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We’re tired of being ‘resilient’ in Johannesburg

If you ever wanted a visual representation of the dysfunction of the city of Johannesburg, it was the technicians who diverted power to the Council Chamber on Thursday morning so Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda could present residents with a pink version of the reality in your state. of the city leadership.

Large areas of the city were left without power after vandals stole 600 kilograms of electrical cables from a tunnel under the M1 motorway.

So City Power technicians had to feed back the connections to supply power to the camera. But parts of the building were not electrified, so generators were brought in, along with portable toilets and tents, and journalists had difficulty even entering the site because the doors could not be opened.

You can’t make this stuff up. The irony is ridiculous. It’s also incredibly sad and frustrating. The mayor did not even acknowledge or mention the fire on the M1 or the theft of cables during his speech.

Gwamanda, a representative of the single-party Al Jama-ah party, is in power thanks to a coalition agreement with the ANC. During his tenure, the city experienced the Usindiso fire disaster and the Lilian Ngoyi Street explosion, among other infrastructure failures such as repeated and prolonged water and electricity outages.

However, despite this, Gwamanda appeared to present a distorted reality on Thursday morning. Of course, we are in an election month and the stakes are high for Gwamanda and his coalition partners and they are interested in highlighting the government’s successes.

Under the theme “Building a stable and resilient municipal government serving the people”, Gwamanda emphasized “resilience” as his key theme, praising the resilience of the city’s leaders and its residents.

Mr. Mayor, we have resilience fatigue in Johannesburg. But mostly we have resilience fatigue due to the dysfunction of the city administration.

“Beneath this tapestry of bustling streets and impressive high-rise buildings lies a profound reality: Johannesburg is not simply a city; “It represents resilience and exemplifies the human potential to overcome obstacles and thrive through adversity,” the mayor said.

I would say that, beneath the tapestry of bustling streets and high-rise buildings, the reality is the service tunnels that are the scene of blatant anarchy, where vandals lurk and steal the cables that are the lifeblood of our city, where illegal miners They seek refuge and empty our country and our economy. The “deep reality” is that beneath the streets and buildings the infrastructure is crumbling, leaving us with unstable foundations.

In his twisted reality, the mayor said Johannesburg’s commitment to improving the quality of life for all its residents is demonstrated by the provision of basic services. “Water is accessible to 98.3% of homes; electricity is available to 94.1%; sanitation is provided to 93%; and garbage collection is expanded to 90.5%; ensure that every part of the city has the basic services necessary for a dignified existence.”

What he didn’t mention was the inconsistency of these services. How regularly do 98.3% of residents have access to water, for example? Regardless of whether load shedding is suspended, there is still no constant supply of electricity in some areas.

To his credit, he recognized “the water challenges we have faced recently.”

“As a city, we are facing a rapid increase in water demand that threatens the sustainability of our water supply and tests the capacity of our systems. Our per capita water use far exceeds the standard in the world’s developed and prosperous cities. “There is an urgent need to monitor and manage demand to ensure we create reliability and sustainability in our supply environment.”

Gwamanda concluded his speech with a poetic and philosophical ode to resilience.

“Academics have defined resilience as ‘having the ability to persist in the face of change and continue to develop in constantly changing environments,’” he said and finally, “together let us build a stable and resilient municipal government serving the people!”

Resilience is not what we need right now. It is a mature political leadership that provides services to the people. Consistent and high quality services.

Instead, what parts of the CBD and surrounding areas will have this week will be no power to run their businesses and lives due to the city’s inability to deal with crime and lawlessness.