Tshwane's Msimanga marks first 100 days in office

Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga speaks to the media after giving feedback on his first 100 days in office (Mpho Raborife, News24)
Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga speaks to the media after giving feedback on his first 100 days in office (Mpho Raborife, News24)

Pretoria - Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga marked his first 100 days in office by having his mayoral committee sign one year performance agreement contracts on Monday.

"We will sign a contract together to deliver what we have promised. Each MMC will reaffirm their resolve to work towards building a prosperous city by signing their performance agreement contracts for the 2016/2017 financial year against which they will be monitored and evaluated," Msimanga said.

Msimanga said he had inherited a "mess" from the previous administration which would take time to sort through.

"As I address you today please bear in mind that the project of turning this ship around is one that will take time, but we are making progress and I promise you we will get there."

Part of this "mess" included unlawful contracts and costly projects which now have to be completed while others need to be undone.

Amongst some projects being reviewed by the city was the controversial smart electricity meter that the previous administration had acquired. The matter is currently in court.

"The city is in the process of getting itself out of the PEU smart meter contract which we believe was unlawfully entered into by the previous administration to the tune of billions," Msimanga said.

"In so doing, the city has been haemorrhaging public funds that could otherwise be used to provide services to the millions of people in Tshwane who need a stable and sustainable electricity supply."

Recruitment of competent, qualified senior executives

He said this would not be possible with the current contract still in place and hoped that the courts would rule in the city's favour by declaring the contract invalid.

Msimanga said other entities were being reviewed including the Tshwane Economic Development Agency, the Housing Company Tshwane as well as the Sandspruit Works Association – which was already in the process of being wound down, he said.

Other entities, contracts and projects which do not make financial sense or show value for money for the city, would also be reviewed, he said.

Having a highly competent top management team was paramount to this, Msimanga said.

"As part of stabilising the city recruitment of competent and qualified senior executives or top management is a priority especially considering the fact that most fixed term contracts for senior executives are expiring, namely deputy city manager positions and some of the heads of departments," he said.

He was currently in the process of finalising the appointment of a city manager, he said.

The city was sitting on a R2bn deficit, he said.

It would take time to take the city out of the red. However, they had already begun making some progress by collecting all revenue owed to the city by various national and provincial government departments, he said.

City working with Rand Water

One positive aspect was the city exceeding its water use reduction target.

Since Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane's call for municipalities to reduce their water usage by 15% Tshwane had exceeded the target and was currently sitting at 24.5%.

He said officials from the city and Rand Water were working together to track down leakages and burst pipes speedily, which helped.

"We are also dealing with up to 50 000 leakages that we are now starting to address in earnest," he said.

"We thank the residents of the city for heeding a call to reduce water use by 15%."

The city had since purchased 3 000 water flow restrictors which would be installed on water meters belonging to the biggest water users.

"Those that continuously don't adhere to the restrictions, we are now going to [ensure] that those restrictions are put on them so that we can throttle them further," he added.

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