Achievements detailed by City of Joburg DA Mayor Mpho Phalatse after 10 months in office were mostly projects that were started by the African National Congress (ANC) administration before she came into power, according to ANC Joburg regional chairperson, Dada Morero.
Morero was responding to a tweet by the Democratic Alliance (DA) posted on Monday, in which the party said Phalatse achieved at least 71% of the promises made in the party’s election manifesto for last year’s local government election.
The DA says Phalatse has so far achieved several goals, including a cleaner downtown Johannesburg, 26 000 potholes patched in four months, the energy indaba that was held to resolve the power crisis, and a R2,8 billion investment in water supply infrastructure.
‘We started it’
According to Morero, however, the previous ANC administration had started the latter by setting aside R400 million for water infrastructure.
“She has to break down all those water infrastructure projects and name them, and you are likely find that those projects were approved in the 2021/2022 budget, conceptualised and put that into budget by the ANC.
“We approved storm water projects in Orange Farm and Protea Glen. As you would know Protea Glen has serious water issues when it rains. At that time, we spoke about R400 million, so that budget is there and was approved. Some of the money comes from the national grant, especially if it relates to water and electricity.”
He said the late Mpho Moerane, who was an ANC MMC for environment, infrastructure and services, and was later elected mayor, was instrumental in setting the ball rolling for the energy indaba.
According to the City at the time, the indaba, held in May, followed an energy mix plan unveiled by its electricity utility, City Power.
“The indaba was planned by us, including the document on energy mix that was presented there. We started in late 2019, and in late 2020. We set up energy advisory body which advised [former] ANC mayor Makhubo on energy.
“All they did at that indaba was take our blueprint and adopted it as it was… There’s nothing new that they did. They are claiming easy victories. The CBD has always been cleaned day and night. This was started under Moerane through the #KleenaJoburg campaign,” Morero said.
‘Shoddy patch work’
Meanwhile, Roodepoort resident Kgoro Mokubye, who works in downtown Johannesburg, said she agreed with the DA regarding the cleaning up of the CBD.
However, these cleanup efforts may have led to other areas not being sufficiently attended to.
Mokubye said the affluent northern areas of the City and most parts of the CBD have in recent weeks been cleaned and swept.
“I think the town is being prioritised over townships and many suburbs now occupied mostly by the black population. Roodepoort CBD is rotting away. The streets of the residential areas nearby are filthy with uncut grass. Potholes are everywhere,” he said.
In Florida North, resident Brad Raymond said the patched potholes never last.
Potholes at Main Avenue, off the busy Beacon Road were a headache, he told The Citizen.
“Look at the patch work. This tar needs an overhaul. They will keep patching the potholes but that won’t resolve the problem motorists encounter here. Tyres burst all the time on this corner.
“If these potholes, and those there by Goudvis Avenue are part of the 26 000 that the mayor said were fixed, then they need to recalculate because this is shoddy patching done here.”
Coalition on shaky ground
Phalatse was elected mayor after the 2021 municipal elections. A coalition government was formed and led by the DA.
The coalition showed cracks two weeks ago when DA speaker Vasco Da Gama was ousted from his position by the ANC and other parties.
The motion was sponsored by the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC). Some councillors whose parties are part of the coalition defied their parties such as ActionSA and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and voted to oust the DA speaker.
The parties summarily dismissed the rogue councillors.
Another council meeting that was planned to remove Phalatse through a motion of no confidence was canned, after a successful court interdict that was launched by the City.
The high court also ruled that chair of chairs, Colleen Makhubele from Cope, had no authority to convene a council meeting.
Makhubele had declared herself acting speaker and began setting up the meeting to remove Phalatse.
Makhubele, whose party is part of the City coalition, said the coalition arrangement has been “frustrating,” adding that Phalatse consulted DA leader Helen Zille whenever there were disagreements.
The ANC is banking on assistance from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the minority parties to ultimately boot out the DA from power.