Office of the Executive Mayor

Block B | 2nd Floor | Tshwane House | 320 Madiba Street | Pretoria
PO Box 440 | 0001 |
Tel: 012 358 4903

Email: I I Tshwane

30 OCTOBER 2020

Madam Speaker;

Honourable Chief Kekana and his entourage, Honourable Chief Mahlangu and his entourage, Chief Whip of Council;
Fellow Councillors;

Acting City Manager and Senior Managers present today; Distinguished Guests;
Colleagues and Friends; Members of the Media;
And of course the residents of this great city.

Good morning

I would firstly like to thank the members of this Council for entrusting me to lead our city. It is an honour to stand before you today having been chosen as the Executive Mayor. This is an immense opportunity and one that I will not take for granted. I intend to work exceedingly hard to ensure that this city delivers on its mandate to
its residents.

Kantoro ya Mmeyara Phethiši • Kantoor van die Uitvoerende Burgemeester • Kantoro ya Meyara Mogolo
Hofisi ya Meyarankulu • IHhovisi Lemeya Ephethe
Office of the Executive Mayor

The last seven months have been an incredibly trying time for the residents of this city and the councillors in this chamber. The decision to dissolve the Tshwane council was disasterous. It removed hard working and diligent councillors from their elected roles. During one of the most trying times in the country’s history with the spread of Covid-19 the Gauteng provincial government city councillors unlawfully removed from their communities.

I do not wish to dwell on this further, other than to say that we can never let this happen again in the capital city. With local government elections just 12 months away it is time for political parties in this chamber to put aside their differences and work together to restore governance in the municipality.

In my time in the city I have had the privilege of serving not only as a councillor in the city but also for a time as the Member of Mayoral Committee for Economic Development and City Planning, along with being the Leader of Executive Business. Through these roles I got firsthand experience into the workings of the administration and learnt how exactly one should strive to drive change and ensure efficient service delivery.

The task before me is clear, it is my duty to ensure that this city delivers quality services to its residents. Services that are reliable and efficient. The journey before us will be challenging as there will be an election in just over a year, so there is immense pressure to ensure that we adequately respond to the needs of our residents. Further to that, the country and the operations of this city have been severely disrupted by the impact of Covid-19.

I want to take this moment then to acknowledge the city officials in the municipality as the working environment they experienced could not have been easy. With no elected political leadership in place for the last 7 months they had to navigate increased bureaucracy with decisions in the city having to go all the way to the provincial government. They had to do this whilst also trying to ensure the city operates in the face of Covid-19. I have no doubt that it must have been stressful work. Together we must now ensure that the city operates at its most optimal level and we must do that whilst managing the spread of Covid-19 and keeping both residents and the employees of the municipality safe.

Madam speaker,

I need to be clear in saying that I have not been idle in the time since I was chosen to be the DA mayoral candidate. I have already produced a strategy of key tactical interventions which I intend to unveil to departments next week. It will require them to realign their business plans and reprioritize their planning so that we focus on the core business of the city.

I understand that we are facing pressing time constraints so this is one of the first matters of city business that I will address. Within a week of this meeting I will have ensured that every individual department understands what is expected of them in the months to come.

My priority focus will of course be on enhancing basic service delivery. I intend to do this by ensuring that I direct significant attention to our frontline service delivery departments, such as the Regional Operations Centre and Utilities. These departments are often responding to many of the core service delivery requirements in our city.

In order to drive enhanced service delivery I intend to deploy a highly competent team of MMCs who have technical and specialist knowledge in particular governance areas of the city. An Executive Mayor is only as strong as the people he surrounds himself with and I intend to ensure that I pull in a diverse and talented group of MMCs to support me in achieving my goals.

We do not have time to waste and we will need to respond speedily to the needs and issues that are affecting service delivery in the city. To this end I want to ensure that we institutionalize in the city the need for data and evidence based decision- making.

I do not intend to govern through political whims or by making on the fly decisions, but through a process where we can systematically evaluate how best the city can deploy its resources to achieve the finest possible service delivery outcome.

Madam Speaker,

For the last seven months we have lived in a city that was inaccessible to its residents. Governed by unlawfully appointed administrators who created no mechanism to facilitate engagements from residents. It is has catastrophically undermined the relationship that the city has with its citizens.

This is why I will also prioritise speed and responsiveness. We must restore our resident’s faith in the city and focus on servicing their needs. In this city there are a variety of activities and services that simply take too long. Unnecessary bureaucracy and processes are hampering our ability to provide quality outcomes to our residents. Particularly now in the face of Covid-19 we need to instill agility in how we make decisions.

An inability to prioritise speed means that grass becomes unacceptably long before it is cut, potholes end up causing traffic delays because they are not addressed and whole neighborhoods are plunged into darkness as streetlights and electricity outages are not being repaired in a timeous manner.

It is simply unacceptable. I will not tolerate delays on core basic service delivery. Through weekly service delivery war rooms and the introduction of a tracking dashboard I intend to ensure that the highest levels of scrutiny are paid to how quickly this city is able to respond to the needs of its residents.

It isn’t just on basic service delivery that speed is crucial. Our ability to make decisions in the city hinges on the timeous delivery of reports, many of which can be delayed for weeks because departments do not provide comments. This practice will now stop.

I have developed a revised system to facilitate the flow of reports in the city to ensure that we derive maximum efficiency in dealing with and deliberating on city business.

Madam Speaker, in addition to prioritizing basic service delivery, I have been tracking the concerns raised by residents about other institutions and projects under the control of the City of Tshwane.

Thus, I will ensure that there is now executive oversight at both Wonderboom Airport and the Fresh Produce Market. MMCs will be assigned to ensure that they track the progress that is being made to address the issues at these sites.

I will also be deploying staff from the Office of the Executive Mayor to conduct random site inspections in order to verify and check information pertaining to the administration of these institutions.

I also believe that we need to prioritize the rollout of prepaid electricity meters. I cannot emphasize this enough. Year after the year the city is writing off debt due to non-payment of electricity and yet we are failing to ensure that prepaid meters are being installed at the properties in question.
This will be a core budget prioritization for my administration and I intend to push the Utilities department to ensure it increases its targets for the rollout of prepaid meters.

Further to that I will also be carefully monitoring the refurbishment taking place at Rooiwaal Water Treatment Plant, this is a crucial piece of water infrastructure and it is vital that it operates at full capacity to adequately service its local community.

Madam Speaker,

these are just a few of the core areas that I intend to focus on, but there are many more. As indicated previously I have already put together a strategic intervention plan which details responsibilities for each department which I intend to introduce in my first week in office.

When the DA-led administration took over in 2016, we made a promise to the residents to respond to their needs. While this progress did occur under the DA administration we must also acknowledge that there is always room for improvement.

Over the last few months we have seen how this Council has collapsed and essentially hamstrung the administration’s ability to do its duty. It is critical that we acknowledge that as councillors we have a responsibility to the people of this city.

I call on all the political parties represented here to come together to support this administration in achieving its goals. There will certainly be times when we disagree but I believe that collectively we are all united in our belief that we want to live in a prosperous capital city.

I want to thank you once again for putting in your faith in me. I hope to do you and the residents of this city proud.