The following speech was delivered by DA Mayoral Candidate, Cllr Mpho Phalatse during the DA’s campaign launch for the City of Johannesburg. Please find attached Cllr Phalatse’s vision for the City of Johannesburg here.
Fellow Democrats and fellow residents of Johannesburg,
It is such a privilege and honour to be your mayoral candidate in our beautiful City of Gold.
We all stand here today united in our goal and dream of turning our City around and getting back its golden shine.
But if we are to strive for that shine, we need to face the burning reality of where our City is right now.
The City of Johannesburg is broken! But it can absolutely be fixed again.
The solid foundation that the DA endeavoured to construct five years ago, amassed great progress. Even though it was only three years, that foundation for a beautiful home was solidified.
• With the issuing of 8587 title deeds,
• the handing over of 7857 housing units,
• 1500 new Johannesburg Metro Police Officers,
• the investment of repairing and upgrading 12 electricity sub-stations,
• the resurfacing of 938km of roads,
• the provision of over 11 000 ablution facilities to various informal settlements,
• and so many more good governance successes that improved the lives of all Johannesburg residents.
It was during this time that I served as your MMC for Health and Social Development, where I personally oversaw;
• The roll-out of 10 mobile clinics,
• Extended the working hours at 27 clinics, and
• Opened six new clinics and five substance abuse centres.
But of course, we had our challenges while in government. Not everything can be smooth sailing. Legislation and processes can delay what you want to get done. And often, leadership fails you when are striving to fight for the resident.
Instead of leadership dedicated to service delivery for the resident, sometimes that leadership seeks to please those who have no interest in fixing the City and make demands through the back door, that compromises our values and principles.
That will not happen under my watch. There will be no pandering to red berets who do not ascribe to our values and principles of good governance, the rule of law, and constitutionalism.
We will fight to get that majority, so that all residents of Joburg can enjoy uninterrupted service delivery and never have to worry about corrupt, criminal parties seeking to steal the services you deserve.
This is what we are seeing right now. After three years of DA good governance, we saw corrupt parties steal this City from its residents. Our solid foundation started to show cracks after these corrupt politicians beat it with their sledgehammers.
The most basic services are not reaching residents. While some might experience a shortage of one service, others can experience a shortage, or non-existence of many others.
Many residents regularly experience power outages; so frequently that they no longer worry “if” the lights go out. It is now a question of “when”.
Shockingly, we have seen a complete failure of water supply prevalent in various areas, in many cases for days on end.
In a City of Gold, that has lost it shine, residents do not need slogans and the propaganda of a ‘world-class African city’. You need reality, hard work, selfless commitment, and vision – and we will start by getting basic service delivery back on track.
Wherever the DA governs, life gets better – it is a fact. DA governments get things done. This is possible in Johannesburg, after this election. Together let us end the rot, end the decay, stop the decline, and get Jozi working again.
I am energized daily when hitting the ground in this campaign, being one with our residents, hearing them, and taking forward their plight. In me, the people of Johannesburg have a champion, a friend, and a committed servant.
I’m wholeheartedly committed to building upon the DA’s record of good governance for the people of Johannesburg so that we can take our City back and you can have five full years of real change.
It is an opportunity to galvanize the whole of society, to reimagine and rebuild Johannesburg as a city of hope, alive with opportunity. We will clean up the administration, clean up the City, sweep out the rot, deliver services, grow the economy, and make Johannesburg the City of Golden Opportunities.
There is nothing so wrong with the City that cannot be fixed by what is right with the City. We can indeed fix our broken City.
We can invest R20 billion on fixing, replacing, and upgrading our roads, bridges, water pipes, wastewater plants, and power grid.
Such an investment will solidify the framework of critical infrastructure so that other services can be easily delivered.
Just imagine, a smoothly tarred road that ensures that the ambulance or fire engine can get to their emergency call on time.
Maintained and upgraded substations can survive the impact of Eskom-sponsored loadshedding, cable theft, and sheer vandalism, and not result in further outages for residents.
As things stand, our City has disappointed us. But I intend to turn this around. My administration will work with the city’s officials and its entities to provide the following:
• Access to clean drinking water for all residents,
• Water leaks fixed within 24 hours,
• Potholes filled within 72 hours,
• A vast reduction in electricity outages,
• More recycling at source in collaboration with reclaimers, and
• Clean streets
These are the most basic services that we will get right. When we get the basics fixed first, we can continue to build a beautiful shining City.
But on top of basic services, residents deserve to feel safe. Even as a municipality at the most basic level of government, my administration can roll out tangible solutions on its own to make you feel safe and secure. We can achieve this by:
• Integrated policing where SAPS, the private sector, and community organisations, collaborate to monitor areas, provide alerts, and share capacity,
• A dedicated Anti-Land Invasion Unit to stop land invasions,
• 150 park rangers to make our parks safe,
• Fire stations that have a full allocation of fire engines and equipment,
• A dedicated prosecution unit and functioning Municipal Courts to ensure that by-laws are taken seriously, and transgressors are prosecuted,
• Regular inspections to crack down on illegal building and land use.
For too long, the JMPD has been associated purely with traffic, coupled with a negative reputation for bribery. At the same time, aggressive metro officers have broken down the trust needed between law enforcement and law-abiding citizens.
I will work to fix JMPD and ensure that crime prevention is indeed a focus and becomes more effective so that the resident can start to really feel safe. I will also work to improve training for Metro Police officers when dealing with the public.
No one should unreasonably be made to feel like a criminal just for being pulled over during a traffic stop. Every resident has the right to be treated with respect, while every Metro Police officer has the right to have their legal instruction obeyed.
I certainly won’t stop there. Just because SAPS is not under the municipality’s control, does not mean I can’t go knocking on the doors of provincial and national government to get things moving. And believe me – when I go knocking on those doors, they will be answered.
But while I will be fighting every day to get national and provincial government to come to the table, I want to make sure that every resident feels cared for by this municipality.
I will inspire every civil servant of the municipality’s 33 000 staff complement to believe they have the purpose of positively changing the lives of residents. I will shift the thinking of every employee from “my job is in this position, in this department” to “I am part of a municipality that helps to make your life better.”
• We are going to ensure support for vulnerable residents, including fair rebates on services,
• We will ensure the best functionality of the eHealth system to safeguard and manage patient data, and reduce queues and waiting times at clinics,
• More nurses to provide quality care to residents,
• More local clinics nearer to where you live,
• Help for the homeless, including shelters, skills development, rehabilitation facilities, and work opportunities in collaboration with NGOs,
• Upgraded old age homes with qualified staff to take care of our elderly.
And so much more.
We can once again become the City of Golden Opportunities. It is time to restore Johannesburg as the economic hub of the country and the continent.
Business, whether big or small, needs to feel welcomed in the City of Gold. They need to feel that they can operate without any unnecessary hurdles imposed by local government.
• To this effect, we will ensure that all city processes and applications can be done online, with full tracking and quick turnaround times.
• We can also ensure:
o A transportation service that ensures you experience a safe commute and get to work on time,
o Revitalised industrial parks in townships that are safe and can attract investment,
o Fair access to EPWP opportunities and fair allocation of local contracts through an audited electronic system,
o More Opportunity Centres throughout the City to support businesses and encourage entrepreneurs.
While a national government drags its feet on economic recovery, not bothered by those who have suffered great economic losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns, a DA-led Johannesburg Municipality will pick up the baton and delivery for you, the residents.
We are going to build a new Johannesburg where every resident can feel that they belong. A city that they can be proud of again.
• We will upgrade informal settlements, with basic services, emergency access and security of tenure,
• Community libraries with Free Wi-Fi, and maintenance and upgrading of sports and arts facilities,
• We are going to wipe out corruption in every corner of this municipality – whether in supply chain management, or the notoriously broken billing system, and
• We will rid the system of the rot that blocks good governance and services from taking place.
Nothing will get in our way of making sure this City starts working for you.
• We are going to ensure that your billing query is resolved within seven days,
• We will ensure online services for licence renewals,
• And make sure you have qualified, capable, and customer-friendly City officials ready to serve you.
In a DA-led Johannesburg, there will be someone to answer your phone call.
In a DA-led Johannesburg, you will get a reply to your email.
We still stop the scourge of corruption, patronage and wasteful expenditure that arises because of weak contracts between the City and municipal-owned entities such as City Power, Johannesburg Water, Johannesburg Roads Agency, and many others.
These entities are municipal-owned, and they get their funding from you, the ratepayer.
They will cease to serve corrupt, criminal politicians, and they will start to serve YOU.
There will be no contracts or service level agreements that allow rogue entities to do as they please. There will be severe consequences when services are not delivered.
My fellow Joburgers, when we get into government, and once we have fixed our foundation and got basic service delivery back on track, we will continue moving Johannesburg forward and make our city, a Smart City.
• There will be digital record keeping of all customer engagement with the municipality, to understand each customer’s needs, preferences, and service history.
• Integration of agencies both within and outside the municipality such as the use of the City’s CCTV network to assist law enforcement in apprehension and prosecution.
• Through smart procurement we can improve the accessibility to government contracts to a wider number of deserving and competent companies and in the process, reduce the human interference where corruption takes place.
• Smart recruitment can also ensure we are fully staffed with people that are fit for purpose and we can thus eliminate that other form of corrupt human interference – nepotism.
We will rebuild Johannesburg and make it shine again.
We will get basic services back on track so that you can finally get what you paid for and what you deserve.
We will work tirelessly until election day to show you what a DA majority can mean for you.
We will bring you uninterrupted service delivery.
We will keep the criminals and corrupt away from your money.
And we will continue to grow Johannesburg to become that shining gold of South Africa and of Africa.
We will make it happen.
We will change this City once and for all.
I am ready, and so are all of you.