Joburg mayor ‘not running away’, will tackle media next week

MMC for transport Kenny Kunene said the narrative that Gwamanda was running away was wrong.

Joburg members of the mayoral committe (MMCs) have defended the decision by mayor Kabelo Gwamanda to not address the public through the media following his state of the city address (Soca) yesterday.

Gwamanda has been a noshow since he was elected in May and has not held a media briefing about some of the allegations made against him, or his plans for the City of Gold.

Mystery still surrounds Gwamanda, not only over his academic qualifications, but also his political experience.


Council speaker Colleen Makhubela on Monday said Gwamanda would hold a media briefing to address some of the issues.

But yesterday Gwamanda made a U-turn. MMC for transport Kenny Kunene said the narrative that Gwamanda was running away was wrong.

“The mayor had a programme. His programme included that he would deliver the speech and go to another engagement and we will deal with the issues of the media next week.

“Today (yesterday), we are just reacting as different political parties,” he said. MMC for group corporate and shared services Loyiso Masuku also came to Gwamanda’s aid. “The mayor has presented the Soca. It’s a collective Soca, and that is why MMCs are able to speak to the media on any follow-up issues,” he said.

“This was a comprehensive Soca to tell you what plans each and every MMC is expected to do in their respective departments.

“The mayor will host various stakeholder engagements post the debate and the budget speech, which will happen next week.” During his speech, Gwamanda attributed the city’s financial woes to the previous administration, which was led by the Democratic Alliance (DA)/ActionSA-led coalition.

READ MORE: ActionSA calls for Joburg Mayor to come clean on scammer allegations

R6 billion unpaid

Gwamanda said the city was taking steps to ensure that “every rand in our budget is utilised effectively.”. He said: “End of June 2021, the government of local unity’s audited financial statements reflected a city with a healthy cash balance of R6.6 billion.

“Upon our return in January 2023, from the multiparty government, we found a near-bankrupt municipality sitting with over R6 billion in unpaid supplier invoices… Without a financially sound city, we will not be able to deliver basic services to our residents.

“The DA has been unstable and focused only on settling political scores instead of providing service to the residents of the City of Joburg.”

Gwamanda said post-2016, the city has been governed by various coalitions – which introduced a new era in the politics of Joburg.

This new political reality has introduced a myriad of challenges, both for governance and politics… More importantly, it has introduced unprecedented levels of instability, especially under the various DA-led multiparty governments that have sought to settle political scores as opposed to serving the residents.”

He said little about City Power and its problems, only that the contract with Kelvin Power Station would be extended by another three years, while attention would be paid to Eldorado Park and committed “to ensure that City Power expedites this work and meets the set timelines to complete the work being done”.

Gwamanda said fighting and defeating crime in the city was a top priority, and to bolster their efforts in fighting crime, the city plans to recruit approximately 2 000 crime wardens.

“Driven by our conviction to never surrender our city to criminals, we are determined to collaborate with the provincial and national governments to create safer neighbourhoods where residents can live without fear,” he said.

On issues around water, Gwamanda said Joburg Water was investing to build and upgrade the bulk water infrastructure. The city has been faced with water challenges, with some areas having to go on water shedding and others going days without water.

Gwamanda said the city would upgrade and build new water infrastructure.

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