Mayor celebrates Joburg's economic growth despite budget constraints

South Africa Johannesburg SOCA- 02 May 2024. The state of the city address for the city of Johannesburg by Cllr Kabelo Gwamanda. Picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Newspapers.

South Africa Johannesburg SOCA- 02 May 2024. The state of the city address for the city of Johannesburg by Cllr Kabelo Gwamanda. Picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Newspapers.

Published May 2, 2024


Joburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda has expressed his pride of Joburg as the nation’s first class economic hub.

Under the theme “Building a stable and resilient city government in service of the people', he said: “Johannesburg is where aspirations come alive; our goal should be to make it an inclusive place, where every ambitious individual can thrive. It has undergone a remarkable transformation, becoming a beacon of strength and rejuvenation.”

South Africa Johannesburg SOCA 06 June 2023. With it being the last metro to deliver its State of the city address Counsellor Kabelo Gwamanda today inspected the Joburg metro parades ahead of the address held at the city chambers and streamed on social media. Speaker of council Colleen Makhubelele leads him to the chambers to deliver his speach. Picture: Timothy Bernard / African News Agency (ANA)

Covered in a black-and-white shawl over his shoulders, Gwamanda delivered his second annual State of the City Address (SOCA) on Thursday at the Council Chambers in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

The address was attended by various prominent guests, including from the royal house, Prince Mandulo Zulu KaZwelithini and the clergy.

Although the mayor boasted the metro as an economic hub, he lamented that there are budget constraints, however, this has not impeded the city from rendering basic service delivery to its inhabitants. “Our dedication to deliver quality services remains unwavering,” he said.

Furthermore, the mayor explained that Joburg is faced with housing scarcity, unemployment is rife and limited access to water and sanitation.

Despite this, Gwamanda noted that the Johannesburg Social Housing Company (JOSHCO) has approved the construction of 10 000 units to be rented out in the next financial year. Not only will this dissolve the housing backlog of 300 000, but create an open market for collaboration between the government and the private sector.

“The entity is also making strides to become a player in the student accommodation and the affordable rental spaces,” said Gwamanda.

The mayor, pledging his support for Palestine, explained that the city has, thus far, dedicated its work to curb the plight of youth unemployment; stating that the City of Joburg launched the Youth Directorate.

Through the Youth Directorate, the metro has awarded 350 bursaries with a cash injection of R14 million for the 2023/24 academic year. Also, the city convened the appointment of 594 internships for young people to get work experience.

Furthermore, Gwamanda indicated that the city has enabled quality access to water and sanitation, and electricity to residents.

Here, water and sanitation are accessible to 93% of households, while electricity is available to 94.1% of residents. Additionally, 97% of informal settlements have access to all basic services.

As Joburg is facing water challenges, the mayor emphasised there is water scarcity and, by far, water demand is threatening water infrastructure.

Moreover, Johannesburg Water has a publicised backlog of R27 billion in water infrastructure. “Our water use per capita far exceeds that which is the standard in developed and thriving cities of our world,” said Gwamanda.

Hence, the city approved the Water Security Strategy, which was endorsed on October 31 by the Mayoral Committee. “The Water Security Strategy is geared towards addressing threats to the city’s urban water cycle, while also capitalising on opportunities to transform Joburg into a sustainable, resilient and adaptive city.

“With seven strategic responses and 67 action plans developed for both short and long-term implementation, the strategy aims to ensure sustainable water management and future water security,” said Gwamanda.