Remarks delivered by the Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Cllr Randall Williams, on the announcement of the Members of the Mayoral Committee (MMCs)
Good afternoon to all those who have gathered here today, particularly the members of the media.
Less than a week ago, I was elected as Executive Mayor of Tshwane. This came after the City was placed under administration unlawfully by the provincial government, who also dissolved Council.
For more than seven months the City did not have political leadership or oversight over core operations. Councillors were removed from their communities and in its place a total void was
created between the City and Tshwane residents.
It caused immense frustration for residents and resulted in immense disruption in their lives. The trust that many people had in the workings of local government has been eroded. There has been
a relationship breakdown.
That is why I will begin restoring the trust that residents of this city have in their elected leadership today. In the 2016 local government elections they voted for councillors; I was one of them. They
entrusted me and my fellow councillors with a responsibility to represent them and ensure that the City responds to their needs.
It is time to begin rebuilding and strengthening that relationship. It is time to restore the well-being of Tshwane, our capital city.
For the last few days I have immersed myself in getting briefed on all matters that pertain to the current operational status quo in the City. What I have found has been disturbing.
You might have read that the City’s financials are in crisis. A ballooning deficit of R4,4 billion has been inherited from the last financial year, which ended on 30 June 2020.
Collection rates are down, and the debtors book has increased by over R5 billion since the DA was removed in March this year. The overall credit status of the City has been severely weakened
after being downgraded. Operationally, the City is also limping.
To stabilise the finances, budgets have been cut across departments, many of which provide frontline basic service delivery. This has hampered the City’s ability to respond speedily to service
delivery requests, and procure goods and services that support operations.
The impact of COVID-19 and the lockdown has significantly disrupted operations with many employees being sent to work remotely without the necessary tools to effectively do their jobs. I
have already given the acting City Manager an instruction that there must be a full recall of staff.
This instruction has been executed and already I have seen staff returning to the City.
Aside from staff with serious medical conditions and co-morbidities, I want all City of Tshwane staff at their offices serving the residents of this city. All senior managers will be responsible for making sure that their staff are at work, accounted for and doing their duties. It is time to get the capital city back to work.
I also intend to squeeze every drop of savings out of the City that I can so that we can restore financial stability. It will start with scrutinising all the spending that took place in the last seven
months, along with the implementation and tracking of a financial turnaround strategy.
A crucial objective of mine is to enhance project management in the City by developing a robust internal capacity to ensure that City projects are completed. This will also then significantly reduce
the City’s spending on consulting and contracted services.
Starting immediately, I want spending on unnecessary items cut.
- Spending on catering in the City of Tshwane will cease. Free lunches are over. No matter the length of the meeting or the formality of the engagement, the City will not purchase food.
- Events and conferences will have their budgets reduced and channelled to core service delivery. Where possible, all such engagements will happen either in Tshwane House or online.
- All international travel will be restricted. I intend to immediately begin reviewing and appropriating these budgets to direct them to core service delivery. Travel abroad will only be considered when funded by external partners or donors.
- Spending on consumables, such as stationery and printing, will be tightly controlled so that only core and necessary items are procured.
The business of core service delivery must now be prioritised. This afternoon I will present a detailed ten-point service delivery intervention plan to City of Tshwane top management.
- Prioritising the electrical grid and water infrastructure
- Implementing a robust COVID-19 management strategy
- Creating a reliable waste and refuse removal service
- Providing stringent financial management and oversight
- Enhancing city safety and emergency services
- Promoting employment and economic growth in the city
- Supporting the vulnerable and providing social relief
- Fast-tracking development by cutting red tape
- Applying expansive financial cost-cutting across City processes
- Maintaining and expanding road infrastructure
I have even gone so far as to develop specific key performance indicators that I want departments to track. This will ensure that they report on exactly what I ask of them.
In the coming weeks I intend to communicate intensely on their implementation. To do this I will need a strong team; a group of people with a diversity of skills who are talented professionals. I
am pleased to unveil that team today. I would ask that they either raise their hand or stand as I announce them.
Cllr Mpho Mehlape-Zimu: MMC for Human Settlements
In 2012, Mpho entered the world of politics by serving as professional support staff member to the DA. During the same period she equipped herself for the rigours of public office by obtaining certifications in the fields of gender, youth and people with disabilities, as well as governance and compliance. She was elected to Council in 2017 and became Deputy Chief Whip in 2019.
Cllr Sylvester Phokoje: MMC for Human Capital Management and Shared Services
Sylvester is a practicing advocate and consultant in the fields of human resources development and labour relations. With almost 40 years’ experience in the human resources field, Sylvester brings a wealth of experience to Group Human Capital Management
Cllr Thabisile Vilakazi: MMC for Community and Social Development Services
Thabisile was sworn in as Councillor in 2016, and has served as the Chairperson for the Section 79 Oversight Committee for Community and Social Development Services since then. Thabisile has excelled in her duties as committee chairperson, and I am certain that she will continue to do so in her new role as MMC.
Alderman Karen Meyer: MMC for Community Safety
Karen was first elected to Council in 2000, and has served as a councillor in the City for the past 20 years. From 2001, she was the official opposition’s spokesperson for Community Safety right
up to 2016, when she was appointed as Chairperson of the Local Geographical Names Committee. In February 2019, she was appointed as MMC for Community Safety and she will
continue her relentless pursuit for a safer Tshwane.
Cllr Sakkie du Plooy: MMC for Health
As an ordained minister, Sakkie served as Chaplain of the former South African Defence Force and the Dutch Reformed Church in Parys up to 1989. He then entered the public service and worked in a number of government departments until his election to Council in 2014. In 2016, he was appointed as MMC for Health where he served with distinction until moving to the Community and Social Development Services portfolio in February 2019. His return to the
Health portfolio will see him pick up where he left off and continue his exceptional work.
Cllr Mare-Lise Fourie: MMC for Finance
Mare-Lise worked for the City Council of Pretoria from 1970 right up to her departure from the City of Tshwane in 2003. One of South Africa’s leading authorities on municipal finances and financial management, she has presented courses on the subject at the Universities of South Africa, Johannesburg and Pretoria, as well as the Tshwane University of Technology. Mare-Lise entered Council in 2014 and was appointed as MMC for Finance in 2016. She will lead
the City’s financial turnaround strategy, and I am confident that she will return the City to a solid financial footing.
Cllr Phillip Nel: MMC for Utility Services and Regional Operations and Coordination
A professional engineer with over 40 years’ experience in the private sector, backed by a business leadership degree and proven record of organisational development, Phillip brings a wealth of project and performance management knowledge and experience to this portfolio. With the current challenges experienced by both departments, Phillip will be on the frontline in terms of basic service delivery.
Cllr Dana Wannenburg: MMC for Environment and Agriculture Management
Dana Wannenburg is a born and bred entrepreneur of Pretoria, with over 20 years’ experience in the motor and commercial property industry. Dana was first elected to Council in 2000, where he
served in various capacities until being appointed as MMC for Environment and Agriculture Management in 2019.
Cllr Bruce Lee: MMC for Economic Development and Spatial Planning
Bruce was first elected to Council in 2011 and served on the Section 79 Oversight Committee for Economic Development and Spatial Planning for several years. Armed with an MBA and a political science degree from universities in Taiwan and Hong Kong,
Bruce has managed and run several businesses in the manufacturing and export sector in the southern African region.
Cllr Dikeledi Selowa: MMC for Roads and Transport
Dikeledi was first elected to Council in 2016 and appointed as Chairperson of the Section 79 Oversight Committee for Utility Services. She holds several certifications on monitoring and
evaluation in the public sector, governance excellence and local government legislation. As an ardent youth activist, Dikeledi will focus her energies on empowerment and development in the
Roads and Transport portfolio.
In 2016 when the DA took office, we decided to ban the use of blue light brigades by the political leadership in the City. I want to affirm that commitment today. MMCs must be humble representatives of the residents of this city.
The work has started. As we speak I have interrupted a two-day mayoral briefing session where all these MMCs and Section 79 oversight chairpersons have been getting up to speed on the
operational status of the City.
By the end of today, I would have presented my detailed strategic interventions to the top management that I want implemented in the City.
Thank you for attending today. I will now take any questions you might have.