In response to the Cape Argus leader piece, “City of Cape Town deserves better than Mayor Dan Plato“ which appeared on page 14 of Thursday’s newspaper edition, let me provide some facts.
In 2020 the entire world was caught off guard by a global pandemic that had devastating consequences for everyone.
We rapidly adapted our systems to ensure continued service delivery to residents and implemented a range of interventions, including personal protective equipment provision for our front-line staff, innovative remote-working solutions, being the first city in the country to take council meetings online, and running a major humanitarian relief project, largely due to the national government’s shortcomings.
We supported local businesses wherever possible, and provided thousands of Covid-19 safety kits, masks, hand sanitisers and safety signage. We lobbied the national government to scrap their race-based financial aid for businesses, but they refused.
City staff worked overtime and on weekends to clear service delivery backlogs created by the national government’s disaster regulations, which prevented some staff from working. We processed a year’s worth of vehicle licences in six months – no other city in South Africa achieved this. We hired additional contractors and rolled out an extensive pothole repair campaign.
Between March and July 2020 (hard lockdown), we approved R5.2 billion worth of building plans to ensure the construction industry, a major employer in Cape Town, wouldn’t waste any time when returning to work after the national government lowered lockdown levels.
By working with our strategic business partners, we facilitated investments worth R11.27bn into Cape Town, created 7 631 jobs and trained about 3 000 people during 2020.
We allocated R35 million towards critical food aid relief and supported 250 plus soup kitchens to feed more than 200 000 residents in need every single day during lockdown.
Show me another City in South African that can claim these accolades. Over the past two years we have regained the trust of our residents and have seen a welcome improvement in the satisfaction survey conducted, with an improvement in all categories on which we are rated. Since I became mayor, the City received two consecutive unqualified audits, confirming our good governance.
There is no denying these are tough times, but we do all we can to ensure we continue delivering the best services possible to residents.
Regarding the political stunt in Ocean View, we knew beforehand about the planned disruption of a community-driven neighbourhood watch walkabout. Regardless, I still engaged the disruptors in a respectful manner (conveniently not shown on their edited video), but they weren’t interested in hearing any responses, so we continued with the walkabout. I attend regular community engagements, predominantly in communities that need our support most, while doing my utmost to visit all communities as often as possible.
These take place after regular meetings with the City’s top management to ensure we address the most pressing service delivery matters and implement plans to address shortcomings.
* Dan Plato, Executive Mayor of Cape Town.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.
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