City of Johannesburg, City Power setting the table for a weekend in the dark

The DA demands answers from the executive in the City of Johannesburg, about how security contracts that ensure the safeguarding of critical electrical infrastructure was allowed to lapse. This follows a meeting today, where Councillors were informed that some substations will be left without security for the next four days. The onus for protecting infrastructure now rests on residents.

Bearing in mind the recent surge in theft and vandalism of key electrical infrastructure, combined with higher stages of load-shedding, substations will now be prime targets. The city failed to ensure that contracts are up to date, and has turned an already serious situation into a critical one.

Just last night, an incident was reported where oil was stolen from one of the Eskom transformers at the Randburg Substation – for the second time in a month. Substations without oil can easily overheat, resulting in costly damages at a time when the city can ill afford it.

In a meeting held today Councillors and City Power seniors came together to address issues impacting service delivery. The priority identified was the safeguarding of critical infrastructure from theft and vandalism. While meetings such as these are productive, yet another failing from the city and its entities cannot become rate paying residents’ problem. Not only does the city have a responsibility to protect its infrastructure, but it also has a responsibility towards residents’ safety. One that is being ignored.

Ward Councillors find themselves with no choice but to urgently request Local Community Policing Forums (CPF) and private area security to step up their patrols around known vulnerable substations.

In light of these developments, the safety and security of City of Johannesburg’s infrastructure remain of paramount importance to both the council and its residents. Collaborative efforts between authorities, residents, and private security entities are now essential to safeguarding critical assets and ensuring uninterrupted service delivery.

The city’s Executive and City power must find a swift resolution to this matter, while ensuring that it doesn’t happen again. The city is in trouble, but a failing and leaderless executive lacking in basic contract management is not helping the matter at all.

City of Johannesburg gearing up for yet another disaster

Joint Press Statement by:

Cllr. Mark van der Merwe DA Spokesperson on Metrobus

Cllr. Tyrell Meyers DA Shadow MMC for Transport, in the City of Johannesburg

View photos of multiple incidents involving Metrobus busses here and here. Images from today’s incident here, and here.

The DA in the City of Johannesburg, notes with grave concern the failing state of the Metropolitan Bus Services (Metrobus). Bearing in mind the serious accident involving one of the city’s busses this morning outside the University of Johannesburg (UJ), the city can ill afford to have 145 busses, out of 383, out of service.

We wish a speedy recovery to those involved in the tragic accident this morning. However, the question arises from this and a plethora of other accidents, how and when will the city address yet another failing entity under their charge.

We call on the MMC of Transport in the City of Johannesburg, Cllr Kenny Kunene, to launch an investigation to determine the extent of the Metrobus’ involvement in the accident.

Thousands of people in Johannesburg and its surrounding areas are dependent on the usage of the Metrobus system. With 38% of the buses out of commission (OOC), these commuters are left stranded. The most recent quarterly report confirms exactly that while noting that Metrobus was unable to meet their required planned trips.

With an aging fleet, 59% of the busses are older than 15 years, the Metrobus service not only lags behind the industry standard in the age of their fleet, but the numerous accidents this year begs the question – can residents trust the service?

Safety and trust are both crucial aspects of public transport, and Metrobus is proving to be neither safe nor trustworthy. It is high time that these busses enter the modern era. Drivers should be monitored while bus maintenance and an actual delivery of services should become the main goal. Under leadership of the current government, Johannesburg is fast becoming a hub for failure in service delivery and serious accidents.

The DA will not rest until answers are obtained. It is unacceptable that users of public transport need fear for their lives in the economic hub of the country.

The DA congratulates Mayor Phalatse on 105 newly refurbished buses to improve commuting for Johannesburg residents

The DA congratulates Johannesburg Executive Mayor, Mpho Phalatse on the 105 newly refurbished buses as well as the launch of the Mid-life Refurbishment Program to improve commuting for Johannesburg residents.


The City of Johannesburg appreciates that Metrobus is an integral part of the Integrated Public Transport Network in the city, moving over 20 000 commuters daily. The newly refurbished buses will enhance daily bus availability as the demand for public transport increases, due to the ever-increasing petrol price.


This increased fleet capacity for the purposes of improved transport services was achieved through the refurbishment of the entire bus drive train, flooring and renewal of floors and seating. These refurbished buses are being deployed mainly in high traffic routes to improve bus intervals during morning and afternoon peaks.


The bus refurbishment involves the following:

  • Body overhaul, i.e. interior and exterior overhauling;
  • Drive train overhaul, i.e. engine, gearbox and differential overhaul;
  • Safety components overhaul, i.e. the air system, breaking system and engine compartment rewiring;
  • This refurbishment will decrease downtime for minor running repairs, prevent major component failures costs as well as increase overall bus reliability for the next 5-7 years;
  • It will also reduce maintenance costs of the vehicle, because the servicing and maintenance will be carried out according to the new bus schedule indicated above; and
  • Also refurbishing the Euro5 buses now will give Metrobus the opportunity to replace the faulty fuel plastic tanks to stronger aluminium tanks which will increase the life span.


Through this initiative the City of Johannesburg seeks to maintain a high standard of quality in service and performance is of paramount importance to encourage people to make public transport their preferred choice.


The extent to which people are able to use the opportunities available is dependent on how easily they are able to move around their towns, their cities and their country. The DA will continue to work to create a seamless, well managed and affordable transport network.

Gauteng Health Department should pay its Joburg bills

The Gauteng Health Department is notorious for late payments, but it is grossly unfair to the residents of Johannesburg that it continues to owe R200 million to the city.

Johannesburg Mayor Mpho Phalatse has correctly refrained from cutting off hospitals that owe money as this would hurt sick patients, and she has appealed to Gauteng Premier David Makhura to get the department to pay its bills.

According to the department’s 3rd Quarter Report, the department failed to pay 78% of suppliers within the required 30 days. This report covers the period from October to December last year.

Doctors working excess overtime have also suffered because they have not been paid for the extra hours they worked in January.

Makhura promised eight years ago that he would fix the Gauteng Health Department, but every year has seen a new scandal of poor decision-making, corruption and wasted money.

He has also promised that the provincial government would pay its bills within 30 days, and would settle its debts to all municipalities.

Mr Premier, you need to keep your promises and pay all outstanding bills!

The City of Gold has found its shine again

Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered this evening by the newly elected Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Cllr Mpho Phalatse.

Mr Speaker,
Leaders of Political Parties represented in this Council,
Honourable Members of Council; and,
The people of Johannesburg!

I would firstly like to thank God, without whom none of this would have been possible. I started this journey with Him.

It is through His help that we have made it this far, and it is with His wisdom and guidance that we will rally all 270 councillors in the Johannesburg City Council towards rebuilding our broken city. To Him be the glory!

I would like to thank the leadership of the Democratic Alliance for having faith in me and standing behind me to lead the economic hub of South Africa and the continent for the next five years.

To all the councillors who voted for me – our Council is clearly more united than we realise. We may not have found each other around negotiating tables, but we evidently remain bound by our common mission even beyond our ability to formalise those ties.

Thank you for putting your trust in me. I had worked well with all 11 political parties when I served as the MMC for Health and Social Development from 2016 to 2019. The same attitude and disposition will be translated to the now 18 political parties in the current political term. Re tlile go aga mmogo.

To my mom and dad, my children Phenyo, Thapelo and Khumo – you have made numerous sacrifices to support my vision for Johannesburg. I am eternally grateful, and I promise to make your gift to me and to our residents count in no small measure.

To my colleagues, friends, and those who unfailingly pray for me – your support on this journey has been invaluable. I owe you a huge debt of gratitude.

May you continue to hold my hand and hold the fort in the areas I need you to. It is going to be a challenging but exciting five years, and with your continued support we will have many more celebratory milestones.

It would be completely remiss of me if I were to fail to express my sincerest thank you to the people of this great City for their determination in keeping our constitutional democracy alive and well by coming out to vote for the political parties of their choice in the 2021 local government elections on November 1.

The occasion of my election as the first democratically elected female Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg belongs to the residents who stood in long lines for hours and refused never to give up, even as they experienced countless electoral challenges, and despite the pouring rains in some areas.

In addition, an even more important message to the women of this Council and the women of this City.

You have a voice. And you must never EVER hesitate in using it. Do not wait for something to come along. Put up your hand now and avail yourself for something.

Just imagine what could be happening today if I had not put up my hand over a year ago and decided to be my party’s Mayoral Candidate. We possibly would not be having the first female Mayor of the City of Johannesburg standing before all of you here today.

I also want to thank all individual councillors and their political parties who, in their wisdom, decided that I should be their Executive Mayor.

We all know this has not been a smooth ride. The road was visibly riddled with potholes, and, at times, it seemed completely untraversable. But we put the interests of the people of this City ahead of our own.

I am under no illusion that it would be easy to bring together all the political players in this esteemed Council. But I also know that all the elected Councillors in this house are only seeking to do the best they can for those who elected them. With their unwavering support, I know we can, and will, take this City to even greater heights.

We have demonstrated that a people united can indeed never be defeated. We have shown that it is possible to unite behind our primary mission of delivering good quality municipal services to all communities around the City in a sustainable manner, just as the provisions of section 152 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, dictate.

During the campaign, I spent many hours in every corner of Johannesburg, listening to what residents had to say and what they wanted changed.

Residents were not just asking for change; they were roaring for it.

That is why I intend, in the next few days, to have fuller consultative sessions with all political parties represented in Council to solicit their inputs on our Plan for the First 100 Days in office to make it as inclusive as possible.

This plan shall be made public to enable the people of Johannesburg to track our performance and to hold us to account, as they should in an open and democratic society.

The election is over, and the work of serving the people of Joburg must begin.

Regardless of political party, every councillor here has a responsibility to ensure this term is not characterised by instability and chaos. The City of Johannesburg BARELY survived the past 5 years and does not deserve a repeat of that ugly episode.

Every party and councillor within this Council can play a part in rebuilding Johannesburg. You do not need to be in government to help make a difference. Even as an opposition councillor, you have a voice in committee and Council. You can engage your political counterparts in office to discuss basic service delivery needs and the means to achieve them.

I am reminded of the political maturity of the late Mayor of Johannesburg – a friend to many of us here, including myself. Jolidee Matongo was always willing to listen to the inputs of opposition councillors in committee and go so far as to agree with their views, once he had determined in his mind that such views made sense.

Even during his short stint as Mayor, he was willing to take my calls relating to critical service delivery matters and would personally follow up on them.

So, when I say that the elections are over, I mean it. We have no need to continue with any electioneering in this Council over the next five years. Ours is to ensure that basic services are sustainably and consistently delivered to the residents.

The voters made their voice loud and clear in these recent elections. We are all aware that no party got a majority in this Council. That means no single party can govern alone on the mandate of the people.

Even if this will be a DA-led coalition government, we would still warmly welcome colleagues from opposition parties to engage us in the next few weeks. Give us your constructive inputs on service delivery matters that we can pursue in the coming months. Share with us your ideas to bring positive change in the community you will be working in.

Every corner of Johannesburg needs leadership, and every councillor here can be that leader. But do not stop there. Let us keep those channels of communication open throughout these five years, regardless of which party is in government.

We have the political will to come together, to represent every constituent of this great Metro, and be the country’s beacon of multi-party, representative democracy.

We are all elected members of this Council and have a chance to be a part of the renewal of our great City.

We are all aware the state that Johannesburg now finds itself in.

It is broken, but it can and will be fixed again.

The most basic services must be restored to those who have gone without them.

Whether a resident is from Diepsloot or Norwood,

Linden or South Hills,

Roodepoort or Braamfontein,

Melville or Morningside,

Alex or Parktown,

I want every resident to be proud of living in the City of Gold that will find its shine again.

It is after all, the biggest metro in South Africa. That alone should make us immensely proud to call this City our home.

While Nelson Mandela Bay has the sandy beaches, Cape Town the majestic mountains, and Durban with the never-ending tropical summers, Johannesburg has the Sandton and Hillbrow skyscrapers – the very beacons that signal and confirm that this is truly the economic hub of the Republic.

Johannesburg is an important City for our country, and one that can lead the much-needed economic recovery for the people, after so much suffering during the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021.

From the rock bottom of my heart, a big thank you for the opportunity to serve the people of Johannesburg. I know the challenges ahead seem insurmountable. But I promise to give this mammoth responsibility my all from this day onwards. With your continued support, I know we shall neither falter nor fail.

I am grateful for the trust you have placed in me. It is my undertaking that I shall never disappoint any of you.

Ke a leboga!!
Baie dankie!!

A vote for ActionSA may well be a vote for the EFF

Note to Editors: Please find attached soundbites by Thomas Walters; DA Johannesburg Mayoral Campaign Manager, Mike Moriarty; and DA Mayoral Candidate for Johannesburg, Dr Mpho Phalatse.

The DA has made it abundantly clear that it will not enter into a coalition or governing agreement with the EFF in any municipality. We are fundamentally two completely different parties, which are moving in completely different directions.

The DA is a party with a track record of excellence in service delivery and getting things done where we govern. While the EFF is a party of anarchy, violence and chaos.

While the DA will not, under any circumstances, cooperate with the EFF post-elections – we must warn voters that by voting for ActionSA they could well be opening the backdoor for the EFF in municipalities and metros across the country.

The DA can today reveal that ActionSA has a host of ex-DA members who have colluded with the EFF in the past and who could most certainly not hesitate to get into bed with the EFF despite the mandate they received from their voters.

Hermann Mashaba recently said that he would not go into coalitions without first consulting the voters. However, the DA can today tell voters that in 2017 Mashaba, as a DA member, used his position as Johannesburg Mayor to lobby for the EFF to be given the mayorship of Metsimaholo. He proposed giving away a municipality to the red berets to manage in exchange for support somewhere else. It must be noted here that the DA did not bend to his will, and eventually he left.

The DA is not in the business of releasing its internal information, but we have a redacted version of a letter – in which Mr Mashaba says to the DA Federal Executive (FedEx):

  • “Whether we like it or not, the EFF is a strategic partner of the DA to save SA. We can’t do it on our own. Clear FACT.” – Mr Mashaba clearly sees the EFF as a partner, not a danger to the future of South Africa. EFF policies would take SA down the road to ruin, but Mr Mashaba sees them as a partner;
  • “My personal view is that if we don’t support them in this matter, I then don’t see why they must support us somewhere else. We would have demonstrated to them and some people of this country that we are an arrogant party that does not respect other political parties. It would be about narrow DA principles.” – Mr Mashaba here clearly does not think that DA principles such as the rule of law or the protection of private property matters. Furthermore, it shows his willingness to do whatever it takes to be in the good books of the EFF;
  • “I would like to close by appealing to us to use this EFF arrangement in Metsimaholo, to strengthen our relationship with them and our other coalition partners. EFF is going to rely on us to assist them to succeed.” – Mr Mashaba clearly articulates his desire to see the EFF succeed, while the DA wants the EFF to fail so South Africa can succeed.

For his part, ActionSA’s John Moodey, while still at the DA in 2019, tried to convince the DA FedEx to give the EFF two senior positions within the Johannesburg government. To quote the minutes of that meeting, “The Gauteng leader, Mr John Moodey, proposed that the Party offer the EFF two positions on the mayoral committee and noted that it is unlikely that voters will notice or remember said appointments as MMCs are not well known.” The DA did not bend to his will, and he left to join ActionSA.

From these excerpts it is clear that the ActionSA leadership believe that the EFF is a crucial partner in the future of South Africa. The DA believes that voters have the right to know if the party they are voting for will allow their vote to push the EFF into positions where they will govern.

Why does that matter? Because the EFF is a threat to the future of South Africa. The EFF would much rather see our country divided along racial prisms for their own narrow political outcomes. The EFF thrives on violence and chaos. It is a party that wants control and expropriate the property and possessions of South Africans. And they want to come for South Africans’ pensions, medical aids and investments.

This is the type of party that ActionSA may be willing to get into bed with. A vote for ActionSA may well be a vote for the EFF.

The DA calls on voters to use their power on 1 November to vote for a party that will protect their property rights, and defend the Constitution, the rule of law and a free market. There’s only one party that is big enough to take on the ANC and keep the EFF out and that party is the DA.

A DA-led Johannesburg will resolve billing queries within seven days

Today, I led a march to the City’s Billing Department at Thuso House in Braamfontein, where I handed over a petition signed by over 3000 residents calling for the failing billing system to be resolved, to the MMC for Finance, Cllr Matshidiso Mfikoe. See pictures here, here, here and here.

For many years, the City of Johannesburg’s billing system has been plagued by countless shortcomings and failures. Many residents have received incorrectly bloated bills while having to wait years for their accounts to be adjusted. On the other hand, while some residents continue to pay their bills, they simply do not get value for money, with constant water and electrical outages across the city.

The culture of non-payment has also been a hurdle for the billing department. Revenue collection for any municipality is critical to fund much-needed basic services. Some residents have simply refused to pay for their rates and levies out of protest against a failing billing system that creates a further burden for them.

With less revenue collection, rates and levies are becoming more expensive to compensate for the loss, adding further pressure to a shrinking ratepayers base.

Increased rates also place further pressure on struggling businesses. While they pay their rates, they too face outages or shortages of basic services, putting their economic survival at further risk. This can only lead to the decline of the business, and resulting in unnecessary job losses.

The administrative malfunction of the City’s billing system is the catalyst of other service delivery failures across Johannesburg. The domino effect is felt by residents and businesses. The weak cybersecurity of the billing department is also of great concern, with the system remaining vulnerable to any future attacks.

With the right leadership and political will, Johannesburg can work for the residents. The recent past has shown that the ANC has neither while the DA certainly has both. The ANC has shown time and time gain that under its watch, residents are destined for little more than frustration and failed systems.

A DA governed Johannesburg on the other hand will fix the City’s billing system once and for all. Increased oversight over revenue collection will be implemented, so that the culture of non-payment is eradicated, and that more revenue is allocated to basic services so that residents can finally get value for money. The DA-led Johannesburg will also ensure that all billing queries are resolved within seven days, so that residents no longer have to deal with an unnecessary, stressful, administrative delay that is of no fault of their own.

The DA will get things done in the City of Gold.

ANC determined to make Johannesburg residents pay for debt owed to Eskom and poor infrastructure

City Power has announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Eskom to start the process of City Power taking over the responsibility of electricity supply to current Eskom-supply areas such as Soweto, Ivory Park, Orange Farm, Diepsloot and Sandton.

However, very few details have been disclosed except that City Power will “conduct its own due diligence study on Eskom’s infrastructure and assets in the areas… The due diligence study will consider, among others, the state and value of the infrastructure that would eventually be sold to City Power, [and] the outstanding debt owed by customers to Eskom”.

This alone implies that the ANC-led Johannesburg have no problem making the residents carry the cost for this takeover.

Under no circumstances, should the residents be forced into a situation of inheriting and paying for any of Eskom’s mess, such as Soweto’s ballooning debt, and the current state of Eskom’s infrastructure in their supply areas. The infrastructure in current Eskom-supply areas is in a terrible state, with regular breakdowns, leaving residents with outages for weeks on end.

Those residents can afford to pay for electricity must do so, while those who cannot afford to pay, must be referred to the City’s Expanded Social Package programme.

For City Power to inherit the debt and current state of infrastructure would collapse the municipal-owned entity within months. This could very well lead to further mass outages across the city and an eventual collapse of the municipal power grid.

While the DA supports in principle, the takeover of Eskom supply areas by City Power, this can only be done with an agreement where Eskom will undertake to resolve the debt owed to them, and repair and replace any ageing and broken down infrastructure in their supply areas.

Further to this, National Treasury would need to provide City Power with conditional grants during the years of the gradual takeover, so that City Power’s absorption of the current Eskom customers would not negatively affect the municipal entity’s financial balance.

A DA-led Johannesburg will not place the residents in any situation where they bail out Eskom’s mess. National government must take responsibility for the failures of their entity and not dare pass this buck onto the ratepayers of Johannesburg.

This is exactly why the DA supports local government taking control over electricity supply. The DA in Johannesburg wants to move away from relying solely on the failed Eskom model. Only once Eskom has upgraded their infrastructure in their supply areas, a DA-led City Power can take over and start opening up supply to a diverse pool of competitive independent power producers, so that residents can finally start being free of Eskom loadshedding, and the cost of electricity can start to come down.

Only a DA-led Johannesburg will get things done and keep the lights on in the City of Gold.

While Joburg’s emergency services fail, DA ward candidate, DA activist come to the rescue of pregnant woman

I wish to express my sincere gratitude to DA Ward 58 Candidate, Waolea Minnaar, and DA activist Tarren Roodt for their heroic act in helping a displaced female deliver her baby in the Brixton cemetery yesterday. See picture here.

Despite the ambulance only arriving almost two hours after they were called, both Minnaar and Roodt stepped up beyond their duties as citizens, in helping a desperate woman with no immediate access to emergency services. At the time, the pregnant woman was living in the Brixton cemetery.

While waiting for the ambulance, another DA activist went to the Brixton fire station no more than approximately 200 metres away from the pregnant woman. The activist was allegedly told that only councillors can request fire trucks and ambulances. This was despite a desperate woman, needing urgent medical attention while firefighters are trained in this type of situation.

While ordinary citizens came to the rescue of this woman, the Johannesburg Municipality still has a responsibility to ensure responsive emergency services. The municipality’s fleet of ambulances has shrunk from 101 to 0, since the ANC took over in November 2019. This has been exacerbated by the ANC provincial government’s Provincialisation of Ambulances Programme, which saw the City’s Emergency Management Services’ (EMS) ambulance services come to a halt in June of this year.

At the moment, the provincial department of Health is the custodian of ambulance services in the City. In June 2019, the DA administration in Johannesburg delivered 42 brand new state-of-the-art ambulances to the EMS, boosting its fleet by 72% to 101 ambulances. This meant that each fire station across the City received at least one new ambulance, with the majority of new ambulances allocated to fire stations in townships. Just before the suspension of the ambulance services in June this year under the ANC government, the City was running at less than 10 ambulances per shift.

The Johannesburg Municipality needs to urgently apply for their own operating license, so that municipal ambulances can get back on the road, and assist those who simply cannot afford private medical care or ambulance services.

Once the DA is voted in with a majority in the City of Gold, we will make it a priority to get our ambulances back so that marginalised residents can have the care they deserve.

A manifesto of promise to help make the City of Gold shine again

Note to Editors: Please find attached an electronic copy of the DA’s Manifesto for Johannesburg that was presented by DA Mayoral Candidate for Johannesburg, Mpho Phalatse and DA Federal Leader, John Steenhuisen during a live broadcast of the DA’s Johannesburg Manifesto launch here

Today, I launched my party’s manifesto for the City of Johannesburg that will ensure basic service delivery is put back on track and will help the City of Gold find its shine again.

I have spent the past month crisscrossing Johannesburg, visiting all regions and constituencies to hear first-hand accounts from residents who have unique service delivery challenges but have no help from a failing municipality.

In order to build a world-class city, basic services first have to be stabilised. Joburg has been neglected for too long – but this manifesto will be the instrument to turn things around and get the city working for all residents.

Every resident of this great Metro has a service delivery need, and every resident deserves for those needs to be solved.

This manifesto, a culmination of months of broad consultation between residents, subject matter experts, and Democratic Alliance (DA) public representatives, is a promise to the residents of Johannesburg; a declaration to implement the critical changes they so desperately need, and a promise to never abandon them. This is a blueprint for five years of good governance and I am here to implement these change for those full five years.

This manifesto can help reverse the damaged inflicted on the local economy by non-existent service delivery. While local governments are not responsible for the national economy, they still have a critical role to play in terms of offering sustainable, uninterrupted service delivery and ensuring clean and conducive environments for businesses to operate without more unnecessary hurdles. The DA wants residents in Johannesburg to have jobs and will fight tooth and nail to ensure the local environment is ripe for such job creation.

Together, with the right vision and manifesto, Johannesburg can start working again, and find the shine that has been lost for the past two years.