City Manager reaches out to investors
There was a noticeable spring in Johannesburg City Manager Trevor Fowler’s step when he rose to address investors at the Hilton Hotel in Sandton on Wednesday 15 April.
Outlining the City’s strategic overview, Fowler said the City continued to rise to the occasion and tackled poverty, inequality and unemployment head-on. Its economy also grew by an estimated 2.6% compared with the country’s 1.9%.
Johannesburg is the biggest metro in South Africa and the main driver of economic growth, accounting for 16% of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Its population is estimated at 4.6 million people. Fowler said Johannesburg’s vision was to be a city that provided sustainability for all its inhabitants.
“It is encouraging to notice a decrease in poverty as indicated by the gini coefficient and dependency ratio. Of concern, however, is the unemployment rate at 24.5%%, with unemployment among the youth at 31.5%.
“A good story to tell is that efforts to combat crime are paying off and the city no longer features on lists of crime-ridden cities in the world. This has translated into huge spinoffs in tourism, which has also soared,” Fowler said.
Expanding on one of the City’s major priority of sustainable human settlements, Fowler said access to services remained above 90% on all key deliverables, including sanitation.
“Drinking water quality remains of highest possible standard at 99.8% of approved standards,” he said.
Further pleasing, Fowler said, was that the City had been able to surpass Extended Public Works Programme targets employing 10.2% more people than the target.
Other key achievements included:
The support of 4 281 SMMEs and 38 cooperatives, as well as the creation of 1 397 permanent jobs via SMMEs;
The facilitation of 2 300 youth job placements;
Completion of 10km of cycle lanes in Orlando East;
Attracting investment to the tune of R2.6 billion to the City;
The finalisation of three spatial area frameworks; and
Transporting an average of 23 660 passengers a day through the Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) system.
On the human and social development front, Fowler said more than 15 000 households were supported under the City’s Food Security Programme. At least 95 emerging farmers were receiving support.
“There is a 15.5% reduction in pneumonia cases. Assaults and robberies in areas covered by CCTV are down 37% and 28% respectively,” he said.
Another feather in the City’s hat is the reinforcement of its presence globally. Among other things, the City has been awarded the right to host this year’s Africities Summit, the biggest African local government gathering.