I have noted the release of the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) Quality of Life (QoL) survey, which is released every two years, and seeks to examine the broad levels of satisfaction experienced by residents in Gauteng.
The survey also provides useful insights into perceptions held by residents at municipal – level using a sample size with a low margin of error.
The survey, conducted approximately 18 months after the coalition government stepped into office, mirrors many of the inherited challenges faced by the City and affirms the current administration’s new focus on targeted service delivery through the Diphetogo – programme.
The survey found that:
- Satisfaction levels with respect to water services, waste removal, energy, roads, emergency services, metro police services have increased since 2016;
- Overall satisfaction with local government in Johannesburg has increased by 4%, while overall dissatisfaction decreased by 2%;
- Access to services in RDP houses stands at 15%, up from 13% in the previous survey;
- Only 9% of residents do not have any streetlights in their area, compared to the Gauteng average of 18%;
- Compared to the Gauteng average of 27%, only 19% of Joburg residents do not have access to storm-water facilities in their area; and
- The number of respondents that said that they were very dissatisfied with local government decreased by 7%
With respect to the residents’ quality of life, the survey noted improvements in perceptions by residents namely in the categories of family, community, connectivity, security and socio-political attitudes.
One of the earliest challenges faced by the multi-party coalition government was the fact that, despite the residents of our City voting for change in the last local government election, the budget which we inherited was that of the previous administration; severely hampering efforts to bring about immediate and widespread changes to the City.
In addition, much like the rest of the country, Johannesburg is susceptible to the impact of our uncertain economic environment, which has been deeply felt by our residents.
Within the first quarter of 2018, the country entered a recession, the cost of living was increased for many of our residents through unaffordable VAT and fuel prices. I have no doubt that combination of these factors played a significant role in perceptions held by our residents.
In addition to this, levels of corruption which have been uncovered, amounting close to R24 billion coupled with the R170 billion infrastructure backlog means that that opportunities to meaningfully improve the lot of residents have been squandered over the years.
Instead of hiding these facts behind millions in self-promoting marketing, the City has sought to honestly engage with our residents on the state of the City and to work with communities to build a better Johannesburg.
Bearing the above in mind, the current administration is working hard to improve the City’s budgeting processes through the Diphetogo-programme, launched earlier this year, to directly prioritise expenditure service delivery backlogs and improve the experience of residents in our city.
We are under no illusions as to how much work remains ahead of us in terms of improving service delivery and bettering the lives of the residents. When I began my tenure as the Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, we set ourselves high targets, to achieve the level of change demanded in 2016.
The real test will come when the next survey is conducted, the results of which should be released in 2020. By that time, the current administration would have had the opportunity to improve its budgeting process, and the effects of the Diphetogo-programme, which flows from our new budget framework and plans for
service delivery under the new administration.