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‘Days of sitting in offices are over’: new Joburg mayor vows to get hands dirty

Service delivery is Jolidee Matongo’s top priority as he eyes the looming local government elections

11 August 2021 - 14:55 By nonkululeko njilo
Jolidee Matongo, the new Johannesburg mayor.
Jolidee Matongo, the new Johannesburg mayor.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Newly elected Johannesburg executive mayor Jolidee Matongo has announced 10 members of his cabinet, whom he says will hit the ground running in a bid to restore the image of SA’s biggest-budget municipality. 

Matongo won the mayoral bid unopposed during an extraordinary council meeting on Tuesday.  

He appointed only two councillors, retaining eight from his predecessor Geoff Makhubo’s team.

MMC for finance Matshidiso Mfikoe and MMC for economic development Thomas Mofokeng are the new members of the mayor’s cabinet.  

The retained councillors are: MMC for environment and infrastructure Mpho Moerane; housing MMC Mlungisi Mabaso; transport MMC Helen Makhuba; health and social development MMC Eunice Mgcina; group corporate shared services MMC Loyiso Masuku; community development MMC Margaret Arnolds; development planning MMC Thapelo Amad; and public safety MMC Mally Mokoena. 

They were all sworn in on Wednesday. Matongo said they would, among other matters, prioritise good governance, financial sustainability, integrated human settlements, sustainable service delivery, job opportunities and creation, and a safer and a smart city.  

“Madam speaker, today’s swearing-in ceremony marks the beginning of the incoming leadership of the city’s full commitment to continue the outlined priorities through the accelerated service delivery programmes as we heard towards the end of the term.”

It is going to be a time to hold each other accountable. From the cleaner to myself as the executive mayor, no-one is going to be spared. The days of sitting in offices all day, instead of being out on the ground, are over.
Newly elected Joburg mayor Jolidee Matongo

With a budget of R73.3bn approved for the 2021/2022 financial year and an integrated development plan, a blueprint guiding the metro’s framework for development, Matongo said a financial recovery plan amid the socioeconomic devastation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic was being finalised.

“Therefore in the coming months, to the end of the term, there will be clear intolerance of underspending by departments and entities, clear intolerance of non-responsiveness to service failures, non-tolerance of unauthorised irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure. All members of the city’s workforce are expected to pull their weight in how we serve the people of Johannesburg,” he said. 

Matongo was clear in his assertion that officials who did not pull their weight would be shown the door. He said the ANC expected him “to have something to show to the electorate” before the upcoming elections, which are expected to take place in February next year, if the push to postpone them beyond October 27 succeeds.

“Ladies and gentlemen, it is going to be a time to hold each other accountable. From the cleaner to myself as the executive mayor — no-one is going to be spared. The days of sitting in offices all day, instead of being out on the ground, serving communities to the best of our abilities, are over. All hands are needed on deck,” he said.     

He shared similar sentiments while addressing journalists on Tuesday afternoon, saying he would not be sitting in offices wearing a tie, but would be on the ground. 

“What we’re going to be doing without any fear or favour is to ensure that those who are assigned the responsibility to deliver the services, do so; so it means if people don’t play ball, don’t spend money, we don’t have time to waste, they will have to go and sit at home. If we have to meet them at the labour court, we will do so.”