“Free Lunches Over”: MAYOR
6 November 2020
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By A Correspondent- The new City of Tshwane mayor Randall Williams believes that he has a tough task ahead in stopping the financial hemorrhaging experienced during the seven-month tenure of the ANC administration. 

During the announcement of members of the mayoral executive committee in Pretoria on Thursday,  Williams said the city would immediately reduce spending on consulting and contracted services. 

“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 be purchasing food,” he said.

“Events and conferences will have their budgets reduced and channelled to core service delivery.”

Williams said this comes after he found the city’s finances in distress following the seven-month tenure by the previous administration that has left the municipality’s coffers with a deficit of R4.4bn. 

“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,” he said. 

Williams said his turnaround strategy for the city will include a 10-point service delivery intervention plan which will consist of:

  • 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
  • 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 they report on exactly what I ask of them,” he said.

The members of the mayoral council that Williams announced include: Mpho Mehlape-Zimu as MMC for housing and human settlements; Sylvester Phokoje for corporate and shared services; Thabisile Vilakazi for community and social development; Karen Meyer for community safety; Sakkie du Plooy for health;Phillip Nel for utilities services and regional operations and coordination, Dana Wannenburg for environment and agriculture management;Bruce Lee for economic development and spatial planning, and Dikeledi Selowa for roads and transport. Mare-Lise Fourie returns as MMC for finance. -Sowetan