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In Ekurhuleni, The Democratic Alliance has bestowed the honour of selecting me to lead the party’s into victory as the City of Ekurhuleni as their Mayoral candidate. I role I feel truly humbled to take on.
Residents of this municipality have been short-changed with service delivery by those who currently hide in the corridors of power - far from the plight of ordinary citizens.
Ekurhuleni is the epitome of lack of political will to get things done. It has become the epicentre of service delivery collapse and failure. It is the riddled with green and gold standard of cadre deployment, corruption, financial waste and mismanagement.
Like you, I am a resident of Ekurhuleni – this City is my home, and just like you, these are my lived experiences.
When your lights are off, mine too are off. When you do not have water, neither do I.
Yet, despite all the rot, there is hope. There is a solution.
Daily there are well over 1000 power outages in the municipality. Some of these outages have been known to last up to 6 days. How are residents, industry and the economy to survive when the power grid is unstable?
Simply, they can’t.
Some residents of Katlehong have been without electricity for the last 5 months. Household for paying residents with electric appliances such fridge, washing machine, microwave, stove have now been reduced to cooking with a prima stove.
Wadeville, which is a key industrial in the Metro, has in this financial year alone been hit with a cumulative 65 hours without electricity. Sometimes when power is out, the damages to equipment costs millions and to replace takes 10 to 15 days: staff salaries still to be paid at the end of the month yet, there was no productivity and market supply was not met. This is how those who were green, and gold are destroying jobs.
The electricity department has 1100 funded positions but only has 879. NERSA has recommended 1500. As a start when I become the Mayor, I will personally see to it that the funded positions are filled by skilled engineers and technicians who are crucial to keeping the lights on.
I will also prioritise stock control management to ensure that there are always parts in stores so that when there is a need for components to be replaced, they are readily available to get the lights back on.
Most importantly, my long-term vision is to free Ekurhuleni from the shackles of Eskom.
To do this, I will learn from DA sister governments: take advantage of the Promulgated Act 10 like Stellenbosch is doing to start building a base of Independent Power Producers. Look at another sister City like Stellenbosch and incentivise businesses to fit roof-top solar panels on their properties to feedback into the power gird. This will start with all municipal owned buildings so that residents and business can keep the lights on.
The current administration views this as a box ticking exercise, yet there is little to account for how money is spent in this municipality.
I visited a newly built taxi-rank in Duduza where taxi owners, drivers and commuters complained about the lack of public participation in the decision to build this rank. The location is not ideal as it completely misses the busy transport routes used by commuters. What should have been a prudent investment of public funds is now a white elephant.
I have visited white elephant housing projects in Vosloorus where the need for dignified housing outstrips demand, yet the Metro has surrendered R250 million back to national Treasury because it was simply not spent.
In 2011, when I was a councillor, residents of Ekurhuleni were promised that the 119 Informal settlements would be eradicated. Today, there are over 125 informal settlements in Ekurhuleni. The R250 million should have been spend on houses as well as also providing people with serviced stands.
It is no secret that the valuation of properties in the Metro is in a shambles. Residents have effectively been billed out of their houses. Like you, my property rates are diabolically high and in no way reflect the true market value of my home.
Like you – the rates that we pay are supposed to fund services. But like you, I do not receive these services.
Many government contracts issued in this metro are questionable- with the first question being whether the appointed tenderer even has a service level agreement and whether they are held accountable to meeting it.
This is not governance. This is not accountability. This is not how residents should be treated by those who were elected to lead.
The corner stone of good governance is having a firm grip on the issues that impact residents – their needs, hopes and dreams.
Good governance is “go and see for yourself how money is being used!”
It is about fostering an environment conducive to economic growth to get our people working and eradicating unemployment.
It is about providing residents with services that will ensure their dignity.
It is about harnessing our budget to improve our socio-economic conditions.
It is about keeping our people safe from crime.
As I stand here today, my promise to you - the residents of Ekurhuleni, is that under my leadership – with my skills and Democratic Alliance’s record of good governance, Ekurhuleni will be a city where every single resident is brought into the fold.
No one will be left behind.
Full speech attached.