LOCAL GOVERNMENT: THE HOT SEAT
Ekurhuleni’s DA mayor faces ‘mammoth’ task after ‘shock’ votes from EFF, ActionSA
Jobs and the service delivery backlog are Tania Campbell’s priorities as metro mayor.
DA councillor Tania Campbell said she was shocked when she realised she had defeated ANC candidate Mzwandile Masina, securing her position as mayor of Ekurhuleni with the help of coalition parties including the EFF and ActionSA.
She won 116 votes, while Masina received 105 at the inaugural meeting of the new administration on Monday, 22 November.
Sworn in to be the fifth mayor, Campbell said: “The biggest challenge as we begin to tackle the service delivery backlog is managing the fiscal constraints of the city. We need to identify critical issues that need to be addressed with urgency.
“We need to get services operating efficiently and effectively so we can begin to turn the city around. I do understand the mammoth task at hand, but I am committed to doing everything to ensure services are being delivered.”
Campbell said she appreciated the enormity of the task that lay ahead, but that would not excuse her from living up to her task of serving the people of Ekurhuleni.
Uppermost in her mind is the high rate of unemployment: “Tackling unemployment in Ekurhuleni is a priority. Attracting investment [will] stimulate job opportunities. But to attract investment, we need to get Ekurhuleni working. We need reliable electricity supply and stable delivery of service.
“By going back to the basics and getting the basics right, we can build a city [that] businesses want to invest in and people want to live in,” she said.
Campbell admitted that her council would face hurdles, citing difficulties such as budget allocations.
“Currently, we have inherited a budget from the previous administration and we will ensure that we get value for money on every rand spent. Once the time comes to approve a new budget, we will engage with the various political parties of the council and share our principles and values, which always put the residents first.”
Asked to describe the relationships her party has with other political parties, Campbell emphasised that the DA did not have any formal relationship with the EFF, but that it had “merely” chosen to support the DA during the council meeting.
Campbell agreed that the council’s sittings on Monday were fractious, but said that for the DA-led coalition to work, cooperation with other parties was essential as “the whole project of governance” should be focused on serving the communities.
Her DA colleague Raymond Dlamini was elected council Speaker.
Campbell said she was acutely aware that she was not just “a DA mayor”, but the mayor of all the people of Ekurhuleni, most of whom face poverty and the challenge of unemployment.
“As a lifelong resident of the City of Ekurhuleni, I am passionate about making a difference in the city I call home. We have begun the hard work and we are working tirelessly for all the residents who call Ekurhuleni home,” she said.
Addressing the alleged corruption that has embroiled the metro, Campbell said the DA had been fearless in asking difficult questions where issues of corruption were raised. She said she would continue to be relentless in her search for answers, and would report any form of malfeasance to relevant law enforcement agencies.
“We will begin the process of investigating allegations of corruption and, where needed, undertake investigative audits. All allegations of corruption will be investigated seriously and, where applicable, the relevant law enforcement agency will be notified.”
Campbell is not new to local government politics. “Over the past 20 years I have accumulated a wealth of experience in public management and governance,” she said.
Campbell completed matric at Germiston Technical College before embarking on her studies in human rights and an executive municipal leadership programme at the University of Pretoria.
She has completed programmes on budgetary principles and performance management, as well as ethics and integrity.
Campbell started her political career in 1997 when she joined the DA. She was sworn in as councillor during the establishment of the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality in 2000. Campbell has served on various oversight committees, and was conferred the title alderman in 2016 in recognition of her 20-year service to local government.
She also serves on the DA Federal Council. DM168
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