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The residents of Johannesburg need to hear an urgent plan of action to address the ever-increasing service delivery failures which have left many feeling hopeless.
Executive Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda will deliver his first Johannesburg State of the City Address at a time when service delivery has crumbled under the pressure of instability in the City.
This has seen municipal owned entities (MOEs) such as City Power, Pikitup, Joburg Water failing to deliver even the most basic services expected by the ratepayers.
Some communities have had to endure long hours of power outages not only due to load-shedding, but also owing to poor maintenance of City Power infrastructure.
The entity’s finances are also at breaking point with its overdraft now standing at R9 billion. City Power’s business model needs to be revised as the entity has not been financially viable for a long time - this cannot continue.
This unreliable power supply has further highlighted the glaring inequality gaps in the City. While the rich have resorted to alternative means power, the poor have been left stranded in the cold, dark winter. Many small businesses have also had to close their doors, further deepening joblessness and poverty.
Also of concern is the City’s failure to meet its revenue collection targets due to non-payments, illegal connections and water leakages caused by ageing infrastructure. Already, water leakages cause the city about 40 percent of its revenue.
The SoCA needs to shed light on the short and long terms plans to curb further revenue loss and to overhaul the old infrastructure. It further needs to invoke a credit control and debt collection policy against businesses that continue to evade paying for services.
Another major challenge is the City’s 13 599 km road network that needs resurfacing, as the simple patching of potholes is no longer sustainable for most of the roads.
Lastly, the need for a proper stormwater drainage system cannot be over emphasised. Last year's flooding in Johannesburg claimed the lives of several residents and destroyed large parts of the road network. These events are unacceptable and avoidable.
The GOOD Party commits to using its position in the legislature as Chair of Chairs to ensure effective oversight that will see these promises kept and goals met.
As Council - and leaders - we have the duty to work together to improve the dire state of Johannesburg, rebuild the crumbling systems and finally produce quality service delivery to regain the trust of residents.
Issued by GOOD: Councillor & Chair of Chairs in the City of Johannesburg, Lloyd Phillips