The dignity of the state capture commission has been held up by Zondo's personal approach. Even the most reluctant witness could not gather the rudeness to withdraw.
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Motions of no confidence are a critical part of our democratic process. But like everything else in our democracy, motions can be abused for nefarious reasons, writes Herman Mashaba.
On August 22, 2019, three years to the day when
the multi-party government was elected to govern Johannesburg and when I became
the mayor of Johannesburg, we will face our second motion of no confidence.
If it succeeds, the multi-party government would
have been afforded three years to attempt to fix a city that has been broken by
decades of failed governance, neglect and rampant corruption.
It would be hypocritical of me to lament motions
of no confidence. They exist in our laws for a reason. I was one of many glued
to my television screen praying for them to succeed in removing President Jacob
Zuma in order to see my country saved from the clutches of the state capture
The motion of no confidence I face on August 22
has no such noble intention. It is tabled by the ANC, the very same party that nearly
broke our city, failed our residents and looted with impunity for decades.
Their reasons offered to substantiate their
action are as transparent as they are disingenuous. Before I assumed office, I
had believed that it was government that lied and opposition parties who fought
for the truth. The opposite has proven true in Johannesburg.
The ANC cites an imminent financial collapse of
the city. To be fair they have been citing this as far back as early 2017, when
they alleged we could not afford to pay salaries. The salaries were paid. This
incessant wolf-crying of some imminent financial demise of the city has lasted
for nearly three years. Comparable to the merits of Schabir Shaik's medical
The truth is that we have closed out our 2018/19
financial year with an unprecedented level of 93% expenditure of our capital
budget and 100% expenditure of our infrastructure grant funding. It is the
first time in the city's history that this level of performance has been achieved
for two consecutive years. Our cash balance at the end of the 2018/19 financial
year stood at R4.4bn, more than that which is prescribed by National Treasury
and enough to satisfy our ratings agencies.
While ratings are important, our focus has been
to fix the city's broken infrastructure and redress the social backlogs that
form the lived experiences of far too many of our residents. In this respect,
the multi-party government has begun reversing the mess we inherited. Over 900 km
of our roads have been resurfaced to improve our road condition index, with
over R1.2bn budgeted for this purpose over the next three years. Power outages
are on the decline because of our work in refurbishing old sub-stations,
ensuring they meet the needs of growing communities.
Water leaks and bursts statistics are rapidly
improving due to 120 km of water pipes having been replaced. In just three
years we have started to turn our aging infrastructure around after decades of
neglect. I cannot help but wonder where we could be in a few years from now if
we continue on this trajectory.
We are diversifying our approach to housing to
augment RDP housing with 4 000 serviced stands as part of our efforts to
address the legacy of apartheid spatial planning and provide our residents with
access to land and home ownership. The Inner City project now guarantees 6 000
affordable housing units from the first 84 of over 500 buildings we have seized
Clinic and library operating hours are being
extended and the city's first substance abuse facilities launched. Fire engines
are arriving at every station in our city and our JMPD will nearly double in
size when our recruits graduate in the next few months.
All of this is real change.
Let me turn to our fight against corruption and expose
the dark side of the ANC's motion. We have over 6 000 cases under
investigation, totalling more than R33bn in expenditure. Five of the ANC's
former mayoral committee members have been implicated in criminal wrongdoing or
malfeasance. When the ANC's regional chairperson stands to speak to the motion
of no confidence, he will do so with a cloud of R30m worth of allegedly corrupt
proceeds over his head. This is money he scored through a surreptitious contract
with a state-capture linked company, "to maintain…strategic relationships
with CoJ", while he was the MMC of Finance and responsible for overseeing
the contract between the City of Johannesburg and this very same company.
Motions of no confidence are a critical part of
our democratic process. I have embraced the nature of our coalition arrangement
from day one. I was voted into the mayoralty by eight political parties. If
they wish to replace me, I will respect their decision and stand aside because
I never took this job to advance my personal interests or my political
ambitions – of which I have none. I took this job because serving the people of
Johannesburg is the highest honour I will ever have in my life.
But like everything else in our democracy, motions
can be abused for nefarious reasons. There is no question that this is exactly what
the ANC is doing in this case.
It is important that the residents of
Johannesburg, whose voice in this matter is not being sought, are aware of what
the ANC is doing, why they are doing it and what will happen to the change that
has started to take root in Johannesburg should the ANC succeed.
- Mashaba is the executive mayor of the City of Johannesburg.
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