Exemplary Executive Mayors, Exemplary Leadership!

2017-03-23 22:46

Solly Msimaga, the Executive Mayor of Tshwane Metro and Herman Mashaba, the Executive Mayor of Johannesburg Metro are arguably the most visible executive mayors. Their leadership is transparent and action oriented. Both communicate and listen to the people. When they tweet, they tweet on the ground rolling with the people. That is to say their leadership is embedded with the people. What they say is not just talk, you can actually see them at the scene of action - on the ground.

The two are slowly bringing back local government to the people after decades of disorientation.

Let us look at both executive mayors briefly, and we shall only focus on the recent events in their itinerary. Where were they and what were they doing this week and the past few weeks?

Herman Mashaba has been in the thick and thin with the people in dangerous corners of the notorious Johannesburg metro inner cities walking up and down through dilapidated run down buildings seeking to get practical insights on the people's problems on the ground. From that work he has developed an understanding of the interaction between the locals and foreign nationals. He has been resolute in seeking to come up with solutions around this complex issue.

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Another area that he has been working tirelessly is the massive corruption, racketeering happening on the allocation of RDP Houses. A week ago he was at Alex FM in Alexandra Township listening to a whole plethora of problems from residents. He was sad and sorrowful that he cannot do much on this issue since the area falls within the provincial and national sphere of government. He discovered that the problem is not only in Johannesburg but across the country. Callers all over the country later told him this at Power FM, and he sounded frustrated and very disappointed of the suffering of people in the hands of the ruling elite.

The Mayor is passionate about the development of Soweto. And he wants the Soweto Country Club being developed and promoted. On Monday he was in Soweto and his key message was: "We want to see professional golfers coming out of Soweto in the next 15 years; it’s possible". That is the art of leadership - setting clear goals with timelines.

Herman Mashaba's slogan and motto is  "When Johannesburg works, South Africa works. When South Africa works, the African continent works".

But perhaps his strength is his weakness. His strength is that he is too confident and too sure of his own ideas. He does not see the need to engage in braggadocios as some others do. But in all the criticisms, no critic can accuse him of hypocrisy as a leader. What I hear when people criticize him is that he is good man, with good intentions, a man whose heart is in the right place, but, a non-democrat nonetheless! Because he just want to implement good ideas without canvassing them wildly. Perhaps he just thinks "if the idea is good - why waste time discussing, you can see that this is a good idea!".

On the other hand, executive mayor of Tshwane (the largest metro in the country) Solly Msimanga seems to be a person passionate about the environment and the green economy in particular. This week he has been busy interacting with schools children about the importance of water conservation.

Also, he has been promoting the use of renewal energy, and has just announced the Tshwane flagship policy regarding this on Thursday: "I am happy to announce our flagship policy on Embedded Power Generation, which promotes small scale solar power generation by residents. Embedded Power Generation is essentially allowing small power generation by residents or small businesses for their own use. Residents can generate solar power from a roof-top panel during the day, and sell their excess to the City.

This Saturday, he will be in Hammanskraal Sports Complex. He will be launching and participating in  the "Hammanskraal Kasi Ride". The activities during the day will be: aerobics, indigenous games, cycling, health screenings, fun walk, road running, skating, etc. I am going to be there and having a good time with this polite, cordial and wonderful Mayor.

But perhaps what is notable about Solly Msimanga is that he is known to have stopped the sordid scheme of buying of expensive cars by the ANC. Soon after his election, as executive mayor, he put his foot down and declared:

“No new luxury cars will be bought or leased for politicians, and if vehicles currently owned by Tshwane require replacement, sensible and low-cost vehicles will be procured. I will not allow public money to be spent on luxury cars, while our people struggle for services, houses and jobs. No more luxury cars will be bought or leased under my government. A Hyundai i20 or Toyota Corolla can do the same job for a politician as an expensive sedan". He is a fiscally disciplined and fiscally responsible manager.

Executive Mayor Solly Msimanga is often described as the most humble, the most unassuming; he speaks softly, but carries a big stick with the ultimate strength of character!

As can be seen, both executive mayors are quite different in their personality styles, but they share similar qualities. Both their tenures, without a doubt, are marked by tireless results-oriented zeal, the desire to make a difference. They have shunned the trappings of office, abjured self-aggrandizement. They are both super-patriots, they are both incorruptible (so far). They have set about the task of achieving certain goals. They both posses a common touch with the common people. No one can accuse neither of them of avarice, greed and ostentatious consumption. They are just too happy and too satisfied in rolling with the people in the idea of service to the country.

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