City of Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba has vowed to cut out luxuries like international travel and other non-essential projects in order to focus on real service delivery.
Mashaba vowed to hold local government officials accountable as he tries to secure money to reduce the infrastructural backlog in the city.
In order to achieve this‚ Mashaba said his office decided to de-prioritise certain expenditure and re-direct the money to the poor.
“I’m going to focus on maintenance of our infrastructure. As you are aware‚ we are sitting with over R170-billion of infrastructure backlog – electricity being the biggest one. 27 percent of our electricity infrastructure is already under pressure.
“Today we are a city of over five million people but the infrastructure is not really being maintained. We need to focus on electrification‚ provision of water in informal settlement so that our people can get dignity‚” Mashaba told the publication.
Among other projects‚ he spoke of focusing on the inner city and working with the private sector to build affordable accommodation and better roads.
De-prioritising does not mean essential services will be neglected‚ he suggested.
“For an example with the Aresebetseng project‚ what we are saying is that instead of putting too much money into Pikitup‚ can’t we get communities to assist us to clean their neighbourhood so that we can take this money‚ put it into infrastructure development‚” Mashaba said.
In order to ensure meaningful progress Mashaba said he would thoroughly hold officials in every department accountable.
The city’s much-contested budget was finally approved on Tuesday after opposition parties forced him to reduce it by R300-million.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) had refused to accept the new tariffs and rates. They proposed that the increase in electricity should be decreased from 7.37% to 7.17%‚ while the proposed water tariff increase should be reduced from 14.2%t to 13.2%.
The Democratic Alliance accepted the changes and the budget was adopted as such.
Mashaba handed over four fire vehicles to the department of public safety’s emergency management in Roodepoort on Wednesday.
He applauded the officers for continuously putting the lives of others first.
“The reality is‚ firefighters may not always be out and about putting out fires on a daily basis but the mere knowledge of their presence in our midst serves as much needed reassurance that protection is available whenever danger presents itself‚” he said.