Parks Tau unveils his ambitious plans for Joburg

2015-05-06 19:57
City of Joburg mayor Parks Tau

City of Joburg mayor Parks Tau (Daily Sun)

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City of Joburg mayor Parks Tau has unveiled ambitious plans for the city, including creating opportunities for 200 000 unemployed youth by 2016, producing bread low in sugar and generating electricity from turbines placed in bulk water pipes.

These were just a few of the plans from Tau’s state of the city address, delivered earlier today.

Dressed in a dark blue suit, a white shirt and gold tie, the mayor seemed in high spirits as he proudly announced that he was approached by three budding designers from Soweto who offered to dress him on this day.

While some of the young people were finding ways of survival, Tau said the city would embark on a mass-scale programme to empower unemployed youth, saying Vulindlel’ eJozi aims “to break down barriers to opportunities for 200 000 youth by 2016”.

It seemed like he was serious about his city playing a “big daddy” role.

Residents will be encouraged to exercise, lower their alcohol consumption and stop smoking.

The city has taken to getting food establishments to sign a pledge committing them to “curb the high rate of lifestyle diseases by simply offering additional healthy eating options on their menus”.

“The pledge has been signed by restaurants as diverse as Wimpy, Hard Rock Cafe, Nambitha and Sakhumzi in Vilakazi Street, Spur, Ubuntu Kraal and Ocean Basket. This is more than a pledge; it is a commitment to raise the level of healthy offerings across the food retail sector,” said Tau.

It does not end there. Tau also revealed the city’s plan to introduce what he described as “cheaper and healthier bread” that will be sold citywide.

“As you know, our communities consume significant quantities of bread, most of it very high in sugar content by international standards. As a local economic development initiative we are looking at options to introduce food trimmings as a flour replacement into the bread making process,” he said.

“At the same time we will be enabling new micro mushroom farms that will turn nutrition into a viable business for thousands of community-based operators.”

The city also intends to ensure that you cook your meal without any load shedding.

“Given the energy constraints we face, we will be harnessing energy from the water flowing through our pipe system citywide using in-pipe turbines,” said Tau.

For extra power supply and for Joburg areas not to be affected as much by rolling blackouts, the mayor said the city was talking to potential investors with the aim of increasing power output at Kelvin Power Station – a Kempton Park-based coal-fired power station.

“At 200 megawatts, Kelvin Power Station provides 7% of the city’s needs. We are engaging with the private sector to secure investment in Kelvin to push its capacity to at least 600 megawatts,” he said.

“Combining these innovations with electricity generated by users through solar panels and other technology plus ripple control, which allows the city to manage power usage in specific areas, the city can reduce power from the grid by 25% without blackouts in any City Power areas.”

Projects in the pipeline:

» An innovative response to youth unemployment known as Vulindlel’ eJozi aims to break down barriers to opportunities for 200 000 youth by 2016

» The city will incentivise and regulate the installation of low flush toilets and water-saving urinals as a standard feature in Joburg homes, offices and commercial sites to save more water

» Organic waste will be diverted to bio-digesters in order to harvest gas for fuel and energy, adding material from the sewerage system

» 250 000 tons of rubble from illegal dump sites will be converted into a new form of stone paper.

» The city is on track to roll out the third phase of the bus rapid transit system between Alexandra, Sandton, Midrand, Ivory Park and the CBD.

» Following the recent bus tragedy, all Metrobus drivers will be retrained

» Upgrading of the M1, M2 and Soweto Highway will commence soon but without any tolls

» Construction work has started on a new council chamber. The Metro Centre in Braamfontein will be turned into a 24-hour mixed-use campus that provides office space for all city departments and entities and also include residential apartments, retail shops and a “People’s Square”.

» The city has appointed an ombudsman who will soon start accepting complaints from the public about the city and its services.

Achievements:

Despite a number of service delivery protests, Tau said: “We are pleased to report that we have pushed service delivery to higher standards”. The city has, over the course of the term:

» Delivered 12 500 housing units for the underprivileged;
» Built 1000 quality social housing units and rental places;
» Resurfaced 323km of roads;
» Upgraded 44km of gravel roads to surfaced roads;
» Facilitated investment and business transactions worth R1 billion; and

» Ensured a 5% reduction in the mortality rate from fire and pedestrian accidents through rendering quality emergency services.

In the wake of recent xenophobic violence, Tau took some time to speak out against the attacks that coincided with the murder of Mozambican street vendor, Emmanuel Sithole, who was stabbed in Alexandra.

The mayor said “we are all migrants in Joburg”.

Tau has been proactive, and visited xenophobic violence hot spots when the attacks erupted in the city.

“Thousands of people arrive every month from outside of our city limits and across the republic’s borders seeking their fortune in Johannesburg. For as long as this city has existed this has been the case,” he said.

“This city’s vibrancy, vigour, its very foundation is built by migrants. The estimated population of the mining camps along with the surrounding villages that would become this great city back in 1886 was a few hundred people. So the overwhelming majority of us are first, second, third or at best fourth generation migrants.

“We speak with the authority of the vast majority of decent Joburgers who are repulsed and saddened by the racist, xenophobic and Afrophobic actions taken by a selfish minority of criminals. We are and will always remain a world-class African city open to the world.”
Read more on:    parks tau  |  johannesburg  |  local government

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