Today is World Tourism Day and I am in one of Johannesburg’s tourism hotspots, the Maboneng Precinct, to see for myself how bad service delivery and ill-considered lockdown restrictions have harmed the local economy, deterred tourists, and destroyed investment here.
Restaurants and other businesses in this area are suffering the effects of an unstable administration that has failed to insulate them from national government failures.
I am here to tell the residents and businesses of Joburg that the Democratic Alliance will not abandon them. They can rely on Mpho Phalatse to stay the course over the next five years, ensuring the reliable supply of basic services that businesses such as these in Maboneng need to survive and thrive. Unlike others, she will put their needs first, and focus on getting the basics right.
Joburg businesses will never thrive, and jobs will never be created, with the random, frequent water and power cuts that have become the norm here.
Under Mpho’s leadership, a DA-led Johannesburg council will do everything possible to ensure that every community has uninterrupted access to clean, running water, that is safe to drink and prepare food. Water outages such as those that various communities in Joburg have suffered recently are completely unnecessary and should be unacceptable to residents.
The DA will invest in maintenance and upgrading of water infrastructure to secure a reliable future supply, as we have done in all the municipalities where we govern with a full majority. And we will reduce reaction times to burst pipes, which is essential to reducing water losses and restoring water supply. Between 2016 and 2019, the DA in Johannesburg replaced 325km of water and sewer pipes which reduced leaks from 29% from 19%.
A DA government will work to ensure access to reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity as we have done in Cape Town. Over and above Eskom load shedding, Joburg residents and businesses had to endure 3416 City Power outages in the year ending June 2021, generating 157 000 complaints. This is unsurprising, since only 5% of the repairs and maintenance budget was spent on upgrading the power grid, which is critical in Joburg. 30% of electricity is lost to transmission losses and illegal connections, power that council cannot charge for.
A DA government will fix electricity supply and improve affordability by upgrading infrastructure, reducing losses, and purchasing directly from independent suppliers. We 7are already at the forefront of the fight to purchase power direct from Independent Power Producers, rather than having to rely on Eskom.
While local governments do not control the country’s economy, they still have a vital role to play in creating the environment for businesses to thrive. A DA government will ensure effective and reliable waste collection to enable clean public spaces needed for restaurants and other businesses to attract customers.
We will reclaim public spaces currently overtaken by lawlessness, litter and neglect, so that they may once again be places for all to enjoy. We will invest in keeping streets and public areas clean, including sufficient and visible litter bins.
Business operators and vendors such as these in Maboneng should know that under a DA council, potholes will be filled, and roads will be maintained to an excellent condition. Customers are drawn to places that are clean and well-maintained, and the DA will provide this environment, so that investor confidence can be restored in this and other local Joburg economies.
A DA-led Johannesburg will also ensure more Opportunity Centres throughout the City to support businesses and encourage entrepreneurs. We understand the importance of growing local economies to create jobs and ensure the livelihoods of residents.
The DA is the only party with a track record of delivery in government. We have shown time and time again that where we get a full mandate, we get things done for residents and businesses. While we govern fewer than 10% of SA’s municipalities, the five best-performing municipalities are all DA-run. The best-performing metro and province are also DA-run.
The local elections on 1 November are a crucial opportunity to stop Joburg’s decline and get its local economies back on track. Only the DA can keep the ANC and EFF out of government in Johannesburg. Only the DA can be relied on to get things done for the people and businesses of Jozi.