South Africa

Mr Mayor, where are you?

Is the Johannesburg mayor Geoff Makhubo playing the violin while his city collapses around him?

On 4 May this year, Joburg mayor Geoff Makhubo promised in his city address to improve residents’ access to housing, electricity and water, as well as the city’s financial position. He also said roads and other infrastructure would be fixed.

However, various parts of Johannesburg are still battling power and water outages. Our roads are in a bad state. The city suspended its emergency ambulance service on Friday due to vehicle insurance and medical supply problems. The Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital has now been closed for two months after a fire and although it is structurally sound, the city has to give permission for it to open again.

But the mayor is nowhere to be seen. O, yes, according to his official Facebook page, he went for a walk in the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve on Sunday and on Sunday night joined a multidisciplinary operation in Zandspruit, Cosmo and surrounding areas.

In the past week he attended the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAIDS) Virtual Aids Meeting and visited former president Nelson Mandela’s home in Houghton which is being renovated to become a world-class boutique hotel.

He visited the High Court in Johannesburg precinct and participated in a wreath laying ceremony for ANC stalwarts, June and Andrew Mlangeni and launched the Interfaith (Religious) Desk and its committee, to advance moral regeneration and social cohesion in the city.

The mayor is a busy man it seems. But where is he when toilets cannot be flushed at the Helen Joseph Hospital? Where is he when the power trips after load shedding? What will he do when the city’s hospitals collapse under the load of new Covid-19 cases if the sick people are able to get to the hospital without an ambulance service?

Is he playing the violin while his city falls to pieces?

Mr Makhubo we need you to pull rank now. We need you to be at the frontline. We need you to tell us that you will not sleep until Charlotte Maxeke Hospital is open and all our hospitals have running water again.

We need you to say that the municipal manager will report to you daily about progress with our most pressing problems. And we need you to hold him accountable so that you can be accountable to us, the people of your city.

The buck stops at your desk Mr Makhubo and you need to make it happen.

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