As the ANC in Tshwane prepares for life in the opposition benches, the regional leadership says it will demand that 90% of the budget be dedicated to improving the lives of the poor.
"We want to restore the dignity of our people by ensuring that qualitative services get to be extended to our people, in particular, those who are located in the townships," chairperson Kgosientso Ramokgopa told reporters.
"We are going to insist that programme continues. Remember that in the five years we have been in office, we have directed over 90% of the capital budget to those areas of need. Part of the minimum programme is, that no less than 90% of capex programme continues to be invested in those areas so that we are able to improve the quality of life of our people in those areas."
The briefing comes a day before a new mayor is elected with no single party managing to obtain a 50% majority. The opposition parties have agreed in principle to work together and form a coalition government which would see the DA leading the municipality.
Ramokgopa indicated that despite them not being in charge, they would continue to fight to improve the lives of the poor from the opposition benches. He said the party had a minimum demand programme which it would be working with.
"We want to say to those who have voted for us and those who chose not to go and vote for one reason or the other that are supporters of the ANC, that the programme will constitute what we call a minimum demand for our people. The demand to create quality decent jobs for our people continues unabated," said Ramokgopa.
He added that they had initiated projects such as Tshepo 10 000 which they would ensure continued.
"We will from the ranks of the opposition ensure that we vigorously pursue that agenda and that will constitute our minimum programme. It is something that we will pursue in an unflinching manner.
Formalising informal settlements
"The provision of decent housing, working together with the provincial government, the innovations that we have introduced with regards to a lighthouse which is a new innovation with qualities that are far more advanced than building traditional low-cost housing that this gets to be rolled out. We did the first phase in Nelmapius, we insist that as part of our minimum programme that it gets to be extended to all parts of the city, especially to the poorer areas," he said.
Ramokgopa said another aspect of their programme would be to ensure the formalisation of informal settlements by insisting on the provisions of basic services such as waterborne sanitation, electricity and surfacing of roads.
"We had started already formalising 70 of these informal settlements and this must be accelerated going forward to improve the quality of lives of our people. As we occupy the opposition benches, we will insist on nothing less than this programme. We need to ensure a peaceful coexistence of the rich and the poor.
"We had already started our programme of relocating the informal settlement of Atteridgeville to Far West, relocating the people of Phomolong closer to Nelmapius and other areas of the traditional east. That must continue. The rich and the poor must continue to coexist to ensure we are able to deliver decent services," said Ramokgopa.
He added that they would also not compromise when it comes to ensuring that the bus rapid transport system, A Re Yeng, reaches all areas of the city. He said despite the challenges they faced from the opposition when they were in government they would continue pushing to achieve that goal.
"One of the major objections we had was the opposition in the form of the DA refusing that certain routes should be used. Our view is that we design public spaces not for private car use but for public transport.
"The model of A Re Yeng which is different is that ownership must reside with the taxi industry, so that constitutes another aspect of our minimum demand. We will insist that the taxi industry continues to be front and centre of the A Re Yeng initiative because it's meant to empower them," Ramokgopa said.