The ANC in Gauteng says it supports the measures the Gauteng provincial government announced to urgently address challenges in two strategic metropolitan municipalities in Tshwane and Johannesburg.
Provincial ANC spokesperson Bones Modise said in a statement on Monday that the intervention and support, aimed at ensuring the stability of municipal governance in the two metros, came after the two cities were “plunged into a crisis of leadership by the DA’s failed administrations, thus taking a serious toll on service delivery”.
“In the City of Tshwane, things have moved from bad to worse as the municipality has been operating on autopilot for some time, effectively without an executive mayor or a city manager,” Modise said.
“The capital city of South Africa finds itself in disarray. The recalling of Solly Msimanga from the post of Tshwane executive mayor in January 2019 by the DA and replacing him with Stevens Mokgalapa did not result in any tangible service delivery improvements.”
Modise said service delivery collapsed while “scandalous appointments of incompetent and unqualified senior personnel”, corruption relating to procurement processes, unauthorised, irregular and fruitless expenditure amounting to billions of rand, running battles with the municipal manager, and the continuous collapsing of council meetings “became the order of the day”.
“In Joburg, the municipality was left leaderless when Herman Mashaba finally called it quits, but not before he slated the ‘arrogant’ DA for sabotaging service delivery and accused the party of never really caring about the needs of the poor, choosing rather to prioritise the needs of suburban residents above the provision of basic services to many people in townships and informal settlements.
“However, in the wake of reclaiming of the City of Joburg back to the hands of the people, the ANC has committed to restoring the dignity of the most vulnerable in our society by reinstating access to basic services to residents of the city.”
Modise said the ANC had mandated the executive mayor, Geoff Makhubo, his newly appointed members of the mayoral committee and the party’s partners in council – the Patriotic Alliance, African Independent Congress, Aljamah, Cope, UDM and IFP – to put the interests of the people of Johannesburg first and to work with all parties in council to address the challenges confronting the municipality.
“The newly formed ANC-led government must hit the ground running to make certain that no citizen of the city is neglected or left out in the delivery of services.
“High on the list of the things the multi-party government must attend to as a matter of urgency is improving the daily lived experiences of the residents of Joburg. This means addressing their immediate needs such as ensuring that there is running water, electricity is always on, potholes are closed and parks both in suburbs and in townships are maintained.”
Modise added that the ANC-led government would prioritise attending to the inner cities that are in a “state of decay” and intensify the infrastructure rollout programmes to “respond effectively to what people need”.
“Access to free Wi-Fi to our youth and SMMEs, which has become a basic need, and the restoration of free basic services like the six kilolitres of water and free six kilowatt-hours of electricity per month, as part of the basket of services towards the indigent programme, are some of the things that must be reinstated.”
Priority will have to be given to the City’s state of finances, Modise said, which had been “left teetering on the brink of collapse”.
“In their short stint in government, the DA administration made sure that the redemption fund that was set aside by the ANC government to service long-term loans was raided to pay for short-term requirements, thus masking the poor state of finances in the city. This is reflected by the increased number of potholes, a filthy city, uncollected waste, a rise in illegal dumping and a general decline in levels of service delivery.
“The ANC is alive to the reality that the residents of the city have rightly grown impatient as a result of the lacklustre delivery they have been subjected to in the last three years. This places on us and our partners a responsibility to act with a sense of urgency to accelerate service delivery as we are left with little time before the end of this term of office,” Modise said.
The ANC commended the provincial government for taking decisive steps to intervene.
“This has been the same in other municipalities, like Emfuleni. Government must not shy away from intervening where service delivery to citizens is negatively affected for one reason or another.”