At the ANC National General Council in 2000, former president of the movement Thabo Mbeki, in summarising what a government committed to social progress must do, said:
“We must ensure that today is better than yesterday and that tomorrow will be better than today.”
Madam Speaker, this is a responsibility and mandate that we proudly accept as a city.
A city that knows it must turn challenges into opportunities.
That understands its destiny is determined by its capacity to innovate in order to transform.
A City in which today is clearly better than yesterday; which every day finds new ways to work with its people to ensure tomorrow will be better than today.
We are the leading cosmopolitan city in Africa and its premier commercial hub.
We are the shining city on the high plains of this great continent, on which the eyes of all who seek fortune and opportunity are fixed.
People from across this land and across the globe come here to seek the best of what they can be. As job-seekers, business people, learners and trainees; artists, entertainers – people seeking a new urban Africa – respectful of its past; determined to shape their future.
They come to a place that promises freedom from untold hardship and from exclusion; a place that understands the value of freedom from hunger and freedom from exploitation; a place that confronts and addresses poverty, inclusion and access.
We are a city where the young lead the call for transformation, demanding the opportunity to work, to improve their lives, and become the best of what they can be. A city that knows that with just a little help, our youth are not the challenge some think them to be, but our greatest asset.
Madam Speaker Cllr Constance Bapela;
MECs and Members of the Provincial Legislature, Executive Mayors, Chief Whip of Council, Cllr Prema Naidoo, Members of the Mayoral Committee, Chair of Chairs, All Chairpersons of Council Committees, Fellow Councillors, ANC Regional Secretary, Mr Dada Morero, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Leaders of all Political Parties, City Manager, Mr Trevor Fowler, Senior Managers and Officials of Council.
On Sunday, we celebrate Mother’s Day. Allow me to take this opportunity to wish my mother, Ellen Tau, a happy Mother’s Day.
May I pre-empt my children in equally wishing their mother, my wife Pilisiwe, a happy Mother’s Day.
To my sister Tilly, to you, Madam Speaker and all the mothers in this city, and indeed our country, may Sunday be a day worth the celebration we all owe to our mothers.
Comrades, Friends, Colleagues, Distinguished Guests, Business Leaders, Civil Society Organisations, The Media and my fellow Citizens.
A special welcome to those joining us via live broadcast at community halls throughout the City, on radio and television and those joining us via live streaming to screens, phones and tablets via broadband from Diepkloof Hall to Diepsloot Hall.
Madam Speaker, a few weeks ago, I was contacted by three young men with an interesting proposition. These men are emerging young fashion designers from Soweto, and their proposal was that I wear a suit made by them for today’s event, and I duly obliged. Today, I am proudly dressed by Kwandile Dladla, Nkululeko Makhubu and Jacob Nakedi of Bespoke PHR. To them, I say ‘thank you.’
Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of recognising the credentials of a new ambassador for the City of Johannesburg, Miss South Africa 2015, Ms Liesl Laurie of Eldorado Park. She may have been recognised for her grace and beauty, but she is actually a symbol of something more important.
Having finished her accounting degree, Liesl dreamt of taking time to give back to her community before she started working. The pageant has given her a chance to live that dream and the city has committed to assist her in running youth upliftment programmes in her native Eldos and surrounding areas. Liesl is a national symbol of how our youth can be part of uplifting and changing our society.
These are just two examples of the potential we can unlock in young people, simply by recognising their value and helping them find their path to economic and social participation.
To assist the estimated one million young people in Johannesburg who are not in employment, education or training, we need to do this on a mass scale.
To transform this challenge into an opportunity, we are today announcing the rollout of Vulindlel‘ eJozi – an innovative response to the massive problem of youth unemployment.
Recently, the Mayoral Committee approved a partnership with Harambee Youth Accelerator, a leading youth development social enterprise forged by the private sector, to drive the first year of the programme. Vulindlel‘ eJozi aims to break down barriers to opportunities for 200 000 youth by 2016. The programme will enable them to enter work, education and training as well as improve their economic participation potential step-by-step.
This programme will begin with screening, assessment and advisory services for all candidates. This will extend into foundation literacy, numeracy and digital literacy for all who participate to raise their earning potential.
The programme will then identify and create opportunities for young people based on their aptitudes and capabilities. These will include formal employment in companies of all sizes, public works programmes, national youth service programmes and micro-enterprise development channels such as Jozi@work. The programme will also facilitate the placement of appropriate candidates in training and education programmes.
Madam Speaker, this builds on the work done throughout this term to develop channels for economic inclusion, both in terms of employment and SMME access. These find specific expression in our 10 Integrated Development Plan priorities, but are also based on the commitment to job-intensive growth the City has made as part of the Joburg 2040 vision.
Tomorrow must be better than today for those who make up the vast ranks of the unemployed youth. The kind of transformative innovation represented by Vulindlel‘ eJozi is how we make sure that that becomes a reality.
Madam Speaker – One of the pathways available to the youth via Vulindlel‘ eJozi is the Jozi@work programme, our new grass-roots economic empowerment initiative. We announced the rollout last year, and are pleased to report it has now moved into full implementation.
We are using Jozi@work to demonstrate how we can innovate in order to transform the challenges of unemployment and service backlogs into an opportunity to create new enterprises and solve local problems.
As Council will be aware, Jozi@Work is now a reality on the ground directly confronting poverty and inequality, while changing the way the City does business and produces services. It equips communities to partner with the City in responding to problems in their neighbourhoods, becoming co-producers of municipal services.
In order to push the system into full co-production mode, communities themselves will also be able to propose innovative Jozi@work projects in the areas where they live. To facilitate this, a community innovation fund is being set up and we intend to open applications as of next month.
Jozi@work is not just a programme – it’s a movement. It is mobilising the economically excluded to take their power back and join the mainstream economy, improving the city in the process. This, after all, is a hand-up, not a handout initiative.
For those who are already part of the programme – whether small enterprises, cooperatives or those assisting them – today is, indeed, better than yesterday.
Madam Speaker, under a new partnership with the University of Johannesburg, groups of young people will also have access to our Digital Ambassadors programme. Over the coming months, as we accelerate the rollout of our free public Wi-Fi hotspots announced last year, we will also deploy 3 000 young people, grouped as micro-companies, to provide digital literacy training. This is the bridge we are building across the digital divide.Madam Speaker, we have the privilege of leading a city of 4.8 million people, but we carry the burden of knowing that over 50 % of those people have no regular access to the Internet.
Digital access is becoming as much an equity issue in our society as access to water and electricity.
The broadband network we as a City have developed is a public asset. It allows us to reindustrialise in a way that builds Joburg as a city able to compete and lead in both the old industries that are rapidly digitising and in the new weightless economy of digital services.
In line with the Council resolution, I am pleased to report that we are on the verge of concluding a settlement agreement that will unlock this asset.
We are in the process of blanketing Braamfontein with Wi-Fi that provides high- speed broadband access, parts of which are live right now. This goes beyond hotspot access at specific buildings and demonstrates how public Wi-Fi can work across a wide area. In this mecca of youthful activity, the Wi-Fi mesh will become a showcase for how subsidised access to Internet means access to opportunity and education.
Madam Speaker, the Johannesburg statistics from Census 2011 tell the story of how big a problem education access is. Only 13.2 % of Joburg residents across all age groups have a post-high school education. If you narrow that to those who have bachelor degrees or higher, the percentage drops to 5.8 %. The challenge is mobility up the higher education ladder. This is the chasm we must help our people to cross.
Massive open online courses create the opportunity for online university education. This is a solution that is being offered by our very own libraries division.
The Massive Open Online Varsity, or MOOV, will provide the kind of learning gateway that is making all the difference across Africa. The MOOV programme, which currently has 40 youth enrolled, will expand to connect hundreds of students citywide with recognised online courses offered by institutions as prestigious and diverse as Wharton Business School, Rice University, the University of Adelaide and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
This complements our new range of programmes that directly support the new digital economy. The Tshimologong precinct, which we have started in partnership with WITS university is a new area of Braamfontein dedicated to digital start-ups; the Hack. Jozi programme – also in partnership with WITS – has sourced the best new app ideas which will help the city run better, and will fund the winners; the JEDI programme is sourcing 1 000 new digital interns who will learn their craft working for the City.
We are innovating to transform how we run the City for the 21st Century. For the people walking the streets of the inner city today, feeling unsafe, our new intelligent operations centre links together our upgraded CCTV cameras and gives us eyes on the street. The intelligent predictive software and the new cameras can detect patterns of behaviour that arouse suspicion. This allows us to see and prevent crime more quickly, and link criminals and their vehicles to specific crime sites. This will improve the performance of our JMPD 10-plus programme of localised deployment.
Through our partnership with Anglo-American, we have tested a new digital patient system at our clinic in Slovoville that cuts waiting times from an average of 45 minutes to less than 10 minutes.
To improve mobility and traffic flow in the City, we are pleased to tell you that 75% of our traffic lights are on a Remote Monitoring System. This allows for early detection and automatic reporting of faults, providing for quicker response and repair times. The process of ensuring tomorrow is better than today is increasingly a digital one, calling on the transformative innovation of a smart city.
Of course, Madam Speaker, being a smart city is not only about the clever use of technology, though that certainly helps. It’s about using smart innovation to solve complex problems.
In his definitive book titled “The Blue Economy,” the renowned international systems engineer Prof Gunter Pauli describes a model that will shift society from scarcity to abundance “with what is locally available”. Prof Pauli, along with an international network of 130 experts, has been working with us to translate these principles into implementable projects.
These are geared towards the implementation of cutting edge science into social, ecological and competitive initiatives that realise inclusive growth, addressing poverty, unemployment and inequality.
Madam Speaker, allow me to present our first cohort of blue economy projects.
As you know, our communities consume significant quantities of bread, most of it very high in sugar content by international standards. As a local economic development initiative, we are looking at options to introduce fruit trimmings as a flour replacement into the bread-making process. This will feed a vast new community production sector selling cheaper, healthier bread citywide. Later today, those of you breaking bread with us at lunch will be able to sample this new local bread.
At the same time, we will be enabling new micro mushroom farms that will turn nutrition into a viable business for thousands of community-based operators.
Madam Speaker, we live in a water-scarce country and unless we change our behaviour, we will experience pressure on the supply side. We have, over recent years, invested extensively in maintenance to prevent unaccounted for water in the City. This has enabled us to maintain reliability of supply. We have maintained the same water reserve margin for several years, despite our increasing population. This notwithstanding, with the same supply, we have met increasing household demand. However, we have reached an equilibrium point between demand and supply and unless we change our behaviour, demand will outstrip supply.
To confront this, the city will incentivise and regulate the installation of low-flush toilets and water-saving urinals as a standard feature in Joburg homes, offices and commercial sites.
Given the energy constraints we face, we will be harnessing energy from the water flowing through our pipe system citywide using in-pipe turbines. Taking advantage of the opportunities presented by our investments in waste separation, we will be diverting organic waste to bio-digesters in order to harvest gas for fuel and energy, adding material from the sewerage system.
We will be converting most of the 250 000 tons of rubble we collect from illegal dumpsites into a new form of stone paper. Using this approach we will unlock value in such rubble and subsidise the cost of removing it.
Many of these are designed as catalytic investments by the city, proving a business case that the private sector can finance to create new viable businesses citywide.
Madam Speaker, the blue economy agenda is concerned with local environmental conditions, but we must also consider the consequences of climate change. We contribute to climate change systematically through carbon emissions, and the reliance by Joburg commuters on single-passenger vehicles is an inefficiency we must confront.
In order to showcase the greener, better choices citizens can make, we are soon hosting an EcoMobility Festival in partnership with ICLEI Local Government for Sustainability as well as a host of local partners.
Throughout October 2015, in partnership with residents, workers and visitors to the Sandton CBD, the City will be promoting eco-mobile solutions for travel to this highly congested area.
This will be a showcase of how transport into Sandton will be reconfigured – including Rea Vaya and the new cycle lanes we are currently investing in. This will increase the number of people who can enter and leave at any given time, and therefore increase footfall in the area.
Madam Speaker, together, the blue and green economy interventions do not only represent a new approach to energy, roads, water management and waste processing. They also represent a cluster of industries and opportunities that connect the masses of Joburg with new ways of making money, which also improve basic living conditions and lower household costs in the process.
We are making sure today is better than yesterday, and all our tomorrows are better than today.
As we evolve the way we run basic services into a new, more effective network of systems for managing water, waste and energy it contributes to service delivery improvement more generally.
Madam Speaker, we continue to implement service turnaround strategies that give specific and urgent life to the back-to-basics imperatives by enforcing adherence to predictable, well-communicated service standards.
We are innovating to transform our levels of service. No one in Joburg needs reminding of the economic strain and constant inconvenience that load shedding represents. By investing in innovation through smart meters over several years, Joburg is now able to dramatically reduce the extent of load shedding through our new load limiting system. This allows business and everyday homeowners to reduce their own electricity usage in order to avoid the rolling blackouts of load shedding.
At 200 megawatts, Kelvin power station can provide about 7 % of the City’s needs. We are engaging with the private sector to secure investment in Kelvin to push its capacity to at least 600 megawatts. Combining these innovations with electricity generated by users, through solar panels and other technology, plus ripple control – which allows the city to manage power usage in specific areas – the City can reduce power from the grid by 25%, without blackouts from any City Power areas.
This is part of a wider commitment to ensure a reduced economic impact and that basic service levels meet expectations.
Madam Speaker, President Jacob Zuma recently pronounced before the South African Local Government Association, that:
“Going back to the basics means a recommitment to provide municipal services in a professional and caring manner, and in our daily conduct, recognise each resident as a valuable client.”
The City of Johannesburg firmly supports the “back-to-basics” approach for local government adopted by Government at the national summit last year.
During the presentation of his budget, the Minister of Cooperative Governance, Pravin Gordhan had this to say about ‘back-to-basics’:
“We must make sure that robots work, that potholes are filled, water is delivered, refuse is collected, electricity is supplied and waste management takes place in the right kind of way.”
We are pleased to report we have pushed basic service delivery to higher standards. We have, over the course of this term, delivered 12 500 housing units for the underprivileged.
In the last year alone:
We have built 1 000 quality social housing and rentals places.
We have resurfaced three hundred and twenty three kilometres of roads
We have upgraded forty-four kilometres of gravel roads to surfaced roads.
We have facilitated one billion rand value of investment and business transactions
We have ensured a 5% reduction in the mortality rate in fire and pedestrian accidents through rendering quality emergency services.
We have listened carefully to residents about their service expectations, and captured these as council-approved standards. Through the service delivery agreements with the municipal entities, this mandate has been set. This is reflected and captured in the shareholder compacts the City is managing with each municipal entity.
To ensure these standards are implemented, we have established a daily nerve centre that connects all frontline departments and manages rapid responses to areas of service breakdown.
This links to the Gauteng provincial service delivery war room. As Gauteng Premier David Makhura stated upon initiating the war room: “We owe it to the people of Gauteng to work together, plan together and coordinate interventions that will enhance development and service delivery.”
Madam Speaker, we inherited a financial wasteland of failing local councils. The city that was built on that once shaky foundation now consistently attracts and retains high investment grade ratings from international rating agencies.
The City received an unqualified audit opinion for 2013/14 and four municipal entities received a clean audit opinion – the Joburg Market, Joburg Roads Agency, Joburg Theatre and JOSHCO.
We are reinvesting in our infrastructure to improve standards and reduce maintenance backlogs. The City achieved 96% capital expenditure last financial year an actual expenditure of R7.3 billion. This is a reassuring scale-up of our capital management programme, considering the cap-ex spend increased by 70%. In the current financial year we have increased the capital budget to over ten billion rand.
We will improve service continuously and thoroughly, but developmental urban government must do more than competently provide services. We must innovate in order to transform the conditions we govern, to ensure that tomorrow will be better than today.
Madam Speaker, our next area of acceleration, the corridors programme and our wider public transport overhaul, is the leading edge of an approach that will alter the spatial destiny of the City. Left to the forces of the market alone, the poor would be cast to the edges of the City, huddled together in crowded shacks, trapped there by the cost of mobility. This is exactly what we seek to disrupt and transform when we speak of confronting apartheid spatial patterns.
The corridors programme, as we have outlined in the last two State of the City speeches, uses public transport as the backbone of new kind of mixed-use, mixed- class development, and focuses on location and affordability of housing as an enabler to embrace economic vitality and diversity of Joburg.
The City’s budget gives priority to the first three corridors – Empire-Perth, Louis Botha and Turffontein – and the planning frameworks for these areas have been finalised and approved by Council. These set out the development vision for the corridors, and will be the basis on which land use rights applications are considered.
We are on track in rolling out the third Phase of the BRT between Alexandra, Sandton, Midrand, Ivory Park and the CBD.
The recent Metrobus and PRASA bus and rail tragedies have emphasised the importance of public transport safety. We will soon be launching a campaign to ensure adherence to all aspects of occupational health and safety. Metrobus has already committed that all its drivers will be retrained. This is the least we can do to honour the memory of those tragically killed in the recent Metrobus crash on Jan Smuts Avenue. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Mr Ludwe Peter, Ms Sibusisiwe Zikhali and Ms Reeva Ruurds, as well as all those who were injured. We also extend our sympathy to all those killed or injured on Johannesburg roads.
The capacity assessment of M1, M2 and Soweto Highway will be commencing soon to upgrade these freeways to the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Programme standards, but without any tolls. This will be e-toll quality road without e-tolls. The outcome of the assessment will also provide potential innovative solutions to the congestion challenges on the M1 and M2.
At the same time repairs on the Double Decker, Oxford and Federation bridges on the M1 will start in the first quarter of the next financial year. I urge all road users to comply with traffic accommodation measures that will need to be implemented and plead for their patience during this time – as well as urge them to explore public transport alternatives.
Madam Speaker, we have transformed our City’s landscape, as part of the inner city renewal project.
If you haven’t been to the inner city in the last five years, you wouldn’t recognise many parts of it. Travel guides now heap praise on Braamfontein, Maboneng, the Fashion district, Marshalltown and Newtown. In some cases we, as the city, have actively developed precincts; in others we have zoned and planned with an open mind, allowing the private sector to apply its creativity. The result is one of the most interesting and rapidly evolving urban environments in the world.
Nando’s has recently moved its international headquarters to Lorenzville, where its operations began decades ago, bringing seventy five million rand worth of investment back with them. Food practitioners from all over the world are now trained there.
At the other end of the commercial scale, we are glad to announce that we have reached resolution on how to accommodate informal trading in the inner city as a properly regulated activity, peacefully co-existing with all the other demands on that bustling space.
The Hillbrow Tower Precinct and African Food Hub Pavilion are currently under development.
Madam Speaker, in line with our commitment to citizen participation in our democratic processes, construction work has started on a new Council Chamber that will include the provision of modern facilities for elected councillors, officials and members of the public who wish to attend meetings.
Together with this initiative the Metro Centre and its precinct will be revitalised to create an inviting and accessible space for employees, residents and visitors who want to access City services. It will be turned into a 24-hour mixed use campus that provides office space for all the City’s departments and entities but also includes residential apartments, retail shops and a ‘People’s Square.’
Public access to Council’s proceedings will increase exponentially with the number of seats in the public gallery growing from the current 15 to 209. They will also be able to follow proceedings by way of specially erected screens outside the Chamber and through viewing areas at all regional centres.
We have succeeded in establishing functioning ward committees in all our regions. Residents can make direct contributions to the drafting of strategies that have an impact on their daily lives.
Madam Speaker, allow me to acknowledge the presence of Advocate Sduduzo Gumede, the first Ombudsman of the City of Johannesburg.
The Office of the Ombudsman provides a critical independent voice for the service users of this City, much as the Public Protector does for government at large.
The centralised fraud hotline was established in October 2012 and to date, has received over 2600 tip-offs. The calls are being routed to the respective Departments and Entities for appropriate investigations and responses.
Several employees have been dismissed following disciplinary hearings.
During the past 18 months, there have been a total of 43 arrests relating to illegal connections, fraud and corruption. Those arrested include officials, contractors such as meter readers, and other third parties who operate in syndicates and networks. The City has also made a significant increase in reporting suspected criminal acts to law enforcement.
This is how we are making good on the promise of a City that is accountable to all who live in it.
Madame Speaker, in a month’s time our nation will celebrate the 60th anniversary of an event that changed the history of our country. At Kliptown in Soweto and Eldorado Park, we will honour the memory of the brave men and women – from all races and creeds – who contributed to the drafting and adoption of the Freedom Charter. We will celebrate and recommit to the vision of this world-changing document.
The gathering at Kliptown, in 1955, was preceded by a nation-wide campaign. The hopes and aspirations of ordinary people were canvassed and captured on small pieces of paper. These were collated into a document that stood the test of time and forms the basis of our admirable Constitution.
Ordinary, anonymous people, our grandfathers and grandmothers – set in motion a wave of events that culminated in one of the most important social and political revolutions in the recent history of the world.
Our Joburg 2040 Growth and Development Strategy was inspired by this process – a broad-based plan constructed on thousands of inputs from ordinary people. And the GDS clearly commits us to transformation in order to deliver inclusive growth and development-driven resilience for all.
As pronounced so powerfully at Kliptown 60 years ago next month, this nation – and indeed, this city belongs to all who live in it.
The Joburg 2040 vision sets us the challenge of innovative and transformative approaches to developmental city government. This is the challenge we must transform into an opportunity to guarantee a tomorrow better than today.
The GDS 2040 commits the City to ensure a long and healthy life for all and to promote food resilience that is secured and safeguarded.
Research conducted by the City has clearly shown that being food insecure in Jozi isn’t about whether food is available – it’s a matter of how expensive food is, and how much you have to pay in transport to get to it. When family budgets are tight, people eat more starch and sugar to make up for the protein and fresh vegetables they cannot afford. There simply aren’t enough local stores selling healthy food, and not enough healthy choices on fast food menus.
This means that we have to change how food is produced and sold – changing the political economy of food – by enabling new farmers and retailers to enter the marketplace. Our network of agri-resource centres, with links to farmers markets helps to grow the food sector in new, healthy and local ways.
We recognise that health is as much an issue of public culture as it is one of private behaviour. The goal is to encourage people to adopt a healthy lifestyle by increasing exercise, promoting healthy eating practices, decreasing alcohol consumption and stopping smoking.
It was following this logic in the 2014 State of the City address that we committed to a nutrition pledge programme with the food retail sector. This is now a reality with food establishments to curb the high rate of lifestyle diseases by simply offering additional healthy eating options on their menus.
The pledge has been signed by restaurants as diverse as Wimpy, Hard Rock Café, Nambitha and Sakhumzi of Vilakazi Street, Spur, Ubuntu Kraal and Ocean Basket.
This is more than a pledge – it is a commitment to raise the level of healthy offerings across the food retail sector.
The next step is ensuring that the next generation learns healthy ways of living – and to this end we have partnered with Discovery to launch the Jozi-Vitality schools programme.
The programme, based on the Vitality health rewards system, will provide incentives to schools that improve indicators of learner health. These include serving healthy food, actively pushing children to exercise more and improving all the factors in the school environment that can impact wellness.
Ensuring tomorrow is better than today requires healthier choices and more accessible nutrition today. Thanks to food resilience interventions, today is already better than yesterday for thousands of residents. As we move towards a better tomorrow, that becomes tens and hundreds of thousands of people.
Madam Speaker, our development challenges require us to think global and act local. We are part of a global community of cities connected by common challenges that cannot be solved by cities alone.
As a leading African city we are called upon to lobby and contribute to the development of global solutions.
We undertake this role as the world has come to a crossroads on how to manage sustainable development.
In September, the world will be gathering in New York to resolve on the Sustainable Development Goals, which will replace the millennium development goals.
In December, the world will gather in Paris to negotiate the next global climate change accord.
In October 2016, the world will gather in Quito, Ecuador, as it seeks to define the new urban agenda under the auspices of UN Habitat.
At all three events local government leaders from across the globe will be called upon to represent the voices of their people and of the majority of the world’s population who live in cities.
Given this momentous point in global discourse, African local government, currently experiencing the highest levels of urbanisation and urban poverty, needs to assume its rightful place as a leading voice on the future of the world and our cities.
Our leadership in this regard will help shape the urban development strategy of the continent when we convene the Africities summit of African local government authorities in November of this year.
If further confirmation was needed of our place on the regional diplomatic map, it was recently confirmed that the regional office of the BRICS development bank will be located in Johannesburg.
Thousands of people arrive every month from outside of our City limits and across the Republic’s borders, seeking their fortune in Johannesburg. For as long as this city has existed, this has been the case – this city’s vibrancy, vigour – its very foundation – is built by migrants.
The estimated population of the mining camp, along with the surrounding villages that would become this great City, back in 1886, was a few hundred people. So the overwhelming majority of us are 1st, 2nd, 3rd or, at best, 4th generation migrants.
All of us must fight back with clearly voiced reason against the toxic falsehood that economic opportunity is limited, and that migrants somehow may deprive local people by participating in our economy.
The reality is that the very opposite is true – the more people who actively participate in our economy, the more opportunities there are for all. Migrants who come here to work, to play fair, to build businesses and offer services are unambiguously good for this City. As long as access is fair, by-laws are observed and enforcement of rules is consistent, none have any cause to claim that the energies and efforts of our new arrivals damage our economy or our society.
We stand with members of the Joburg Migrant Advisory Panel, whom I have invited to join us today, and give this commitment:
We stand with you, as our brothers and sisters. Our home is your home. We speak with the authority of the vast majority of decent Joburgers who are repulsed and saddened by the racist, xenophobic and afrophobic actions taken by a selfish minority of criminals. We embrace the teachings of Du Bois, Pixley Ka Seme, Kwame Nkrumah, Franz Fanon and the proud parade of thinkers who have taught us that our identity is bound together.
We are, and will always remain, a world class African city open to the world.
Madam Speaker, we have said many times that we do not regard urbanisation as an obstacle, but rather as an opportunity. We see our diversity as a source of strength and social cohesion a building block for community growth.
It must also be the proving ground for how we as a nation innovate to transform our economy and society. It must demonstrate how we ensure tomorrow will be better than today.
We are a world class african city.
A city that unleashes the potential and creativity of our youth, treating them as the assets they are.
A city that treats our citizens as partners and co-producers of services, empowering them to be part of the solution.
A city that is rewiring itself for the digital age- promoting access for all as it harnesses the promise of the 21st century.
A city that innovates to solve problems, that harvests power from waste, that makes paper from rubble, that turns fruit trimmings into bread.
A city that has triumphed over complexity to build strong institutions.
A city that is casting transformation in steel and concrete, rising along our Corridors of Freedom.
That can stand proudly at Kliptown in June and affirm that it honours the commitments of the Freedom Charter, seeing all that must be done from now into the far distance of 2040, to give those commitments full life.
A city that joins forces with its citizens to enable better choices on how they eat and live.
A city that takes its place on the great stages of the world, amplifying the voices of urban Africa.
A city, founded by newcomers, sustained by diversity, reaffirming that it will always be open to the continent and the world.
We must sustain, for each new day, each new decade, the truth first spoken by Pixley Ka Seme in 1906: “A brighter day is rising upon Africa”.
We are the African city as seen through Seme’s eyes 109 years ago: A vision of “crowded cities sending forth the hum of business” in which all Africa’s people are “employed in advancing the victories of peace; greater and more abiding than the spoils of war”.
As a city we know that to bring life to that commitment, we must bring the promised change to Joburg, to South Africa – to the world we have inherited. We must innovate, we must transform.
We must always be worthy of being called a world class African city.
Tomorrow must be better than today.
SOURCE: South African Official News