Johannesburg Executive Mayor Councillor Parks Tau is expected to sum up his administration’s performance of the past five years and spell out major plans to be implemented in the 2016-2021 term when he delivers his State of the City Address (SOCA) on Wednesday May 4.
The speech, the last in the current mayoral term, comes a few days after the City made a declaration at the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) Stakeholder Summit at Nasrec, south of Johannesburg, at the weekend to put people at the centre of development.
Notable successes achieved by the City in the 2011-2016 term include improved quality of governance supported by improved audit opinions; excellent financial management; improved access to basic services; massive increases in infrastructure spending, including improving the delivery of basic services; improved access to health services; improved quality of health infrastructure and increased creation of job opportunities; and improved public transport service.
The City has also made excellent progress in building a smart city, which will result in economic development and job creation, providing a great place to live and work and using digital technologies for better connectivity and improved service delivery.
The City recognises that although developmental challenges remained, there had been significant progress in eliminating them.
The City is certain it has an excellent long-term strategy, as well as medium and short-term plans, to eliminate these challenges and to create a resilient, liveable and sustainable Johannesburg.
Some of the major points expected to feature in Mayor Tau’s speech include:
• Continued investment in the establishment of the Corridors of Freedom, new spatial developments aimed at creating one and united city, where residents will work, school and play closer to their workplaces;
• Increased investment in Rea Vaya, the City’s bus rapid transit (BRT) system, to improve public transportation, ease traffic congestion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, especially following the successful hosting of the EcoMobility World Festival in Sandton in October 2015.
• Strengthening of the Jozi@Work Programme, a mayoral initiative aimed at fighting unemployment, poverty and inequality by contracting co-operatives and community-based businesses to provide the City with services such as grass cutting, cleaning, repairs and maintenance, landscaping, gardening, to mention a few;
• Continuing to create employment and empowerment opportunities for the youth through programmes such as Vulindel’ eJozi – which has achieved phenomenal outcomes in its first year – and Digital Ambassadors;
• Stepping up efforts to arrest food insecurity in many households in the poorest parts of the city by assisting small-scale farmers, establishing food empowerment zones and encouraging the creation of backyard food gardens;
• Building sustainable human settlements, especially in the Turffontein, Louis Botha Avenue and Empire-Perth Corridors of Freedom;
• Investing in Green and Blue economies to support the growth of a greener City through programmes focusing on the reduction of carbon emissions, minimisation of waste impacts, protection of the natural environment and sustainable use of resources in economic activities; and
• Continuing to bridge the digital divide through the rollout of a broadband fibre optic cable to support the City’s information technology infrastructure, improving access to the internet in public libraries and creation of more free Wi-Fi hotspots in the City.
Tune in to your local radio station to listen live of go on social media and search for the hashtag #JoburgSOCA to be part of the conversation.
The spotlight will be on Joburg as the speech is beamed live on Soweto TV and broadcast on SABC radio stations, including Ukhozi and Lesedi. The speech will also be broadcast on many community and mainstream radio stations.