Herman Mashaba highlights Joburg's achievements during his State of the City Address

Johannesburg executive mayor Herman Mashaba announced on Thursday that a job seeker's database set to replace Jozi@Work would be launched.

"Our new opportunity centre will house the City's soon-to-be-launched work seekers' database, which will effectively replace Jozi@Work and do away with middlemen determining access to those opportunities," said Mashaba.

Mashaba, who was delivering the State of the City Address, said the database would serve as a resource, which qualifying people could use to register to benefit from temporary work opportunities in the City on a fair and rotational basis.

"The City will begin registering thousands of work seekers on our work seekers' database who for the first time, will begin to receive opportunities previously reserved for the connected few."

Arising from the database would be the beginning of a massive artisan training programme, he said.

The country was in desperate need of bricklayers, electricians and plumbers. As a result, 300 youth are going to begin artisan training, he added.

Turning to the issue of road infrastructure, Mashaba said 100 000 potholes in Johannesburg arose from an R11.8bn backlog in the City's road network.

The City has repaired 181 000 potholes across the city and refurbished 520km of road.

He said 78% of 900 bridges in the city were considered to be in poor condition and the infrastructure backlog was sitting at R17bn.

"Our housing list stands at 152 000 people with a need for 300 000 City-produced housing opportunities."

He added that another backlog was the City's finances.  

"In 2012, this City took a decision to invest R100bn in capital expenditure over 10 years… The entire plan was premised on the idea that the City would improve its revenue collection and generate huge cash-backed surpluses that would be matched by National Treasury," said Mashaba. However, he said neither of these two materialised.

"Rather than backtracking on all the marketing, the City began borrowing from future revenue that had not materialised yet."

When Mashaba took up office, the City's debt bill was sitting at R17bn, R5bn of which was due this year.

Instead of focusing on service delivery, the City had to instead address its debt, he said.

On the water network, Mashaba said that, in the 2016/17 financial year, the City's real losses amounted to 107 billion litres of water lost through its dilapidated network.  

He said the City needed to come up with new technology that would save water.

Operating hours had been extended at 13 clinics and 11 libraries around the city, he added.

Last year, the City began the process of releasing derelict City-owned buildings for the purpose of developing quality low-cost housing.

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"I am pleased to report that 12 properties have already been released and developers are coming forward with proposals that meet these expectations, while another 71 will be released soon."

He said the City had delivered 5 145 title deeds and built 1 089 new RDP homes for Johannesburg residents.

"A further 1 000 homes are waiting for electrification to be completed."

On corruption, the City had more than 3 500 cases at various stages of investigation, involving R18bn, he said.

ALSO READ: Mashaba blames NPA for 'hindering' fight against crime in Joburg

"I am pleased to report that over 709 people have been arrested since the establishment of our group forensic unit, of which 38 cases are currently before court."

Mashaba said the City was also investigating companies which were linked to two Cabinet ministers.

The ministers were allegedly listed as directors at these companies, which were meant to provide services for the City.

He did not name the ministers.

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