Mayor Mashaba's free water decision leads to questions of oppression of the poor

Mayor Mashaba's free water decision leads to questions of oppression of the poor

- Mayor Herman Mashaba is causing distress with his decisions regarding Johannesburg

- His decisions to revoke free water access to households upset many people

- People are fearing for the future of Johannesburg under mayor Mashaba's administration

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Mayor Herman Mashaba has been up to ill-smelling activities that hasn't been covered by the press, or so the rumours go. It is believed that his decisions are all backed and supported by the EFF.

The mayor's latest questionable decision was to strip the poor of their access to free water in 2017. Mashaba has also raised bottom household water tariff by 17%.

The free water allowance was set in place to help make sure that even the poorest people could have access to free water to meet their basic needs.

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Until the allowance was revoked, every household in the city of Johannesburg had free water to the amount of 6 kilolitres each per month.

There was a heated court case about the amount not being enough, but it stayed as such. But then the water allowance was ended and only a select number of poor people could still receive free water.

According to the mayor this decision was made to ensure that it was only the poor that would benefit from a free water allowance and not the middle class. But people wonder how he could ascertain for certain who was poor and who was middle class.

There was a form that households had to complete so that the municipality could assess whether the households qualified for free water or not.

Documents such as 3-months' bank statements and proof of residence would be needed to complete these forms. Many people feel that the truly poor would not have had an easy time completing these forms at all.

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It should also be noted that this registration system has only covered 150 000 to 350 000 households, which is about 3% to 10% of the population and couldn't sufficiently be seen as an accurate estimate of the entire city's state.

Whether this flawed approach was intentional or simply an oversight is not known.

Since the DA took over the city of Johannesburg, their administration has been referred to as 'a spectacle'. The administration has violated the law by disconnecting small businesses as well as disregarding settled legal systems on evictions in the inner city.

The DA has also managed to run a 50% smaller financial surplus than their predecessors as well as under spending on capital projects by around 20%.

Based on information given by Johannesburg committees, it is also achieving less than half of its service delivery goals.

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The DA and mayor Mashaba has claimed to uncover R12 billion's corruption by their predecessors.

However, people have been starting to ask what the city has been doing with all the money that has been recovered.

The Auditor General commented that most performance targets were not being met by the DA administration in Johannesburg and that there wasn't much documentation for the targets that was being met.

Of course, the R12 billion could have gone into upgrading that wasn't accounted for yet.

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Disturbingly, one of mayor Mashaba's cabinet members had to fired last year after she used city funds to pay for her mother's trip to Spain.

This year the city has decided to replace Ward-level consultation with regional summits, abandoning public participation in its budgeting and planning.

There are now 8 public consultations that cover an area of more than 600 000 people each, instead of the more than 40 public consultations that covered an area of around 100 000 people each that there used to be.

The way that the city is being administrated has left many with a bitter taste in the mouth. But it could all change if the EFF does not give the Johannesburg budget their vote.

Many feel that the only thing standing between the chaotic rule of the current administration and the future of the city is EFF leader Julius Malema.

If the EFF leader does not pass his vote on Mashaba's budget, things will have to change, very quickly.

The next budget vote will happen in May or June, and then those that oppose the current administration will know what will happen next in the city of Johannesburg.

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