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Pikitup, City Power, Joburg Water integrated

Politics
Johannesburg - Joburg’s entities such as Pikitup, City Power and Johannesburg Water are soon to be dissolved and the staff reintegrated into the city.

Mayor Herman Mashaba has stated that the city will be “extremely sensitive to the issue of employment and there must not be job losses in this process”.

At the monthly council meeting on Thursday, the city took the first step, agreeing to start the feasibility studies, while the ANC voted against the move.

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It will improve delivery, mayor Herman Mashaba says.

Mashaba said the Joburg metro had a complicated structure of municipal-owned entities (MOUs), with an even more complicated relationship with the core of the city.

The city was the sole shareholder of these entities, but they operated under the Companies Act and were semi-autonomous of the city, he pointed out.

Each of these MOUs has a board of directors to whom the managing directors or chief executives report. It is these boards that direct the activities and not the city.

Mashaba has questioned how a city can be responsible and accountable to its residents for fast-tracking service delivery when it does not have complete control over the entities that implement service delivery.

In presenting the report to the council, he said it represented “an important component of the new administration’s approach to overhauling service delivery in Joburg and to improve performance”.

“Service delivery has been too slow. With the challenges we have inherited in our city, the governance structure of entities is cumbersome and inefficient.

"To turn around our high levels of unemployment we need a government that acts swiftly in delivering its services and is willing to make the bold decisions required to achieve this," Mashaba said.

“Boards have all the powers of directing service delivery through these entities with zero accountability to the residents,” he added.

Other cities, such as Cape Town and eThekwini, did not have board structures and this approach tended to fast-track service delivery. The trend countrywide among metros had been to bring these entities within the city structures, the mayor said.

The process of reintegrating entities will take up to 18 months.

The report spells out in detail the process to be followed, which includes the formation of task teams, both administrative and political, and feasibility studies to assess the impact of integration and advise on the best model of management to ensure seamless transition.

It would also mean public consultation, so that the city could engage with residents, and involve de-registering of these companies.

“Each and every step will be conducted with the best interests of our residents as the key consideration,” said Mashaba.

The non-executive directors on the boards would be the only individuals to lose their positions during this process. This would save the city millions of rand annually, with the salaries of non-executive board members totalling R18million in the current financial year.

“This saving of public money each year will be redirected to improving service delivery and infrastructure. I have no doubt that this is what we need to do to correct the sluggish and unresponsive nature of the service delivery in our city,” the mayor added.

ANC city spokesperson Jolidee Matongo said his party welcomed the study to improve service delivery. “We interacted with Mashaba over the report. But the DA has already taken the decision to dissolve these entities, so what is the point of a report?” he asked.

The Star

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