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Thapelo Amad sworn in as the new mayor of Johannesburg

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Thapelo Amad sworn in as the new mayor of Johannesburg

City of Johannesburg Mayor Thapelo Amad
City of Johannesburg Mayor Thapelo Amad

30th January 2023

By: News24Wire

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Thapelo Amad was officially sworn in as the new mayor of Johannesburg.

In his acceptance speech, Amad vowed to urgently tackle service delivery and restore financial stability.

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The Al Jama-ah representative was voted in on Friday after the Democratic Alliance's (DA's) Mpho Phalatse was removed via a motion of no confidence. 

Amad said it was "no secret" they had inherited "a city under massive financial strain", adding that financial stability needed to be prioritised.

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He said the focus would be on collecting revenue.

He would urgently be revisiting the R2-billion loan the DA wanted from the Development Bank of SA.

The DA twice brought a motion to obtain the loan - but, on both occasions, the opposition voted against it.

In a briefing on Friday, Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi explained the loan was denied because the DA-led coalition had said there was no financial crisis.

Opposition parties denied the loan on the basis that, if the former mayor said there was no financial crisis, then she did not need the loan. 

Next on the mayor's list was the electricity crisis.

Amad said that, if the previous government's plan was beneficial, then the new leadership would continue the plan.

"Energy security is one of the key priorities. We need to fix ageing infrastructure, including roads which have become dangerous due to potholes. We also need to fix drains which have led to flooding.

"We need to ensure refuse removal and find innovative ways to conserve water as we fix the water infrastructure.

"As my colleague, Margaret [Arnolds] would say, the grass is as long as she is tall - and it must be cut, so criminals cannot hide in it. We need to fix the street lights. It's totally unacceptable that traffic lights are not working for longer than two days when we are not loadshedding."

He said he would engage with law enforcement to ensure there was a level of order and cleanliness.

He said authorities would be engaged to drive out illegal immigrants, which he said were associated with drug dealing and hijacking buildings. And, he added, street vendors would not be harassed by law enforcement. 

Present at his swearing-in ceremony was Lesufi, the ambassadors of Qatar, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, as well as Ganief Hendricks, the leader of Al Jama-ah.

The mayor did not say when he would elect his executive.

The council heard a new pop version of the national anthem before the event, and the Speaker, Colleen Makhubele, said that, because there was a "young new mayor", there was a new version of the anthem. 

Makhubele called Amad's election a victory and said she was excited for the city. 

"I have faith that the destiny [of the city] is reached. This is a victory for workers, the youth and residents.

"It's a victory for informal settlements and those illegally evicted from their homes. It's a victory for the minority [parties], who today proved that even the smallest voices can be heard.

"It is a victory for the PA, the EFF, the ANC - and all of our victory to share together."

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