We don't have another 28 years to fix errors of the past, says Joburg mayor Mpho Phalatse
As the country commemorated Freedom Day on Wednesday, City of Joburg mayor Dr Mpho Phalatse pledged that the multiparty government's commitment to freedom would always be an everyday act of service to the six million residents of Johannesburg.
“We do not have another 28 years to correct the years of apartheid or time to blame previous democratic administrations,” Phalatse said in a statement.
She emphasised that achieving freedom was not an event, but an everyday practice.
“The work we do is driven by a call to serve and build a city of golden opportunities, where Johannesburg’s residents, regardless of status or location across its seven regions, are free to be who they are and are equally free to pursue work, educational and personal opportunities.”
She said with a full understanding of the extent of Joburg’s problems and the frustration and anger that these problems cause for residents, the multiparty government is making daily progress in building a city where the residents can live freely.
Phalatse said the process to appoint a permanent city manager was under way.
She also said with the understanding of the economic pressures residents face, the MMC for finance, Julie Suddaby, had received the support of the council to expand the criteria for residents who will qualify for assistance from the city through the debt rehabilitation programme.
“For example, qualifying distressed ratepayers will be able to access a 100% debt write-off on an outstanding balance that is more than 90 days where the applicant is a pensioner or registered indigent customer,” Phalatse said.
She added that the council, through the work of MMC for economic development Nkuli Mbundu, had passed the Informal Trade Policy (ITP).
According to Phalatse, the policy recognises the importance of informal traders in the city and the need to regulate and empower this economic sector. It, furthermore, in part, signals the investment in the inner-city and other business nodes, where the sector is well represented.
She also said the city’s commitment to rebuilding the CBD was given a boost with the approval of plans spearheaded by MMC for community development Ronald Harris for what will be known as the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Precinct.
“The inner-city precinct encompasses the broader area around the St Mary’s Cathedral, where the late man of the cloth and fighter for freedom served as Dean and later Bishop of Johannesburg. The approval of the plan means the allocation of resources to clean, keep safe and develop the area,” the mayor said.
Phalatse also spoke out against the rampant cable theft across the city and committed to securing critical economic infrastructure.
She said with the city’s rollout strategy, she will be joining the national government and provincial police this week in an operational campaign to combat sabotage of the city’s efforts to build and sustain economic activity.
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