City of Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba was due to deliver his inaugural 2017 state of the city address in the brand-new council chamber. Picture: Matthews Baloyi/ANA Pictures
Johannesburg – City of Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba was due to deliver his inaugural 2017 State Of the City Address in the brand-new council chamber on Wednesday.

The mayor was expected to outline his new administration’s successes so far, as well as his plans for the 2017/18 financial year to turn the city around.

Mashaba has, in the past, always told councillors and residents that the city has been operating under delusions of grandeur, saying the previous administration was not living in a real world.

Mashaba has also always said there was no quick fix and that it was going to take a lot of time to turn the city around.

He was expected to outline in detail the city’s 10-point plan, announced last year, on how to achieve this.

Most importantly, the mayor has consistently emphasised that he wants to turn the city into a pro-poor one focusing on upgrading and improving conditions in the city’s 119 informal settlements. He will be spending up to 60% of the city’s capital expenditure in poor areas.

He has promised that, in line with the 10-point plan, there will be real and lasting progress in the city.

Mashaba was expected to focus his speech on the poor, which has always been his prime focus.

Other aspects Mashaba will probably be detailing are, according to his 100-day speech last year, plans to:

Achieve a minimum 5% economic growth, thereby reducing the unemployment rate.

Create a professional civil service involving the city’s 33 000 staff members to serve the residents of Joburg with pride.

Fix the billing problem because there are still 48 000 open queries, of which 26 000 are between 90 and 365 days old.

Ensure that corruption is public enemy No1. This has started with the establishment of a new internal investigations unit which has already exposed fraud and will be investigating a further 300 cases involving R10 billion.

Implement an open tender system.

Produce an official housing list as there are many who have been on waiting lists since 1996.

Produce a list of all semi-completed housing units within the city where construction has ground to a halt.

Fast-track delivery of title deeds to the beneficiaries of the city’s housing projects.

Pilot a project for clinics to operate for extended hours, which has already started.

Revitalise the inner city and bring people and businesses back into the heart of the city.

To improve security in the inner city and improve by-law enforcement through the hiring of an additional 1500 Joburg metro police department (JMPD) officers – recruitment is currently under way.

Increase the fight against drugs through the newly established, specialised K9 narcotics unit.

Continue the newly established rapid response unit, consisting of 600 JMPD officers, to ease traffic congestion.

Extend library hours in 10 major libraries.

Improve conditions in Slovo Park.

The Star