It is a sad reality that today Ekurhuleni is the “Capital of Unemployment” in South Africa.
With 110,000 jobs lost just since January 2016 in Ekurhuleni, we are witnessing a full blown crisis of unemployment – and the ANC government has no solutions to this tragic situation. It pains me deeply to see so many of my fellow-Ekurhuleni men and women without work. And I am committed to turn this around and create jobs.
I have been privileged to work in businesses where I have created jobs before. Thousands of jobs, through commitment and dedication and through a thriving, functional Ekurhuleni Metro, can be created and I pledge to do so. I pledge to bring the change we need to move Ekurhuleni forward again, under the DA, as Metro of Jobs, not as the “Capital of Unemployment” any longer.
Ekurhuleni used to be the industrial hub of South Africa, but now it lays bare, stripped of opportunities. Empty warehouses like this one where we are gathered today, which once employed over a hundred people, now stands derelict and abandoned. This has become common sight throughout the metro, stalling any hope for job creation and economic growth.
After years of mismanagement and corruption, the ANC has caused many thriving businesses, like Ferrero Roche and Heineken to look elsewhere, because it simply cannot deliver on its mandate of economic growth. The ANC doesn’t have the will or the plans to create jobs and solve unemployment.
Mayor, Mondli Gungubele, tries to sell the tale of a thriving Ekurhuleni as a good story to tell. But he is disconnected from the communities who form the backbone of Ekurhuleni. Many citizens of this boundless metro are unemployed, living in inhumane conditions, forgotten by the ANC.
With over a 34 percent unemployment rate and a youth unemployment rate in excess of 30 percent, the metro hasn’t just failed our generation, it’s failing our children – who, without hope for the future are turning to crime and drugs.
Our CBDs are turning into slums of decay, our road networks, which are the veins of this great city are crumbling with potholes.
Daily, communities throughout Ekurhuleni are thrust into darkness as aging infrastructure fails, leaving residents without power for days on end due to the lack of maintenance and the underspending on upkeep by the ANC.
How are businesses meant to survive in these tough economic times when the ANC cannot even keep the lights on for them?
Currently, we have people living in Daveyton who depend on sporadic delivery of water by water tankers. And these communities are not alone, over 40 percent of the people of Ekurhuleni do not have a tap in their own home.
15 percent of the people of Ekurhuleni do not have a flushing toilet and many have to endure the indignity of using a pit latrine every day. Nearly 24 percent of households in this city do not live in formal dwellings.
But today I present a document of hope and a promise of a better future for Ekurhuleni. Today we launch our Manifesto for Change in Ekurhuleni, and it is our promise to bring the DA brand of good governance, and the best service delivery, to Ekurhuleni.
When I accepted the Democratic Alliance’s nomination to serve as the DA candidate for Mayor of Ekurhuleni, I made a promise that I would embark on a 30-day listening tour of all the wards in Ekurhuleni.
I have heard you, Ekurhuleni, and your issues and concerns have filled this Manifesto for Change with promises to bring the change you’ve asked for to move Ekurhuleni forward again.
The Manifesto highlights the following:
We will make it easier to start and grow a business.
We will tear up old by-laws that stop businesses starting and we will pass laws that incentivize businesses to grow and create jobs. This would include eliminating excessive red tape and simplifying regulations, especially those relating to zoning, planning approvals, health and safety, traffic and licensing.
This allows us to create an environment that attracts people with skills and capital, and enables them to start or expand their own businesses.
By establishing Local Economic Development one-stop-shops throughout Ekurhuleni, this will allow us to provide information services on investment opportunities, licensing, land use, planning approval procedures.
Job creating proposals to the City will be prioritized by ensuring that building plans and land use applications are approved even faster that the legislated time frames and where possible, and we will implement e-planning systems so that local economies grow as quickly as possible and create more employment.
This will boost manufacturing in our towns and cities, and help existing businesses determine the best markets for growth, by giving them municipal incentives to grow and invest.
To fight crime, we will create easy and speedy access to justice; we will establish effective municipal and community courts to handle prosecutions for traffic offences and by-law contraventions to reduce pressure on magistrate’s courts. We will fund extra court staff and magistrates to help the Justice Department establish more and more courts.
We will launch technology that monitors crime hotspots and gunshot sounds, and link these directly to the Metro Police, and will provide real-time crime statistics are readily available internally and to the public.
We will create special EMPD units for drug crime and gang crime, and they will work every day to reduce these.
We will assess each EMPD officer’s fitness on a quarterly basis.
We will partner and work proactively with communities, faith, and non-governmental organisations to promote our young people staying away from crime and drugs.
We will expand the Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU) programme – by developing safe community areas we will make communities safer.
Service delivery & Housing
The DA already provides the most comprehensive basket of free basic municipal services for all qualifying households where we govern, and we want to do the same in Ekurhuleni.By implementing an indigent policy, the DA will provide relief to those residents who are unable to afford basic necessities This basket would be funded, in part, through the implementation of sustainable and fair cross-subsidization of rates and tariffs.
The DA promises to implement integrated planning and careful monitoring in the setting and achieving service delivery targets that are essential for maintaining safe public spaces.
We will deliver more quality housing opportunities, by working with the Province and National Government, and by appointing excellent building contractors. There will be no contracts for friends in the housing department.
We will prioritize the upgrade of informal settlements and the provision of serviced sites so that all residents can access basic services, as a key issue for the DA.
We will transfer title deeds to housing beneficiaries without delay by cutting the red tape and ending the roadblocks, to allow residents to have legal ownership of their homes.
The DA will keep the streets and public spaces clean so that they enhance the wellbeing of all residents by committing to the weekly collection of refuse and conducting systematic area cleaning where required.
We will set environmental targets to improve water service standards, to ensure our residents have access to good quality cleaning water and that waste water is efficiently and safely managed. We will complete for Blue and Green Drop status every year, and will achieve these like the DA has in government elsewhere.
The DA is committed to increasing the availability of affordable clean water through recycling, cutting unnecessary consumption and the installation and maintenance of bulk infrastructure.
We will hold polluters accountable by passing and enforcing by-laws that control industrial emissions and other forms of pollution to ensure a greener city.
A Metro that cares and Stops Corruption
The DA is committed to stopping Ekurhuleni corruption. We are committed to honest government, where the needs of the people are put first.
We will open the tender system to public view – we want ever resident to see where their tenders are being awarded and why. And we will cut tenders up into smaller parts so that even the smallest business can get a tender.
We will criminally prosecute officials in the Metro government who have benefited from corruption – and we will claim the money back from them.
We will make it illegal for councilors, officials, their family and friends to do business with the Metro.
We will be responsive to the needs of our people by ensuring there is a proper ward committee system in place with a member that is truly representative of their local community.
We want to hear from you and engage with communities, therefore we will acknowledge all correspondence within 48 hours and establish a customer service improvement programme, which includes resident satisfaction surveys – we want to hear from you how we are governing.
This manifesto is my promise to you, the people of Ekurhuleni. It is my pledge to you, to ensure good governance and create an accountable government.
Let us become the drivers of change that moves us forward again.
Let us imagine this now empty warehouse, open for business once more. Servicing the community, employing workers who can once again provide for their family and allow them to live in dignity, ending the cycle of poverty.
Now is the time to vote out a party who is only interested in bettering the lives of a select few, and vote for a party with a record of delivery and a plan to bring change.
Now is the time to revive Ekurhuleni.
Now is the time to vote DA.
DA Mayoral Candidate for Ekurhuleni