joburg was of critical economic and strategic importance to South Africa, said Masondo, noting that it was the financial hub of the country and provided a vital gateway to the African continent as a whole.
“Going forward, the key strategic focus should be aimed at ensuring that the City becomes more financially resilient in an environment where there will be huge demands on our budgets,” he explained.
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