Pretoria - Executive mayor Stevens Mokgalapa was this morning due to address members of the media on his 100 days in office. He was, as stated in the press alert, expected to outline what he has achieved as well as plans for the new financial year.
The successes are likely to include lots of service delivery initiatives; the mayor has positioned himself as a service delivery-oriented leader since he came into office 100 days ago.
Time flies; it feels like only moments ago when Mokgalapa returned home from Parliament, on a DA ticket, to become the head of the third largest metro in the world. He had been a DA councillor in the city before heading off to Parliament.
It is public knowledge that Mokgalapa replaced Solly Msimanga, who left in February to focus on the ill-fated DA’s attempt to wrest control of Gauteng from the ANC in the May 8 elections.
Also noted many times is that Msimanga left Tshwane with some unfinished business, both good and bad. He spoke of the deficit in the coffers inherited from the ANC, which Tshwane's official opposition disputed.
It thus could not have been easy for Mokgalapa to come straight into controversies that were not his doing, but be expected to untangle them.
In his defence, though, Msimanga didn't always have the support of kingmaker the EFF, unlike Herman Mashaba in Joburg.
When he wanted to suspend city manager Dr Moeketsi Mosola over tender irregularities, he just couldn't get the numbers in council. The former mayor appeared to have hit a brick wall when he asked the DA national officer for intervention on the matter.
It must be stated that Mokgalapa’s plan in the matter surrounding Mosola remains unclear. However, what is certain is that he doesn't seem to share the same appetite as Msimanga to get rid of the city manager, who has been called all sorts of names by his critics.
Again, it is unclear whether Mokgalapa knows how to manage him better than Msimanga did, or has allowed him to function his way; or has he? Remember the China trip, allegedly authorised by Mosola unlawfully instead of the mayor.
The City is also believed to have paid the city manager’s legal bill in his Labour Court fight with his employer.These two examples can be seen as signs of a city manager who is uncontrollable.
Whispers at Tshwane House are that Mokgalapa can at times be perceived to be slow in acting against matters that require urgent attention. However, on the future of the smelly Centurion Lake, which has been on the municipal agenda, he made up his mind weeks after taking over the mayoral office.
While Msimanga and the ANC’s Dr Kgosientso Ramokgopa (now Economic Development, Agriculture and Environment MEC) had plans for the inner city, Mokgalapa announced that unused buildings would be turned into student accommodation.
All in all, the most recent mayors - Ramokgopa and Msimanga - and now Mokgalapa dream of rejuvenating the CBD and attracting investment.
In council, proceedings are calmer. Even the ANC endorsed the budget for the 2019/20 financial year, which Mokgalapa was expected to touch on at his feedback briefing this morning.
However, whether Mokgalapa has been more successful in his first 100 days than Ramokgopa and Msimanga will become clearer during the course of the next financial year and the 2020/21 one, the last of the current local government term.
What counts is whether residents have running water, electricity and other elements of service delivery.
* Mudzuli is Pretoria News assistant editor. He writes in a personal capacity