Please see the speech that was delivered by the DA Tshwane Mayoral candidate, Randall Williams, at the Union Buildings during the Manifesto launch.
Good afternoon, Democrats and members of the media,
Friends, we are less than one month away from the local government elections on 1 November.
Over the last few weeks, we have been placing clear blue water between us and the other political parties.
We have unveiled our mayoral candidates, launched our national manifesto and driven our messaging that the Democratic Alliance gets things done.
Across Tshwane and its 107 wards, our councillors, candidates and activists have been blanketing the city with activities to support our campaigning.
We are continuously engaging with communities to ensure that we listen and respond to their needs.
We are here and we are on the ground across our city.
Let me then start by acknowledging and thanking each and everyone one of you for the efforts that you have put in.
We have got an excellent team in Tshwane to take us forward.
Friends, today we are launching our Tshwane manifesto.
Again, this is what makes us stand out from the rest of the political parties in the country.
We are the only political party to invest ourselves in the detail so that we create specific plans for the major cities in our country.
There is not a single other political organization that is launching individualized city-specific manifestos.
The fact that we can do this is a testament to the depth of knowledge and planning that we are taking into this election.
That is the DA difference.
Historical context of administrators
Democrats, you would have seen this week the Constitutional Court affirmed the decision that the actions by the ANC Provincial Government to place the city under administration was unlawful.
It was a victory for the Democratic Alliance and the residents of Tshwane.
Under 8 months of ANC rule in Tshwane, we know that basic service delivery had effectively ceased due to a lack of any internal controls or oversight.
Grass in public parks and cemeteries was not cut, potholes grew in size, faulty streetlights plunged neighbourhoods into darkness, electricity and water outages took days to be attended to.
And of course, as has well been established, in just 8 months, they plunged the city finances into ruin, taking the DA’s surplus and turning it into a R4.3 billion deficit.
Friends, this is why it is so important to have a plan and strategy that takes the city forward.
This is why we have spent our time in Tshwane ensuring that we systematically identify the key areas that require our focus and attention.
This is what our manifesto speaks to, 10 key points that we will drive the change in Tshwane.
1. Prioritisation of the electrical grid and water infrastructure
The City of Tshwane’s utilities infrastructure such as its substations, transformers, electrical networks, reservoirs, waste-water treatment plants, sewer and water reticulation networks are its most critical assets.
They are the lifeblood of the municipality and drive the city forward. It is crucial that this infrastructure is continuously upgraded and maintained so that the city can provide a quality level of service to residents and support the growth of urban developments.
This requires investing heavily in the development of new substations to support growth and prioritizing more dedicated funding for the expansion and upgrading of the existing substations in the city.
We will create a comprehensive streetlight maintenance strategy to ensure 95% illumination of city streets at all times.
We must also ensure that our response times to 90% of electricity outages are resolved within a maximum of 8 hours.
To prevent water leaks we will drive large scale replacement of ageing city water pipes and reticulation infrastructure along with the large scale upgrades and refurbishment of strategic waste-water treatment plants to provide quality water to residents.
2. Provide stringent financial management and oversight.
The City of Tshwane’s finances must be managed in a way that derives the best possible value and outcomes for residents. The formulation of the budget, the allocation of resources and procuring of goods must place the needs of residents first.
To do this requires financial thinking that protects the city’s surplus and does not seek to place overburdensome financial obligations on the city or fund projects that do not serve the public good.
It requires that the city has an accurate and consistent way of billing residents to ensure that they pay for the services that they receive.
We will be tracking customer complaints and billing issues to ensure they are properly resolved and feedback provided.
The budget will always be structured towards core service delivery and infrastructure development to advance the growth of the city.
There will be a new blacklisting strategy where we will hold service providers to account who provide poor quality service to the city.
3. Promote employment and economic growth in the city
The City of Tshwane is a catalyst for growth as a major metropolitan and as the capital city.
As the administrative hub of the country, it has an established international footprint, as it contains the second-highest number of embassies in the world, an array of research institutions and numerous major industries that offer it a significant competitive advantage over our cities.
Our budget will fund infrastructure that enables economic growth and expansion in the city so we create an environment where jobs can flourish.
We will continue to implement our lottery system to utilize Expanded Public Works Programme recruitment fairly and transparently and ensure that the ANC’s nepotism never returns.
To advance growth we will be leveraging the city’s property portfolio by releasing land for strategic developments or offering competitive leases in the open market is another key mechanism to drive growth
4. Enhancing city safety and emergency services.
The City of Tshwane provides multiple services within the safety and emergency services environment. This work is supported by core frontline personnel in the Tshwane Metro Police, Fire brigades and Ambulances who put their lives on the line to keep residents safe.
This environment must continuously be strengthened as City of Tshwane personnel are often the first responders on the scenes of an accident or a crisis.
This requires introducing more dedicated personnel and visible policing particularly around the inner city.
We will be strengthening our multi-disciplinary task team to combat land invasions and protect the rights of residents.
I intend to introduce a rural safety blueprint to assist residents living on agricultural land supported by a rural policing unit.
We will also continue to strengthen our ambulance service and fire brigade which is one the best in the country.
5. Maintaining a clean and protected natural environment
The City of Tshwane is one of the largest metropolitans in the world in terms of geographic landmass. It contains a diversity of nature that should be protected and safeguarded not only for health reasons but because it drives the local economy for tourism and promotes a higher standard of life for residents.
We must clean our environment clean through a reliable and cost-effective waste removal service while providing continued maintenance of city parks and public spaces.
We will also actively drive recycling initiatives and separation at source campaigns to reduce and drive employment.
I intend to ensure that our monthly Tswelopele mayoral clean-up campaigns will remain a persistent feature of our work to keep the city clean.
6. Develop road infrastructure and advance mobility
Economic growth in the city is enabled by well-developed and maintained road networks that facilitate mobility for residents across the municipality.
With a city as geographically expansive as Tshwane, it is critical that there is a determined effort to ensure that it is as interconnected as possible.
A city that is accessible and facilitates mobility drives economic growth.
So we will further expand the development of road infrastructure, particularly in rural areas.
We will implement a 48-hour responsiveness strategy to the filling of potholes while ensuring that road maintenance and resurfacing schedules are mapped and tracked in terms of performance
Our bus fares will remain affordable to all residents while we continuously evaluate transport routes to ensure integration across all major transport nodes in the city.
7. Supporting the vulnerable and providing social relief
Many residents in Tshwane live in rural areas with little to no income. The city currently has over 200 informal settlements within its boundaries which are continuously growing due to the pressures that arise with rapid urbanization.
Low-income families can face significant challenges in their day to day lives.
We must support communities by funding charities and non-profit organisations that run programmes to counter substance abuse.
Our Food Bank will also be deployed to provide support to at-risk communities and vulnerable households.
We will continue to facilitate the provision of serviced stands- water and electricity connections, to facilitate access to land for residents also driving the construction of social housing in our communities.
8. Modernisation and digitization of city processes
Modern technologies have significantly advanced how organisations operate in the 21st century. They present a unique opportunity for the city to enhance its operations and derive better efficiencies and value from the services that it provides.
Introducing new technologies should be welcomed in the City of Tshwane to better advance service delivery and responsiveness to the needs of residents.
We will expand on our rollout of online systems to support city planning applications. We will also further leverage virtual platforms to drive customer engagements and resolve disputes.
Coupled with this includes the expansion of Tshwane free Wi-fi so that we can support residents across the city with internet access.
9. Promoting good governance, accountability and transparency
The City of Tshwane must operate openly and transparently where decisions can be easily scrutinized or engaged upon by the public. Decisions cannot be taken behind closed doors and imposed upon residents. At all levels of the institution, there must be transparency.
Where misconduct or poor performance is identified it must be dealt with in the strictest terms to protect the integrity of the institution.
We will take a zero-tolerance approach to corruption and prosecute officials engaged with criminal activity. We will continue to employ fit for purpose top managers and implement robust performance management systems to drive efficiency in the city.
I also intend to cultivate active partnerships with the Hawks and SIU to drive criminal prosecutions.
10. Implement a robust Covid-19 management strategy
Covid-19 has fundamentally changed how the City of Tshwane operates and will be a feature defining governance for the foreseeable future. The virus has forced numerous changes in how operations are conducted and how the city engages with residents.
We will continue to roll out the vaccination drive across our over 53 different locations as we strive to protect our residents and drive immunity.
My priority will be ensuring that City of Tshwane staff are also provided with the necessary requirements such that Covid-19 can be easily managed and does not disrupt our work in the city.
Friends, what I have described above is not even the full detail of our manifesto, they are the core highlights.
But that is the DA difference because we are the only party that invests in the detail.
We don’t look for broad sweeping statements, we have taken stock of our city, we know what it needs and we know how to take it forward.
This is a manifesto that will drive progress and create value for the residents of our municipality.
It speaks to an organization that gets things done and will continue to get things done.
To do that requires that we get 50%+1 in our city.
So let us go out there and encourage all we know to vote DA.
This is our moment now to secure the future of our city for generations to come.