The outgoing Mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, has served his notice period and is on his way out of what has been a challenging job.
A brief look at how Mashaba became Joburg’s favourite mayor
Before things turned sour between Mashaba and the DA, he was instrumental in driving their political ideology in a city regarded as the ANC’s stronghold.
In 2016, Mashaba secured the mayoral seat after the DA won 38% of the votes in Johannesburg in the local government elections.
This was the first time we would see the DA enter into coalition politics with the EFF. While it was a high risk for the official oppsition party, Mashaba, whose background is business and not politics, approached the partnership as a means of working together for the betterment of the people.
His three-year tenure would be tantamount to a rollercoaster ride. His clear despise of the DA’s apparent anti-poor policies were voiced in a recent interview with Eyewitness News.
“From day one, the DA and I were on a confrontational route. This didn’t just happen with the election of Helen Zille. I warned them about it because I knew what they were planning to do.
“But some people in the DA were not supportive of my pro-poor stance from day one,” he reflected.
This pro-poor approache he spoke of is the reason why he has been been revered as the City of Gold’s favourite Mayor. If you had to ask him, though, Mashaba would point you to the numbers. So, we took a look back at the outgoing mayor’s tenure at the mayoral helm and these are the five things he improved since taking over from the ANC.
Here are the five things Mashaba improved in his tenure
Insourcing of security officers and cleaners
Detractors have always challenged the fact that Mashaba was key in enacting the insourcing of as many as 3 000 security officers and cleaners at the City metro.
However, what is not considered is that the DA was never in support of this notion. It was the EFF who were allowed an opportunity to collaborate with a leader of the opposition in seeing this through.
Because of his pro-poor stance and his keenness to work with the same people he is ideologically opposed to, thousands of poor families have been positively affected by a monthly stipend from the City.
Low-cost inner city housing
Something he wears proudly on his sleeve is his fight to convert hijacked and delapitated inner city buildings into low-cost housing units.
His flagship housing development programme offered neglected public buildings to investors at reasonable prices. These were converted into low-cost units and allowed families from the outskirts of the province to enjoy the benefits of living in the central economic hub.
Johannesburg’s investment profile
Using his business acumen in politics, Mashaba claims that he was able to attract R32-billion of investment capital into Johannesburg, over a span of two years.
“I think that’s quite great, creating just over 12 000 jobs, over 6 000 housing units for poor residents, our students and small business community. But look at it from a broader point of view. We have managed to move our investment in infrastructure from 58% (in the previous government) to 71%,” he said.
Impact in the city’s law enforcement
In the eyes of the City’s law enforcement, Mashaba is a hero. JMPD head applauded the outgoing mayor for increasing the workforce and introducing the Buya Mthetho initiative and instituting a danger allowance.
In his tenure, Mashaba was able to:
add 2 700 officers to the ranks of the JMPD;form a specialised K9 Unit to deal with narcotics and other serious crimes; andincrease average monthly DUI arrests to over 1 000.
No more tender fraud
Another of his flagship initiatives was the introduction of the anti-corruption unit that was formed to root out high levels of shoddy dealings that took place within the metro.
Mashaba recruited former Gauteng Hawks head, Shadrack Sibiya to lead the unit, resulting in over 5 000 cases that were investigated which uncovered over R44-billion in dodgy transactions.
Asked about his future, the mayor noted that he was still undecided. The most important thing, right now, was his vacation trip to Thailand, where he would use that time of rest to clear his mind and finish the roll out of his autobiography, Accidental Mayor which is slated for a release in early 2020.