Don’t cancel my projects, pleads former Jozi mayor

2016-09-11 00:00
Parks Tau

Parks Tau

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The former mayor of Johannesburg, Parks Tau, is concerned that some of his flagship projects could be canned by the new DA-led coalition government under mayor Herman Mashaba.

He is lobbying smaller parties ahead of the September 14 council meeting where the budget will be tabled and the DA’s priorities for the country’s economic hub are expected to highlighted.

Tau is seeking a buy-in from smaller parties to ensure the ANC gets its way and that the developmental projects he initiated are not derailed. He said he planned to carefully scrutinise the draft budget and, where possible, lobby for its amendment.

With the Economic Freedom Fighters having committed to vote with the DA, this adds additional pressure.

In an interview with City Press this week, Tau raised concerns about the policy uncertainty that comes with the DA being in power. He emphasised that he was not necessarily uncomfortable being a leader of the opposition in a council that is now under Mashaba’s command. However, he admitted that the ANC found itself in an “unfamiliar” position – “something we have to adjust to”.

He said he regarded this as a “temporary setback”, as a plan was afoot to regain lost ground and win back the confidence of the people who voted against the ANC.

He said a number of stakeholders, including communities, would be met in the coming weeks “to fix the wrongs” that the ANC had “blindly limped over” leading to the shocking election outcomes on August 3, that saw the ANC lose control in most major cities.

This forced the party to negotiate coalitions with, among other parties, the African Independent Congress and the Patriotic Alliance to regain control in some hung municipalities throughout the country.

“No party has an outright majority and the nature of coalitions is that you have to lobby the administration.

“I believe we have to tackle issue by issue. It depends what’s at stake and what’s being voted for,” he told City Press. This is part of his plan to push for the retention of some projects the ANC deemed essential for the development of the city.

Meanwhile, new Joburg mayor Mashaba vowed this week that, if by the end of his term unemployment in the city was not under 20%, he would have failed the residents and would accept not being given a second chance.

“Why should people vote me back into power if I fail? Come 2021, if unemployment in the city is not under 20%, I am stepping down.

“I am saying, please don’t vote me back in, because I would have failed the people. Let the people judge me on the number one challenge facing our community – unemployment,” Mashaba said.

Speaking on the sidelines of a social event in Sandton on Thursday evening, Mashaba said on his 16th day in office that his predecessor had failed in terms of job creation.

“When Parks Tau took over the city of Johannesburg in 2011, unemployment in this city was 27%. Today, unemployment in the city is at around 32%,” he said.

Asked what would become of Tau’s projects, Mashaba did not mince his words: “Did Jozi@Work as a programme work? No, absolutely not. Is there a priority to drop it? Absolutely not!

“In fact, I had a meeting with senior heads of department and I said to them, we’re not dropping anything. Give me three to six months and let us implement these policies to see if they will yield any positive results. I don’t want to make a mistake by changing any policies or any programmes,” he said.

Meanwhile, the board of Pikitup, which is owned by the city of Johannesburg, has fired its managing director, Amanda Nair, citing a breakdown in their relationship.

The controversy surrounding Nair follows months of disagreements that led to the company’s workers downing tools and demanding that she resign, following allegations of maladministration.

Pikitup spokesperson Jackie Mashapu said the board decided to part ways with Nair “in the best interest of the company, the shareholders, the employees and the residents of Johannesburg”.


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Read more on:    herman mashaba  |  parks tau  |  city of johannesburg  |  politics

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