Cilliers Brink not only promised to help build a capital that works for all its residents, but also extended a hand of friendship to opposition parties after he was elected mayor of the Tshwane metro on Tuesday evening after a week-long struggle.
“I extend a hand of cooperation to all political parties in the council, but especially the opposition members who did not vote for me. I have sat in the opposition benches and I know the difference between a mayor who listens to the opposition and one who simply ignores them or views politics as a form of warfare,” said Brink.
The new mayor says the city’s residents look to the council to settle their differences in an orderly manner, and in a way that avoids violence and hatred and does not undermine the functioning of the government.
“It doesn’t matter to what low level debate descends in this council, it can never be acceptable for us to threaten each other with violence.”
Tshwane has had a turbulent few weeks behind it after Randall Williams resigned as mayor last month and the council was plunged into chaos. Dr. Murunwa Makwarela, then still a Cope councillor, was subsequently elected mayor.
His term was short-lived after it came to light that Makwarela was an unrehabilitated insolvent. It also later emerged that the court order proving that he had been rehabilitated was apparently forged.
Two more attempts to elect a mayor followed – both unsuccessful – until Brink yesterday defeated Cope’s Ofentse Moalusi with 109 votes to 102.
“We should rather be for our city and our country, than we don’t like each other. This is what the Constitution expects of us; this is what the people of Tshwane expect from us.”
He says a city that works and one where no one is left behind are not two separate places.
“We know in our hearts that this city is just a good place for any of us can be to live in, if it is a good place for everyone of us is to live in.”
Brink says the biggest priorities now are to establish a clean, efficient and corruption-free government; one where services are provided continuously and where ordinary people get value for money for the charges and rates they have to pay.
However, he cautions that the metro must avoid the pitfalls in which so many other local municipalities have already stepped, at all costs: Spending must be contained and only what can realistically be collected can be spent.
Brink says this principle is just as important as responding to the findings of the auditor general and the development of financial control in the metro.
“We must also reduce the city’s dependence on Eskom and find alternative ways to meet our power needs.”
Dirk Hermann, managing director of Solidarity, agrees that the delivery of power must be a priority for the city.
“Start with strength. Enable the private generators and households to deliver to the grid at fair rates. Your residents will be your power plant if you make it possible for them,” says Hermann.
“Economy and people will flow to where there is stable power. Make it your single biggest focus.”
On social media platforms, many Pretorians wished Brink luck in his new role – and already brought several service delivery problems to his attention.
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