As a father, when I look back on my childhood growing up in poverty in GaRamotse, Hammanskraal, I am struck by how difficult it must have been for my mother, who was a widow, to leave her young family during our formative years to go find work in the city.
The small salary that my mother earned as a domestic worker could not possibly cover all the needs of my brother, my three sisters and I.
Her salary barely met the cost of transport from Johannesburg to Pretoria – let alone school fees.
So for our family, like so many others, every day was a struggle.
I am grateful that when my mother reached her seventies, she died owning a house of her own.
But I know too well that many South Africans still do not have the dignity of a good job or a real chance to be part of the economy with urban title deeds.
This is why I am so intent on making Johannesburg – a City of Golden Opportunities.
To get Johannesburg working, it started with addressing the City’s rampant legacy of corruption.
Under our DA-led government, corruption is public enemy number 1.
To do this, we set up a dedicated Anti-Corruption Unit. And we have uncovered almost 17 billion Rand’s worth of corrupt activities, inherited from the previous ANC-governments.
We cannot tolerate the rampant crime plaguing our communities.
To address this we have recruited 1 500 new, quality JMPD trainee officers. We have launched the K9 Narcotics Unit which is chasing down the drug dealers, and waging war on the drug trade in Johannesburg.
Municipal courts are coming soon to enforce our by-laws and bring back the rule of law.
We must achieve a professional civil service as a pre-requisite for success.
To clean up our streets, so that they are as clean as the streets of Kigali, we have launched the A Re Sebetseng volunteer cleaning campaign.
Every month thousands of residents come out on a Saturday and clean, to build a City that we can all be proud of.
Residents in Jozi have waited far too long to receive the basic services needed for a life of dignity. So we are spending 50 million Rand on bringing electricity to Slovo Park Informal Settlement.
And work is well underway to upgrade 51 more informal settlements over the next three years.
We will turn the Inner City of Johannesburg into a place of lost-cost affordable housing and small business space.
We will re-create the Inner City into the vibrant, diverse heartbeat of Johannesburg.
Every mother should be able to take her sick child to the clinic.
When Miss Maziko, a resident of Princess Park Informal Settlement, asked me to help her sick child, I approached council for the funding to extend clinic hours.
Luckily there was a huge budget available for the previous ANC mayor to travel abroad. As I had no intention to waste our people’s money on unnecessary travel, we used that money to fund extended clinic hours at Miss Maziko’s local clinic.
Since then, we have extended the operating hours of 13 clinics in communities across the city so that more residents can access healthcare in the evenings, on weekends and on public holidays.
I believe that you cannot fight Joburg’s drug problem without providing job opportunities to all residents.
We have successfully launched the Tladi Community Substance Abuse Treatment Centre in Soweto, and we are opening four more clinics for addicts and their families, we are also focused on creating jobs.
We have launched the first of 14 Opportunity Centres set to empower Joburg’s entrepreneurs and unemployed youth through skills training, access to funding and markets, and help with completing tender documents.
Every month, 1 250 small businesses get support from our City.
Because Joburg must continue to be the economic engine of South Africa.
Our DA-led government is doing everything we can to stimulate the economy and create jobs.
We work hard every day for families in our poorest communities.
Because life is still far too difficult for our mothers, our fathers, and our children.
Because we all deserve to be part of the economy and receive good services.
And because the opportunities in Johannesburg must belong to all.