“There is only me,” said City of Johannesburg mayor Mpho Phalatse as she spoke of the difficulties she faced since taking up the position on November 22.
In an interview with the Sowetan yesterday, Phalatse said by now, a mayor in Joburg would have been working with her 10 mayoral committee members but she has had to do it alone for the past three weeks as the DA has struggled to secure a coalition deal.
“Ordinarily a mayor would have had 10 MMCs, each dealing with their own portfolio, but it’s been three weeks and I’ve been on my own.
“It’s been challenging … to manage my time. There’s been a lot of expectation about what needs to be done across the city but there’s also been only one of me,” Phalatse said.
“I’ve been working a lot through officials and through the acting city manager as well. I’ve also spent a lot of time dealing with the electricity crisis, which has been a challenge, not only in Soweto but across the city, even in City Power areas, but the Soweto challenge has been so pronounced due to communities being disconnected.
“We’ve got our own ageing infrastructure crisis and it’s so important to stabilise the grid and hopefully offset load-shedding. We’ve started working on solutions with City Power and there’s some exciting stuff unfolding and we’ve started looking at alternative ways to provide electricity in our community.”
Phalatse said she would be going after government departments and companies that owe money to the municipality in unpaid services.
In November, Sowetan reported that government departments and public entities debt was R560m.
“I’ve also asked for a list of big customers that owe the city money so we can start to collect that money. We will be going on a revenue collection drive, particularly from big business and government departments as part of our drive to send through a message. It’s important for services.
“Only those who can’t afford [will be exempt] and they must register for the expanded social package,” she said.
Phalatse was announced mayor after beating former mayor and ANC mayoral candidate Mpho Moerane by 23 votes.
She said coalition talks were continuing, adding they could be concluded by today.
Meanwhile, in Ekurhuleni, mayor Tania Campbell at the weekend announced her MMCs which included members of Cope, ActionSA and the IFP.
“Together, as a multiparty coalition, we are dedicated to fast-tracking service delivery and infrastructure revitalisation across Ekurhuleni. I know this capable team is fit for the task at hand and I wish them all the best with their new responsibilities,” Campbell said on Sunday night.