Johannesburg Executive Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda, accused of being delinquent after only a month on the job, will provide updates on the city’s plans to stabilise the electricity supply, provide clean water, and improve its finances during his maiden State of the City Address on Tuesday, 6 June. However, many do not expect the address to proceed smoothly. ActionSA has threatened to table a motion of no confidence against him, and community protests are likely to occur, as per the Daily Maverick.
Amid the controversy surrounding Gwamanda, a member of the Al Jama-ah party holding three seats in the 270-seat Joburg council, allegations of his involvement in a funeral scheme called iThemba Lama Africa have surfaced. While Gwamanda defended himself against these claims, ActionSA has criticised his lack of thorough response and warned that it would sponsor a motion of no confidence if he fails to address the allegations adequately.
The challenges facing Gwamanda continue to mount, with concerns raised about his absenteeism from important integrated development plan sessions. Council Speaker Colleen Makhubele initially expressed disappointment with his and other councillors’ absence. However, she has since changed her stance, praising Gwamanda’s leadership and acknowledging his progress in understanding the city’s issues and coordinating various departments.
Despite these shifting opinions, questions regarding Gwamanda’s performance persist. ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula has voiced concerns about his inaction and emphasised the importance of public representatives being visible and fulfilling their duties.
In his State of the City Address, Gwamanda is expected to address pressing issues such as stabilising the electricity supply amid rolling blackouts, improving water provision, addressing housing needs, repairing infrastructure, and enhancing the city’s financial situation. In addition, the address will assess the work done thus far and outline the city’s plans.
While she cannot rule out protests during the State of the City Address, Makhubele assures residents and guests that the city has made adequate provisions for security and protection. Following the address, debates will occur in the council chambers on Wednesday, with the 2023/24 financial year budget expected to be tabled on 13 June. The fate of Mayor Gwamanda hangs in the balance as the city awaits his response to the allegations and evaluates his ability to lead Johannesburg effectively.
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