Soca debate reveals concern for Joburg’s finances

The debate on Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba‘s recent State of the City Address (Soca) on 4 May revealed a concern for the City of Johannesburg’s financial well-being from the opposition.

The African National Congress (ANC) once again raised their concerns in council, this time, from former mayor Parks Tau. He said he had hoped the overall message from the mayor would have focused on rebuilding the financial health of the City, which he said has been progressively eroded by Mashaba’s administration.

In his Soca, the mayor said the City had previously borrowed from future revenue that did not materialise and that it now has to deal with a R17-billion debt.

Tau argued that the City had set aside money to repay the long-term obligations in its capital redemption fund, and accused the mayor of not mentioning this because this fund has been ‘raided to pay for short-term requirements’.

He also said the R100-billion investment in capital expenditure over 10 years was a way of dealing with infrastructure backlogs. “After all, the problems we are dealing with, inherited from centuries-long apartheid social engineering, are much broader and require a more holistic and strategic approach as encapsulated in our capital expenditure investment frameworks.”

Mashaba later responded to these and other comments by councillors. He said he would take on board many of the issues raised within the debate, in consideration of the finalisation of the Budget, IDP and Service Delivery and Budget Implementation Plan.

Responding to the ANC, Mashaba said it was ‘unfortunate that, once again, the ANC had failed to recognise the state of the City that was under their leadership’.

“The previous administration had been determined to drive the City into a state of financial ruin, the consequences of which we must now manage. The R100-billion, 10-year capital budget plan, set by the previous administration was a smoke screen meant to pull the wool over the eyes of residents and international investors.”

The Economic Freedom Fighters‘ (EFF) leader in Joburg, Musa Novela, also said they were left disappointed at the mayor’s address. He shared his dismay that ‘a mere 1 089 units’ were built during this financial year. “That simply means it will take the City over 300 years to address the current housing backlog,” he said.

“The rate of land occupation is a clear signal that people are starving for a piece of land.”
Novela also said that if the DA-led coalition government is serious about achieving economic growth of 5 per cent, job creation should no longer be rhetoric. “It’s been 15 months now and our people are still waiting for the Jozi@Work replacement programme.”


Also check out:

No billing concerns in Joburg’s 2018 Soca?

14 things Joburg’s mayor revealed in his 2018 Soca

Latest from Rosebank Killarney Gazette