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Opinionista

Stability is needed to continue coalition success in Joburg

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Funzela Ngobeni is the DA's mayoral candidate for the City of Johannesburg.

I am standing for mayor of the City of Johannesburg to ensure that our 2016 mandate is completed and not to allow this city to regress and the gains of the residents of Johannesburg evaporate as a result of corruption.

The City of Johannesburg has experienced significant change over the past three years at the hands of the coalition government led by the Democratic Alliance. Key changes we have brought about include the cutting of frivolous expenditure through concerted austerity measures which have increased the percentage of the capital budget spent on infrastructure and housing from 58% in 2016 to 71% in 2019.

We have also made a major turnaround in resolving the long-standing billing crisis, with the number of queries coming down every month, backlogs being reduced and the average time to resolve queries being halved. As the DA candidate for the position of mayor, I will keep this trajectory of success.

Stability is essential for the City of Johannesburg in this period until the 2021 elections. I believe in finishing what was started in 2016. As a key player in the collective effort that has grown investment in the city by 400% from R4.5-billion in 2016 to R17.3-billion in 2019, I have the institutional experience to continue driving the coalition government’s efforts at making Johannesburg a place worthy of the title of “World Class City”.

The vision of the DA-led coalition in Johannesburg is perfectly encapsulated in ‘Diphetogo’, a Setswana word referring to “a great change” or “evolution”. This coalition has striven to embark on steps to bring change to the residents of Johannesburg, change that will improve the lives of the poor; make the vulnerable feel safe and secure; bring opportunity and stimulate the economy of the city and restore the city to its world-class status that will bring dignity to those residing within. In our endeavours to serve the most vulnerable we have ensured the extension of operating hours of 26 clinics across the city. In extending clinic operating hours healthcare and access to medical services has been improved.

I have been fortunate to be part of a coalition that proves the great ideal of our nation; that diverse political views can come together towards a greater mission. A mission that sets aside petty ideological differences, and instead focuses strongly on the daily lived experiences of the people of this beautiful city. Indeed, as we have been shown by our national rugby team, the Springboks, South Africans are “Stronger Together”. As the mayor of Johannesburg, I plan to build on our achievements in the past three years, to fulfil the plans agreed with our coalition partners and the EFF.

I have been in politics for over a decade and have been an activist for longer. As a result, I have gained key qualities that are important in navigating a dynamic political climate. I have the fortitude to deal with the challenges facing our city whether they are structural or the manifestations of political actors. My journey to becoming a civil servant was sparked by the moment in 1990 of seeing a triumphant Nelson Mandela walking out of prison. Inspired by the success of the struggle embodied in the persona of Mandela, I joined student politics, where I had the honour to serve as a Deputy SRC President. In my activism a key drive has been the redress, to undo the injustices of the past that have placed South Africa in the very contemptible position of being one of the most unequal countries in the world.

Mandela’s release was a watershed moment for our country, between a dark past and a future filled with promise. Unfortunately, the bright future that was promised in 1994 has been shattered upon the ANC rocks of greed, corruption, and incompetence. As can be observed in the revelations of the Zondo State Capture Commission, the ANC has betrayed its mandate by choosing to serve itself instead of the people of this country.

In August 2016 the DA-led coalition took it upon itself to serve the people of this city, and so it was to the people whom we have given our allegiance, and loyalty as public servants. Over the past three years, we have had hard-won successes in an environment that has not been made easy by an ANC intent on protecting its corrupt members from being held accountable. The criminals who have been in the past administration of this city were struck by fear when we declared corruption as public enemy number one.

We have established a forensic and anti-corruption unit that has over 6,000 cases under investigation, which are looking at matters of corruption and maladministration totalling more than R35-billion in expenditure. The unit has managed to affect hundreds of arrests and dismissals of City officials involved in malfeasance. As the next mayor of Johannesburg, I pledge myself to intensify the fight against corruption, and work to ensure the recovery of money from politically connected crooks.

The past three years have been a courageous journey to set things right by dislodging unscrupulous individuals from the positions where they were free to loot. In our transition, these individuals may believe they will have another opportunity at the feeding trough. However, they must be warned that we remain resolute in our cause and mission for this city. We shall not allow this city to regress and the gains of the residents of Johannesburg to evaporate as a result of corruption. I stand for mayor to ensure our 2016 mandate is completed. DM

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