PRETORIA – South Africa’s capital city, Tshwane, is now in a good financial position – so said the Mayor Solly Msimanga as he delivered his State of the Capital Address (SOCA) on Thursday.

“Our finances are in good standing. Since taking over the running of the city, cash and cash equivalents at the end of the year improved from R1.1 billion in the 2015/16 financial year to R2.1 billion in the 2016/17 financial year. Unauthorised expenditure was reduced from R1.6 billion in the financial year 2015/16 to R634 million in 2016/17 financial year,” said Msimanga during a special council sitting for the SOCA.

“The stabilisation of the capital’s finances is the critical foundation on which to continue making progress in the delivery of services to our people. This will, in turn, be to the benefit of attracting investment into our beautiful city.”

He said last month the Tshwane authorities tabled a draft “pro-poor budget” and Integrated Development Plan (IDP) at council for public participation.

“The draft IDP and budget which is currently out for public comment had our residents in mind, particularly those who are from poorer backgrounds and live in poorer areas of the city. This will ensure that all our people, rich or poor, get access to the service delivery to which they are entitled and opportunities to build a better life for them and their families,” said Msimanga.

Regarding work opportunities in the city, Msimanga highlighted the creation of jobs and work opportunities through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), launched in December 2017, called Gata le Nna.

“This programme gives effect to our commitment to the generation of these work opportunities for our people. The City of Tshwane, like all public entities, is required to contribute to the creation of employment under the Expanded Public Works Programme. The EPWP aims to create employment opportunities for the unemployed and low-skilled people of South Africa through the delivery of public and community goods and services,” said Msimanga.

“However, to create these work opportunities, we had to first clean up the way the recruitment process was conducted. During the first quarter of this financial year, we made significant changes to the EPWP recruitment policy in order to relieve pressure on staff and councillors and to eliminate patronage and nepotism. We adopted an open and inclusive recruitment and lottery selection system, giving every qualifying individual an equal opportunity to secure employment through the EPWP programme.”

In the 2017/2018 financial year, Msimanga said Tshwane set a target to create 23,000 work opportunities through the implementation of EPWP projects.

 African News Agency/ANA