Mayor Solly Msimanga, alongside National Press Club chairman Jos Charle, says the DA has cut the city's R2.1 billion deficit. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/ANA
Pretoria - Executive mayor Solly Msimanga says he is not oblivious to the fact that he too could be hit with a motion of no confidence like his counterpart in Johannesburg, mayor Herman Mashaba.

“It can happen to me any time, I have never been naive about it. It is not something I think about often, but I can’t say it hasn’t crossed my mind."

He was addressing members of the press on his one-year tenure at the National Press Club on Thursday, in response to questions on fears about his fate in office.

Msimanga was also speaking against the backdrop of EFF councillors staying away from a city council meeting, which had to be abandoned after the ANC also walked out.

Msimanga said the DA remained committed to working with other opposition parties. The stay-away by EFF councillors from council meetings was not an insurmountable issue.

The EFF’s boycott of municipal council meetings in DA-led metros followed the removal of the UDM’s Mongameli Bobani through a motion of no confidence at the Nelson Mandela Bay metro last week. It was brought by Patriotic Alliance member Marlon Daniels and supported by the DA.

“Some might want to see me out because of the positive work the DA has done in the capital city since last August. The opposition would want to destabilise a progressive working party which is the DA,” said Msimanga.

Plans to destabilise the DA-led city administration were seen constantly by people trying to “hijack” municipal projects, he said.

Projects were being hijacked daily, he said. “Some people don’t want to go through the right processes of tender bidding and getting jobs. Once a contract is awarded in a particular area, objectors will go and stop the project,” said Masimanga.

Subsequently, Msimanga said, most communities then ridiculed and blamed him for not delivering.

He said the northern parts of the city, including Mabopane, Winterveldt, Ga-Rankuwa and Soshanguve were inundated with people stopping waste trucks from removing waste because they said they had to be sub contracted.

Another of Msimanga’s frustrations was the lack of response when it came to other issues that the city has been raising with various spheres of government. “We've been trying to fast-track the upgrading of Rooiwal so we can get public participation going.

“We've already done the specs we were ready to issue a tender, there were already three companies shortlisted. Then the government department put a hold on us.”

Msimanga said the relationships at various levels were not in sync and that was a big stumbling block. “Some departments play political games at the expense of service delivery,” he said.

On a lighter note, Msimanga boasted that the city had made a considerable amount of change.

He said in one year, he had managed to turn around a massive budget deficit by cutting out frivolous spending and ghost staff members.

Unauthorised expenditure declined from R1.6billion in the 2015/16 financial year to R634million in the 2016/17 financial year, he said.

“We started off with a R2.1billion deficit. We have turned the corner in one year,” he said.

Among the other items he listed were plans which were under way for the first fire station in Mamelodi.

He also said 2804 families had received title deeds to their homes and were now formal home owners.

More than 80% of the city's households have access to electricity, he said.

“We also handed over the newly constructed Soshanguve Block JJ clinic to the Gauteng Department of Health and saw through the completion of Zithobeni clinic,” said Msimanga.

The mayor said he had also met the community of Mahube in Mamelodi where informal settlers were illegally drawing water and electricity from formal homes.

“We have reached a win-win situation which we will be revealing soon,” he said.

Pretoria News