2023 STATE OF THE CITIES
Potholes, sewage, power cuts – these problems are ‘history’, vows new Ekurhuleni mayor
Newly installed mayor Sivuyile Ngodwana said in his State of the City Address that water, refuse, power, sewerage and potholes were among the top service delivery priorities in Ekurhuleni.
‘We have taken the ropes so that we can do that which the previous government couldn’t do. Topping the new administration’s priority is service delivery and nothing else, said Ekurhuleni mayor Sivuyile Ngodwana of the African Independent Congress (AIC).
Ngodwana was speaking during his State of the City Address at the OR Tambo Council Chamber in Germiston on Tuesday morning. The DA boycotted the event, which it claimed was a waste of money.
According to Ngodwana, this is the first State of the City Address to be delivered by a collaboration government of the ANC, EFF, AIC, COPE, NFP, UDM, PAC, PA, IRASA, ICM and ATM.
His party holds three seats in the metro council.
He said: “These are the parties that decided to put their differences aside and put the residents of Ekurhuleni first.”
City of Ekurhuleni Council
The council strife has left residents with little or no delivery of services, with problems ranging from uncollected waste and potholed roads, to sewerage, power cuts and water challenges.
Ngodwana said in his address that service delivery problems in Ekurhuleni were “history”.
“We as the people’s government have now taken the baton and the service delivery machine gets in motion with earnest right now… It was in November 2021 when we embarked on a democratic local government election. During this process our people gave us the mandate to improve their living standard and indeed we raised our hands to ask for their votes because we believed in our efforts to bring about change. Unfortunately, we could not do much as the minority government came into power and took over the reins… This is history.”
The mayor added that the need for better services was a common thread in the Development Plan (IDP) public meetings in recent weeks.
Under the State of the City theme “Working together to build better and prosperous communities”, the people’s government was looking into diversifying energy sources to increase capacity to contribute to ending load shedding, as well as introducing load shedding exemptions to qualifying industrial customers.
Ngodwana also said the people’s government would build water security in the city of Ekurhuleni by completing the rationalising of the 29 reservoirs under construction and completing nine reservoirs within the next 100 days.
As far as sewage spills are concerned, the City would assign and fund the Ekurhuleni Water Care Company to scale up the rehabilitation of waste facilities and maintenance of sewer networks.
The City would also ensure waste disposal and landfill sites were fully operational and clean at all times to avoid any disruption to the service. He added that the City would accelerate the fixing of potholes.
“We want to assure residents that the era of lethargic service delivery has come to an end. We commit to ensuring that what is expected of this collective happens and that residents get their money’s worth,” Ngodwana concluded.
The DA did not attend the State of City Address in protest. According to the Ekurhuleni caucus leader and former mayor Tania Campbell, they are disappointed that 2023’s State of the City Address would come at great expense to the city when it should be implementing cost-containing measures.
“We were not going to have a big event for Soca this year. It would have been a normal report-back in a normal council sitting and this was to assist the City with savings wherever we can.”
Commenting on the DA’s absence, Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi wrote on Twitter: “So childish for the DA and friends to stay away from work in Ekurhuleni. It’s becoming clear when we unite the enemy will not show up! Well done Executive Mayor of Ekurhuleni for delivering the people-centred State of the City Address. The People’s Government in Action!” DM