Joburg Finance MMC Funzela Ngobeni seen here presenting the city's financial budget for 2019/20 at the Gallery of the Council Chamber in Braamfontein. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency(ANA)
Johannesburg - He is confident that by Thursday he will be the City of Joburg’s number one citizen.

Mayoral candidate Funzela Ngobeni said despite threats from other political parties, behind-the-scenes negotiations were under way with the EFF and other coalition party members.

“We have worked well with our partners over the past few years, so there is no reason why this should not continue for the next 18 months. I am confident we will find common ground - it would be foolish to tamper with this at this stage,” he said.

Ngobeni, who is currently MMC for Finance, said he would not be changing the agenda of the current administration, under Herman Mashaba.

“This has worked well so there is no need to change anything. We are on good track, especially financially,” he said.

The city is back on track, he added, quoting a report by Moody’s rating agency which said pre-audit financial statements for the 2018/19 financial year reflect a significant improvement to the city’s liquidity position with its closing cash balance increasing from R2.2 billion at the end of the 2017/18 to R5.3bn.

“This translates into a doubling in the number of days of cash coverage from 21.3 to 43 over the same period.”

Ngobeni said he would also continue with the current focus on public safety and rejuvenating the inner city.

“These are not just words - we have put this into action with the appointment of over 1000 new Joburg metro police officers and the acquisition of a number of new emergency vehicles,” he said.

He said he would like to continue the handing over of title deeds to property owners.

“We are aware of the challenge of visible service delivery. At the top of our agenda is to stabilise senior management at both the Joburg Roads Agency and Pikitup where there have been resignations.”

He became active in student and youth politics in the early 90s as the deputy president of the student representative council and was a member of the Congress of SA Students in Mangaung.

In 2008, he said, he became disillusioned with the ANC when it “started showing its true colours” and joined the Congress of the People and founded its Cosmo City branch.

“Unfortunately the party didn’t last long because of infighting.”

He joined the DA in 2011 and became the inaugural branch chairperson of the party in ward 100, a stronghold area of the ANC. He hold the positions of Joburg regional chairperson and deputy caucus leader for the region. He is also the leader of executive business in the Joburg council.

His family was initially shocked at his move to the DA, he said, adding that his father was a staunch ANC supporter.

“It took long explanations as to why I joined the DA.”

He has been married for 10 years and has two sons.

The Star