We are not perfect, but we have done well - DA leader Maimane

While the Democratic Alliance(DA) has acknowledged that it is not perfect, it believes that it has done well in its task to serve South Africans living in DA-led metros.

"When we look at the last 24 months of government, it has not been perfect, but I can stand here today and say the cities are turning around and delivering for citizens," DA leader Mmusi Maimane said in Johannesburg on Friday. 

Maimane was giving feedback on progress made in DA-run metros since August 3, 2016, when it took over the Tshwane, Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay metros through coalition governments. 

The press conference, which was held in what the party deemed "waste land" was also attended by Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba and Executive Mayor of Tshwane Solly Msimanga. However, the party's two embattled mayors - Athol Trollip in Nelson Mandela Bay and Patricia de Lille in Cape Town - were not present.

"The very property we are on today is one of 71 pieces of inner city land earmarked as commercial and residential development for the benefit of the people of eGoli," Maimane said.

'Manufacturing hub'

He said the 1 640-square-metre site was intended for the development of mixed-income housing.

"The space of land was set to be used as a manufacturing hub for among others, warehousing, [the] light industry and an educational precinct," he said. 

Maimane added that, throughout the 24 months, the DA-led coalition government had continued its fight to create jobs and cut crime and corruption.

Mashaba said the City of Johannesburg set itself the task of growing the city's economy to 5% by 2021.

He said he wished to turn the inner City into a construction site.

"We are facing massive a challenge of housing - [a more than] 300 000 housing backlog and 152 000 on a housing list," Mashaba said.

Mashaba added that he was glad to see that the Labour Force Survey (QLFS), which the Stats SA released earlier, showed that the government had created an environment that produced 109 000 new jobs since the beginning of the year.

"This was achieved while reducing the expanded unemployment rate from 32.3% to 30.8%. If this trend continues, the City is well on its way to reaching the goal of 5% growth by 2021," Mashaba pointed out.

He added that the City also had, among other things, opened up substance abuse treatment services that offered free services.

Msimanga said his greatest stride was stabilising the Tshwane metro's finances. 

'Proper governance' 

He said that was achieved by strengthening the controls over supply chain processes, and the cutting of unnecessary expenditure in the City.

"Part of the stabilising was to ensure that we move from the R2 billion inherited deficit that the city found itself in," he said.

Msimanga said the City was sitting at a R705m operational surplus.

"That tells you that, with prudent expenditure and proper governance, you can turn the ship around."

He added that the City of Tshwane would never be able to clear the backlog of housing in the City but could assist in other ways. 

"We have now said, let's move into a space where we you are able to give somebody a piece of land, water and electricity services and then after that, you can give them a title deed to that land, " Msimanga said.

Msimanga added that the City has set itself a target of R10.5bn in direct investments and was sitting on R4.8bn.