City needs to prioritise vulnerable residents – sociologist

The City of Johannesburg Council approved a report proposing the reintegration of municipal-owned entities like Pikitup, Johannesburg Water and City Power at the council meeting held on 26 January.


JOBURG – After talks about reintegrating municipal-owned entities like Pikitup, Johannesburg Water and City Power, the City of Johannesburg Council approved a report proposing the initiation of the process at the council meeting held on 26 January.

This, and the open tender process, according to sociologist Dr Liela Groenewald, are two of the best decisions made by Herman Mashaba’s administration.

“Average residents, businesses and service delivery companies in Johannesburg who are dependent on the City’s services can expect a more transparent process, savings and more competent service delivery,” she said.

Groenewald believes the change will help curb corruption because rates and taxes will not be drained by contractors.

The City will reabsorb these entities within the next 18 months, with minimal job losses, Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba explained. He said that the only people to lose their positions will be non-executive directors on boards, whose salaries totalled R18 million last year.

The process to be followed includes the formation of task teams, both administrative and political; feasibility studies to assess the impact of integration and advise on the best model of management to ensure a seamless transition; and public consultation so that the City can engage with residents. It will also involve the process of deregistering these companies.

Related article: Entities placed under City’s wing, again

Groenewald said that for the advantages of rigorous tender processes to be realised, the City first needed to prioritise capital projects that take account of the most vulnerable city residents. She said that certain announcements indicate that this may not always be the case.

“For example, the abolition of the cycle lane project came without consultation with residents of informal settlements to find out whether tarring every road is indeed more important than affordable transport, clinics or other services.”

She said that this was one example of why transparency in tender processes is important, but that tender processes alone cannot solve everything.



Chantelle Fourie

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