With just a week to go before the May 8 elections, Herman Mashaba, mayor of the City of Johannesburg, has said its multi-party government brought about change to residents, but the ANC would have nothing of it and staged a walkout.
Mashaba delivered his State of the City Address at the council chambers in Braamfontein, Johannesburg on Tuesday.
The mayor outlined the city's achievements, emphasising the importance of service delivery and the planned programmes for the city.
Throughout his address, the ANC caucus, before staging a walkout, chanted: "We don't have a mayor" and "Go to Alexandra and stop avoiding the people".
Proceedings were also halted for almost 15 minutes when two other councillors refused to allow Mashaba to continue with his speech, arguing that there was no quorum.
Council speaker Vasco Da Gama consequently instructed security officers to remove the councillors from the chambers.
Mashaba eventually continued his address, saying the city was beginning to "roll back" years of under-spending on infrastructure service delivery.
He said the multi-party government has now increased spending on repairs and maintenance from 2% spending on repairs and maintenance, to over 5% by the end of the 2019/20 financial year.
He outlined that the city is now spending on electricity, roads, transport and housing through the Diphetogo (change) programme.
There is increased focus on upgrading aged electricity networks and old substations that were not able to keep up with the increasing demands of the growing communities.
The approach towards delivering services to informal settlements has also changed, Mashaba said. Residents from informal settlements would no longer be left without services and no longer have to wait for housing opportunities, he said.
Mashaba said Joburg Water has manufactured 151 million litres of water tanks in the informal settlements in order to meet residents' basic needs, while 57 000 ventilated improved pit (VIP) toilets and 7 178 chemical toilets have been delivered, which are being routinely serviced.
"It is our hope that these interim measures will help start placing these poor communities towards the path of attaining the dignity which they have been deprived of, and dignity that they truly deserve," he said.
Extended operating hours in clinics
Operating hours of city-owned clinics have also been extended to allow for services to be delivered to thousands of patients who use the facilities, following the pilot programme at the Princess Clinic in Roodepoort, Mashaba said.
"The City has now extended the operating hours of 22 clinics in our City, with a further four to be rolled out before the end of this financial year.
"When you consider that these clinics are treating on average over 100 000 patients every year, you can work it out to understanding that over 2.6 million patients are being served in our extended hours clinics," Mashaba said.
One of the major crises the city is facing, Mashaba said, is illegal immigrants that have spread out in different areas.
This was evident from reports received from 66 city-operated clinics. Mashaba said the clinics measured that over 32 000 undocumented foreigners were treated during 2016 and the figure rose to 83 000 in 2018.
"An audit of our social and RDP housing is under way, but early indications would demonstrate that a large number of the occupants of these facilities are undocumented foreign nationals.
"There can be no doubt that the immigration crisis in our country is contributing to pressures on government to provide services with limited funding," he said.
Council will sit on Friday, May 3 to debate Mashaba's address.
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