Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered by DA Tshwane Mayoral Candidate Randall Williams at Fort Klapperkop today during the launch of his Mayoral Campaign.
Good afternoon everyone,
Thank you for coming out this afternoon to attend our Mayoral launch.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
There is an age-old saying, a week is a long time in politics.
Well, a year is even longer, and the last year in the City of Tshwane has brought with it a whirlwind of change.
So please indulge me as I take you on a journey.
•City placed under ANC administration
Can you believe that one year ago, myself and my fellow councillors found ourselves unemployed?
Indeed, the City of Tshwane had been placed under administration after the ANC provincial government unlawfully dissolved the Tshwane Council in March 2020.
For 8 months the city was under the control of unelected and deployed ANC administrators. While the Democratic Alliance fought in the courts to get this decision overturned and return sound governance to the capital.
We succeeded in the end, as in October of 2020 the administrators were removed from office and as councillors, we were reinstated.
The 8 months under the ANC administrators was a disturbing period for the city, it also came just as the Covid-19 first wave hit.
In those 8 months, the legacy of the ANC administrators was one of financial mismanagement and failure.
The DA’s surplus of R297 million which we left in March 2020 was decimated such that by the time the administrators were removed we inherited a budget deficit of over R4 billion.
Revenue collections plummeted dropping to as low as 75% such that the administrators accessed a short-term loan of R800 million to keep the city running.
Credit control processes were suspended so the city had no way to stabilize its finances as the debtors’ book then hit R18 billion.
The ANC administrators had no proper knowledge of local government nor real understanding of the work that was required in the city.
Their failures soon began to manifest very visibly as basic service delivery effectively ground to a halt.
There was a rapid deterioration in the quality of response times to water leaks and electricity outages. Streetlights, traffic signals and potholes went months without being fixed.
In fact, in some cases, we found that there were issues that were not addressed for the entire duration that they were in office.
That was the legacy of the ANC administrators in just 8 months, they brought the city to its knees.
•The DA Difference
I was humbled to be elected Mayor and assume office from the beginning of November 2020.
From the first day that I returned to the office, I encountered service delivery backlogs that went back months in almost every sphere of the work that is required from the city.
As you can imagine, the pressure from the residents to turn the city around was immediate.
No sooner had we returned to the office we were inundated with complaints from residents on issues that they had been reported which had been unattended.
Once we had evaluated the scale of the issues we faced, it became a question of systematically implementing the required governance structures to refocus the work of the administration.
Simply put we had to restore financial sustainability and drive basic service delivery. So what did we do?
Immediately I implemented a weekly Service Delivery War Room that began tracking the very basics in the city.
We created comprehensive dashboards to monitor how many water leaks were reported, how long did they take to get fixed, the same with electricity outages.
How many potholes and streetlight repairs have we conducted? How are we maintaining our open spaces, and combatting illegal dumping?
All of these basic processes and more we began to track.
In 11 months we have fixed over 150 000 streetlights
Repaired over 20 000 water leaks
Filled over 30 000 potholes.
We pushed to ensure that we restore the majority of power outages that are reported within 7.5 hours.
I have always believed that how we do our work should be data-driven and evidence-based.
This is why on core service delivery we implemented such a tracking system.
It ensures that we are able to continuously evaluate the responsiveness of the institution because we track the very basics.
This is not the type of work that an Executive Mayor should be doing. It is unusual to have to immerse oneself into the very basic operations, but it was critically necessary.
I am nowhere near satisfied and I won’t be until we have a sustainable level of service delivery and more importantly a responsive administration.
Responsiveness is a principle I am particularly passionate about and it speaks to the culture we are looking to cultivate in the city.
If people contact us, we must engage them and provide a response, it’s that simple.
As I indicated earlier when we assumed office we had a deficit of R4.3 billion that we had to manage.
Colleagues, in the space of one year we reduced this deficit by R3.4 billion, as we ended our financial year in July with a deficit of R900 million which we will eradicate in our current financial year.
The R800 million short term loan the ANC administrators took out, we paid that off as well.
That is the DA difference.
It is responsible for financial management and discipline.
Stabilising the city’s finances is not a popular exercise. We have to implement credit control, cut power and disconnect those who are not paying their accounts.
We have made ourselves particularly unpopular with some government departments.
For example, it took us shutting off power to the Department of Defence for them to pay us R90 million. We even disconnected some Ministerial houses.
Democrats, our financial turnaround is well underway.
Revenue collection is up and meter readings to ensure accurate billing is at 80%.
This is how we restore sound governance to the City of Tshwane.
•Tshwane successes to highlight
Colleagues, but in the last 11 months we have also had numerous other successes which are worth highlighting
• We now have over 50 vaccination sites in Tshwane and have administered half a million vaccines to our residents.
• I announced a micro-grants plan to small emerging farmers, where we distributed individual grants of R20 000 to over 100 emerging farmers within 6 months.
• We started construction at a new clinic in Lusaka for Mamelodi.
• Our teams initiated construction on new roads and stormwater projects in Soshanguve Block FF.
• Over 10 000 illegal dumping sites have been cleared in areas across the city.
• In Hammanskraal Extension 10 we begin the process of formalisation in an area that had been plagued by land invasions, 2767 will be provided with basic services.
• New busses were introduced for the A Re Yeng line to Mamelodi.
• We cleared the backlog of over 4000 rates clearance certificates.
• Currently we are the only metropolitan in Gauteng that is still running a medical ambulance service departments capacitated with a specialized infectious disease ambulance.
• Our new A Re Yeng line to Menlyn was finalized and launched allowing residents to access this important economic node.
• We launched construction at Caledonian Stadium to restore it to its former glory.
• We are driving the development of the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone in Silverton which will draw R15 billion in investment for the area, create 8700 direct jobs and a further 50 000 jobs in the future.
• We launched a TMPD satellite station in Garsfontein.
• Within 6 months our Development Management Application Systems was developed to process city planning applications online.
• We relaunched our Tswelopele clean-up campaigns which promote a cleaner and healthier city. In doing so we supported residents in Mamelodi, Hammanskraal, Salvokop, Menlyn, the Inner City, Cullinan and various other locations to clean their neighbourhoods.
These are just some of the key highlights colleagues but there are many, many more.
But our work is not done yet, I call on you to have a look at the city as we stand here today on top of this mountain.
Look at the Union Buildings, the city skyline, and let me tell you, our work is not done yet!
We started implementing our manifesto, and from what I just shared with you, it is clear that the DA does get things done.
We stand here today united as we overlook our city with the aim of protecting it.
We need to unite. We need more time. We need a majority in Council.
•Key manifesto points
When the DA gets its majority in council after this election, we will fully implement the manifesto that we have developed.
We have created a robust plan which is based on 10 key interventions.
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.
We have invested heavily in this infrastructure, and we will continue to do so. This infrastructure is the lifeblood of our city and protecting it, is critical to attracting investment.
We are doing it and will continue to do it.
2. Provide stringent financial management and oversight.
We inherited a R4.3 billion budget from ANC administrators, in one year we reduced that deficit by R3.4 billion.
Discipline and strict financial management, that is the DA difference.
3. Promote employment and economic growth in the city.
We will spend more on enabling infrastructure that enhances economic development and creates jobs, continue our recruitment through EPWP and leverage our economic assets.
The Special Economic Zone in Silverton is one such example, this is how we create opportunities for residents because the DA gets things done.
4. Enhancing city safety and emergency services.
We have fought and succeeded to protect our emergency services from being taken over by the provincial government, while both Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni failed.
We intend to keep our residents safe by expanding visible policing and building a safe capital city and fighting for the rights of our residents.
5. Maintaining a clean and protected natural environment.
With over 10 000 areas cleared of illegal dumping and continuous monthly clean-up campaigns, we will continue to keep our municipality clean so that our city is a place where residents are proud to live.
We must look after it and encourage our community to do the same
6. Develop road infrastructure and advance mobility
Economic growth is enabled by ensuring citizens have good public transport in the form of a reliable bus service and well-maintained roads.
We have already expanded bus routes across the city and continuously maintain and upgrade our roads based on the commitments we made to residents
We get are getting it done.
7. Supporting the vulnerable and providing social relief.
We must ensure that we have a safety net for our most vulnerable residents. Those that live in poverty must know that we are there to support them.
This is why we will continue to formalize informal settlements, construct quality low-cost housing and support charities that are helping the vulnerable.
A DA run Tshwane cares for its residents.
8. Modernisation and digitisation of city processes
With new technologies our city can work more efficiently and faster, we will continue to leverage online platforms to enhance our services and expand our free Wi-fi footprint.
The DA will always seek to advance a higher quality of life in Tshwane.
9. Promoting good governance, accountability and transparency
Tshwane must operate in an open and transparent manner where decisions can be easily scrutinized or engaged upon by the public. Decisions cannot be taken behind closed doors and imposed upon residents.
We will maintain a high standard of openness and responsiveness so that residents can clearly see and track where their money is being spent.
10. Implement a robust Covid-19 management strategy.
Covid-19 has fundamentally changed the way in which we work that is no doubt.
However, we must ensure that we work through this pandemic, provide quality services and keep our residents safe.
Already we have administered over 500 000 vaccines with more to come. We will continue to protect our residents and staff and prevent Covid-19 from disrupting our operations.
This is our commitment and promise to our residents, 10 focus interventions backed up by years of experience and planning to take them forward.
We are here to get things done!
Friends, we are entering into the shortest election cycle in the country’s history.
The election is on 2 November that is in approximately 6 weeks’ time.
As you know there were attempts by the IEC to delay the elections which were stopped by our court actions.
It is a legislative imperative that we have elections in line with what is required with the constitution.
While parties such as the ANC and EFF were desperate to try and have the elections delayed, they ultimately failed.
They needed the elections delayed because quite frankly, they are not ready.
Now, they are scrambling.
But here is the DA difference, we have already prepared.
We are ready.
In fact, we have already been campaigning for weeks.
We are in campaign mode, we have our candidates secured, our posters are going up and our manifestos are ready.
In the weeks to come, we will be needing all the support that we can get as we seek to convince residents in this city that the DA is the best organization to lead the capital and carry on the journey and work that we have embarked on.
More so that we need residents to vote us in with a majority of 51% so that we fully implement our manifesto and policies.
We have till now governed Tshwane with a minority government which is incredibly difficult.
We are not in a coalition with the EFF or the ANC which means we lead the Tshwane council with our other coalition partners with approximately 46% of the vote.
We need your vote, the vote of your families and friends.
We have done some exceptional work in the city in the last year and we want to carry on into the future.
We simply cannot allow the ANC to return to the city.
You would have seen that the ANC is desperate to have the candidate submission process opened.
Democrats, the ANC are in trouble.
It is estimated that there are 35 municipalities where the ANC have not submitted candidates.
In Tshwane, there are approximately 12 of their ward candidates in wards who are not properly registered.
If this is true, it will mean that before the election even commences the ANC will be down 12 seats in the Tshwane Council.
The ANC cannot even manage the submission of local government candidates properly, how on earth do they intend to manage a municipality if they are elected?
Democrats, Activists, Residents, the DA is serious about governing this city and taking it forward into the future.
Our teams are in place, our manifesto is ready, we are governing right now and we are ready to govern into the future.
The winds of change are on our side and now is the time to use them to sail our city into a future we can all be proud of.
Let us secure our capital city firmly under the DA and demonstrate to our residents that the DA gets things done.
United we can win, Verenig kan ons wen, Ga re spanisana ra popa!
Together we can lead our city to greatness!