Herman Mashaba delivered his state of the city address on Wednesday where he listed his achievements as mayor of Johannesburg under a multi-party coalition of the Democratic Alliance and the Economic Freedom Fighters.
Since he assumed office in August 2016, Mashaba said 5145 title deeds have been handed over to the residents of Johannesburg.
“Giving over 5200 of our poorest residents the dignity of home ownership,” said Mashaba, claiming that it was a change from the 2012-2013 financial year where no title deeds were handed over.
To date, Mashaba said the City of Johannesburg has constructed 1089 RDP homes, which he said “represent new housing opportunities for our residents”.
He added an additional 1000 homes require electrification before they can be allocated to residents.
The mayor — who has in the past faced criticism over the manner in which he handled evictions from condemned buildings in the inner city — was unapologetic saying, “I will not shy away from the fact that we have arrested 577 people in connection with hijacked properties, including undocumented immigrants who must then be processed by the department of home affairs.”
“I will not apologise for this nor will our efforts subside, because the rule of law must prevail in our city,” said Mashaba.
“Many people from across the continent seek a better life in our cities, especially in Johannesburg. The reality of our city is that many immigrants are forced to live on the fringes with limited protection before them. Illegal immigration compounds serious issues in our city for the provision of accommodation and other basic services. We will not turn a blind eye,” said Mashaba.
The mayor plans to address the concerns of illegal immigration with the department of home affairs. The fact that the city does not have a refugee centre is of grave concern, said Mashaba
During his address, Mashaba promised to make the city safe so that residents could walk and work safely at night. To that end, he announced that 1500 individuals have been recruited by the JMPD in order to keep the streets safe. The new recruits will be led by chief of police David Thembe, “who is already proving to be an excellent leader”.
Thembe took on the mantle of JMPD police chief in January prioritising hijacked buildings, violations of bylaws, crime and curbing road fatalities.
The JMPD has carried out 20 000 arrests since Mashaba began his tenure as mayor. This number is double the total of the JMPD arrests between 2009 and 2012, Mashaba claimed.
The goal, Mashaba said, is for “Johannesburg to become too dangerous for criminals to work in.”
Continuing his address, Mashaba said 181 000 potholes have been repaired, 520 kilometres of road have been resurfaced, 120 traffic lights have been recabled and 37 kilometres of water pipes have been refurbished.