Joburg mayor Geoff Makhubo applauds city revenue collection despite Covid-19

04 May 2021 - 13:37 By aphiwe deklerk
Johannesburg mayor Geoff Makhubo. File image.
Johannesburg mayor Geoff Makhubo. File image.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

Johannesburg mayor Geoff Makhubo says despite the economic disruptions caused by Covid-19, his city has performed well in terms of revenue collection.

Makhubo was delivering his state of the city address during a special sitting of the council on Tuesday.

He applauded the city's revenue collection despite the complications caused by Covid-19 lockdowns which resulted in several businesses closing down and losing revenue. 

“Despite the challenging institutional and macroeconomic environment due to the pandemic, the city managed to collect 86.3% of the revenue, against an adjusted Covid-19 risk target of 88% for the 2019/20 financial year, as well as acquired a surplus of R3.7bn for 2019/20.

“Encouragingly, the city still collected more revenue by 6%. Furthermore, the city’s financial position is in solid standing, with total assets increasing by 5%. The city has remained focused on continuously strengthening its financial position while actively pursuing the achievement of its service delivery goals,” said Makhubo.

His statement may come as a relief as the City of Johannesburg last year was among the three Gauteng metros which were hardest hit by Covid-19, failing to collect a combined R3.5bn due to the pandemic.

At the time Gauteng local government MEC Lebogang Maile said the City of Johannesburg had failed to collect R1.5bn, performing the worst of the three metros.

But on Tuesday, Makhubo said the challenging conditions in the 2019/20 financial year did not deter the city's efforts to perform well. 

“The city has again achieved an unqualified audit opinion, as was the case in the previous financial years. We therefore continue to strive towards a clean administration and the highest standards of corporate governance,” he said.

“As I have mentioned on various occasions, one of the top priorities of this administration is to root out corruption and malfeasance. We continue to strengthen the capacity of risk, audit, compliance and raising the moral and ethical calibre of our employees.”

He did not hold back from taking a shot at the DA coalition government which took over the city in 2016 and was voted out of power late in 2019.

“We inherited an institution not only lacking experience, but one that was riddled with governance failures, in areas of procurement, as evidenced by the challenges around fleet management. 

“The policies of insourcing although well intended, good intentions were peppered with maladministration and corruption threatening the stability of the institution from within and outside,” said Makhubo.

He said the city’s internal systems neared collapse, with low revenue collection, high financial mismanagement and record irregular expenditure.

“The withdrawal of the city from global commitments and agreements as well as [the SA Local Government Association] locally in the preceding three-year period damaged the city’s reputation as a leading city.”