“We want every person to live in formal settlements”

Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba addressing residents.

“Let us avoid short cuts and double ups, if we use short cuts then I’m going to fail you,” said Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg Herman Mashaba at the City’s final Integrated Development Plan (IDP) Summit at the Protea South Hall last week.

This summit followed an extended programme of public consultations on the IDP, which is the five-year strategy for responding to the City’s service delivery needs.

Protea Glen, South and North residents went to the hall in their numbers with buses provided and people with private cars all wanting to listen what the mayor had to share with them.

With housing being a burning issue for Soweto residents and the City sitting with a backlog of over 300 000 people without formal housing, this is what Mashaba had to say.

“We can only build between 2500 and 3000 houses, so we have a huge crisis on our hands.

We need a new policy on how we are going to address this messy housing problem but at the same time, there needs to be an official housing list so that when our people are on that housing list then no one can jump the queue.

We want this list to be a public document and it must be audited.

Mashaba said he would be announcing the official housing list soon and he asked the residents who require housing ensure that their names are on that list.

“Once I sign it off then all of us will agree and nobody can change that list so that as we build houses for communities we follow it.

The only time your name will be taken off the list is when your economic situation improves.

Applause filled the hall when he mentioned the issue of people who have been waiting on the current list since 1995/96, but it seems that young people were getting the keys to the new homes.

“What nonsense is this? Those people that are getting houses don’t even have documents or papers to be in South Africa.

How is this true when there are over 300 000 South Africans without houses and you give them to non-citizens?”

Another issue that made an impact to residents was the rates and tax increase that will be expected which is as follows:

  • Water and sanitation going up to 12.2%
  • Electricity at 2.28%
  • Refuse removal 6.1%
  • Property rates at 6.2%

He then explained why water had the highest increase.

Mashaba said, “Water is increasing because COJ is giving up to 6kl of free water to everyone, we are the only metro in the country that gives free water to people who can afford it, so we taking this free water from those who can afford.

By so doing we are hoping to raise an additional R320million to use it in the poor communities so that we can go give them water and electricity and other services that government can.”

Mashaba said that as a City the residents that couldn’t afford water were getting 6kl, but now they were prepared to raise it to 15kl of water, which was warmly welcomed by the community.

The Executive Mayor also mentioned how the City plans to put 60% of its capital expenditure poor communities and he also wants to put more effort in the clinic system of not operating for 24hours.

“We have clinics that operate from Monday to Sunday… clinics need to operate on a 24hour basis with the professional staff.”

To conclude his address he encouraged residents to be the City’s ears and eyes for corrupt officials in order to curb it in government.

“If you know of any corruption, people selling your houses illegally please bring it to our attention we are going to deal with it,” said Mashaba.

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  AUTHOR
Sphindile Mbatha

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