Mayor punts Jo'burg as 'financially sound'

The City of Johannesburg is financially sound but will need to spend R100-billion on improving and developing the city over the next 10 years, mayor Parks Tau said on Thursday.

“Today we can say with much confidence that our institution and entities are much stronger and our financial position is sound,” Tau said in a state of the city address prepared for delivery.

More people than ever before had access to basic services such as water and sanitation, electricity and waste removal, he said.

Over 30 000 households in informal settlements had access to basic water through communal standpipes and over 30 000 households were provided access to basic sanitation.

Tau said there was 98% coverage for basic water and 91% for basic sanitation.

The city had 50 clinics where anti-retrovirals were available.

A massive need
Soweto was being upgraded to the extent that its facilities were hosting international events and inner city housing close to work had proved to be successful, the mayor said.

With a population estimated at 3.8-million people, the city needed massive development and expansion of its socio-economic infrastructure, as well as work on its basic services such as water reticulation systems and waste treatment plants.

Tau acknowledged complaints about billing and customer services.

“We share their concerns. Therefore, billing and customer services remain one of our top focus areas in ensuring that we regain the trust and confidence of our residents,” he said.

“It is not acceptable for people to wait long periods of time to have calls answered, or have calls dropped when they eventually get through.”

Improving quality
Tau said part of the city’s improvement plans included a change in the city’s billing and revenue collection service and an improvement of the quality of the customers’ interaction with the city.

At least R100-billion would be spent on improving the city, he said.

Plans included an economic node in Lanseria, the R1.2-billion Oasis in Soweto initiative which would incorporate townhouses, offices and retail space, and a retail development in Alexander.

Through the Johannesburg metro police department, at least 10 police officers per ward would be deployed around the city to prevent crime.

Tau said an “ambitious” social assistance programme would be run with non-government bodies for poor people and a skills audit of city employees would be conducted.—Sapa

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