Gauteng Premier David Makhura has called on mayors in the province to work together to strengthen inter-governmental relations and cooperative governance.
“I want to emphasise that it really does not matter which party is in charge of which municipality. We have got to work together. We have got to pull in the same direction and support the same vision,” Makhura said.
He was speaking at a meeting held so that the provincial government could discuss the Growing Gauteng Together plan that the premier announced during his State of the Province Address in July.
Among those who attended were City of Tshwane Mayor Stevens Mokgalapa, City of Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina, Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, Human Settlements MEC Lebogang Maile, Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure MEC Jacob Mamabolo and Infrastructure Development and Property Management MEC Tasneem Motara.
Makhura said the purpose of the engagement was to re-inject life into the inter-governmental relation system.
“We have to work together. If we don’t do so, people on the ground are going to be suffering because we are bickering.
“There is time for politics and we know where to play politics in the chambers, but there is also time for delivery. When it comes to delivery and development, there is no one sphere of government that can work alone and get the desired results,” Makhura said.
Makhura emphasised that it was important for the provincial government to work with municipalities, especially on infrastructure plans.
He said infrastructure was the biggest driver of economic development for Gauteng.
Makhura added that there would also be a focus on infrastructure investment, which people wanted the government to deal with.
He said aspirations for the province were based on the economy, jobs and infrastructure.
Makhura said the provincial government had budgeted R60bn towards infrastructure development over the next five years.
Mayors welcomed the engagement, saying it would go a long way towards assisting municipalities in achieving service delivery targets.
Mokgalapa said the City of Tshwane would particularly benefit from the engagements, especially when it comes to water infrastructure. It is facing Stage 2 water restrictions from Rand Water.
“These projects put by the province will assist us to ensure that we upgrade our waste water treatments. We have about 15 waste water treatments in Tshwane, of which four are in a critical stage,” he said.
Mokgalapa said the announcement that about R89bn would be made available for infrastructure, would also help Tshwane.
He added that the meeting with the provincial government would assist the City to secure funding for waste water treatment plants.
Masina said it was important for the government to plan together to achieve integrated results.
“We do not look at national, provincial and local in isolation. Today we are presenting a number of programmes… We have over R300bn worth of pipeline investment that is here. Of that, almost R190bn is now active.
“We will be presenting those projects and hope they will be included as part of the projects for the premier so that as we go to some of the big platforms created at a national and international level, we are able to present projects that will come from Ekurhuleni,” he said.
Maile said the engagement was particularly important, especially for municipalities such as the City of Johannesburg.
While outgoing Mayor Herman Mashaba was not present in the meeting, Maile said it would have been effective if he attended to present issues and plans for that City.
He said the provincial government was worried about the state of operations in the province’s municipalities, except for Ekurhuleni and Midvaal.
He said some municipalities owed Eskom and Rand Water money and that the government would soon meet with stakeholders to ensure that plans are in place to avoid blackouts.