Amanda Watson
News Editor
4 minute read
28 Oct 2021
5:51 am

‘Broken Joburg can be fixed,’ says DA mayoral candidate

Amanda Watson

Says any political leader must have the drive to get things done when elected to public office.

DA's Johannesburg Mayoral candidate, Mpho Phalatse speaks before a protest march against the failing billing system in Johannesburg, 19 October 2021. They marched to Thuso house where the cities billing department is located. Picture: Neil McCartney

Until election day on Monday, The Citizen is opening up space for political parties and independent candidates to promote themselves and their platforms in their own words.

  • To level the playing field, all parties and independent candidates will answer the same five questions in a maximum of 150 words per question.
  • If you wish to take part, please e-mail amandaw@citizen.co.za.
  • Today, Democratic Alliance (DA) mayoral candidate Dr Mpho Phalatse speaks.

1. Complete the statement: I believe the Democratic Alliance is the best to elect to run municipalities because ….

We have a proven track record of getting things done where we govern. The DA is the only party in South Africa that governs well and actually uses the public’s money for services that goes directly to the residents.

Whether it’s the jobs numbers released by Stats SA, or the number of clean audits issued by the auditor-general, or the municipal rankings by Ratings Afrika, or the results of the Citizen Satisfaction Index, or the value of new investments per metro, the best performer can always be objectively identified.

And that best performer, on every single measure, is the Democratic Alliance.

2. How do you intend to cut municipalities’ costs such as excessive salaries, vehicle allowances, staff complements and the like?

This all boils down to political will.

Any political leader must have the drive to get things done when elected to public office.

My focus will be prioritising service delivery backlogs across the city and I will need a lean, and dedicated public service to get this done.

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This will naturally instil a culture change and, slowly, the ethos will start to change.

Those who were in local government other than to serve the people will quickly realise that this is not the place for them.

3. How will you hold your local government representatives accountable? (How will they report to the people?)

DA public representatives are constantly availing themselves for public meetings to have direct engagements with residents.

Before Covid, public meetings were always conducted in person, but once the pandemic hit South Africa, the DA was one of the first parties to adapt and make use of social media to run virtual public meetings so that residents could be kept updated on what the DA was doing to hold government to account.

Now that we are in lower levels of lockdown, with vaccine availability, the DA has embraced face-to-face public meetings once again to ensure residents can have tangible engagement once again.

DA governments will also clearly communicate service level agreements (SLA) and turnaround times on refuse collection, burst pipes, electrical faults, potholes, and other queries lodged.

We will also link each SLA and turnaround time to the responsible political principal/ individual to ensure accountability.

4. People are broke and battling to pay their municipal bills, unemployment is at a record high, what are your plans to stimulate the local economy and, help ratepayers meet their obligations?

I have seen the devastation of unemployment first-hand being on the campaign trail.

South Africans are desperate for employment and the lockdown over the past 18 months has made it worse for many people.

The only thing that can lift millions of South Africans out of crippling poverty is the kind of economic activity that brings millions of jobs.

And this kind of activity doesn’t just happen. It follows good governance. Investors and entrepreneurs make rational
decisions.

They take their business where they see opportunities and where they know their investment will be safe.

This means they want the same things from a local government as all citizens do. For example, dependable electricity, clean water, reliable refuse removal, protection from criminals, well-maintained roads and bylaws enforcement.

The DA wants residents in Johannesburg to have jobs and will fight tooth and nail to ensure the local environment is ripe for such job creation.

5. What are your 100 days in office goals?

Johannesburg is broken, but it can be fixed again. At this moment, we cannot with a straight face pretend that it is a world-class city, when electrical substations with illegal connections in Soweto break down due the unsustainable

high demand; when illegal mining for gold in Linden is taking place right next to gas and fuel pipelines; when the residents of the Helen Joseph hostel in Alex have to collect water from JoJo tanks because there has been no
running water in their facility for over two years.

There is so much more I can reflect on, especially what I have personally seen on the campaign trail.

My first 100 days in office will therefore be focused on getting the basics back on track in terms of stabilising service delivery and addressing the backlog of critical basic services.