For the first time in a long time, the City of Johannesburg is moving forward in the right direction.
At least, that is what Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba said in his second State of the City Address (Soca) on 2 May. A year ago, almost to the day, the mayor promised better service delivery and anti-corruption efforts in his 10-point plan and other strategic plans that have been made public.
He has, for the past year, focused on efforts to double Metro police manpower, tackle corruption and evaluated the abilities of office bearers, among others.
Now, the mayor said, the focus will be on diphetogo, a Sotho word meaning real or fundamental change. The administration has even named their planning for the next financial year after this.
“Diphetogo can be directly interpreted to mean real change, transformational change. It captures the idea that change is not an event but a process,” the mayor said.
“[To achieve diphetogo we must listen] to our residents to define the areas where this change must be prioritised over the long-term.”
Mashaba said service delivery should become more reliable, roads should be in a better condition, gravel roads must be tarred, investment should be aimed at housing and the City should be safer.
Going forward, the mayor said the City will expand its new opportunity centres to stimulate small businesses and entrepreneurs. He also mentioned a lack of artisans in Joburg and said the City will be training over 300 youths to become artisans soon.
The mayor did not elaborate on the billing crisis, but at the media briefing after his speech, he confirmed that the finance department will be announcing its strategies soon, likely ahead of the budget speech at the end of the month.
He did, however, say that residents need to experience improved customer care. “While we are working to address long-term backlogs in our City, our residents must be treated as partners and not adversaries in customer care.”