Parks Tau lashes out at Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba

SALGA chairperson Parks Tau.
Parks Tau SALGA chairperson Parks Tau.

Former mayor of Johannesburg Parks Tau says the man who took his job‚ Herman Mashaba‚ has failed in his responsibility of leading the country’s economic hub.

Tau was speaking on Friday in a city council meeting debating Mashaba's state of the city (Soca) address delivered on Wednesday. In it‚ Mashaba vowed to continue fighting corruption in the metro and delivering services to the residents.

Tau said: “As I will highlight in my response‚ I am afraid‚ like in last year’s Soca‚ the executive mayor‚ has‚ in his Soca 2018‚ once again‚ failed to deliver on his responsibility. The fact is that one had hoped that the overall message of the executive mayor would have focused‚ first and uppermost‚ on rebuilding the financial health of the city that has been progressively eroded by his administration

“Furthermore‚ in the process‚ our city is slowly but surely‚ under his administration‚ losing its hard-won status as a world-class African city. This is not hyperbole‚ but an honest assertion supported by the facts I will present henceforth.”

Tau accused Mashaba of attacking his predecessors for their decision to invest R100-billion in capital expenditure over a decade and omitting other facts.

“The city issued the first municipal bond in 2004 to support its growth and development strategy. This was the first city to issue a retail bond in South Africa. Indeed‚ this was the first city in the world to list a green bond with a stock exchange‚” said Tau.

“This was the first city‚ contrary to your comments Mr Mayor‚ to present a credible medium-term infrastructure investment plan. This plan articulated projects to deal with backlogs for those communities that do not have access to infrastructure‚ replenish ageing infrastructure and also to build infrastructure to support economic growth and development.”

In his address‚ Mashaba detailed the infrastructure backlogs that the Democratic Alliance administration inherited from the ANC.

He told council that 78% of the city’s 900 bridges are classified as being in poor or very poor condition and that about R6.5-billion is required to address this problem.

Mashaba said that 27% of the city’s bulk transformer are operating beyond their useful lifespan‚ with some as a old as 91 years. He said the backlog on electrical infrastructure sits at a staggering R17-billion.

Mashaba added that the city had borrowed money and sat with a debt in the region of R17-billion‚ with R5-billion due this year.

To this Tau replied: “What he conveniently omits to say‚ is that the city had set aside money to repay these long-term obligations in its capital redemption fund. Maybe he does this to mask the truth that they have raided this fund to pay for short-term requirements.

“Maybe he does this because the reality is that the failure to repay these long-term loans and bonds places the city at risk of reneging on its bond covenants‚ and thus has to repay the entire R17-billion by the end of June this year.”

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