In his first State of the City Address yesterday, City of Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba made a number of promises, including the addition of startup hubs, more WiFi hotspots and longer operating hours at public libraries.

Mashaba delivered his speech at the newly opened R360 million Joburg Council Chambers in Braamfontein.

Speaking on strengthening Joburg’s economy, Mashaba said the city will have two economic hubs being located in each of Johannesburg’s seven regions, where young prospective entrepreneurs can receive support.

“Since the beginning of the 2016/2017 financial year, 7 374 Small, Medium and Micro-Sized Enterprises (SMMEs) were assisted by hubs over nine months, amounting to an average of 819 SMMEs per month. This is more than 50% above the 533 SMMEs supported per month, achieved in the previous financial year,” he said.”There are now a total of seven hubs throughout the city and our plan is to double this to 14 Hubs by the end of the 2017/18 financial year,” the mayor said.

Mashaba explained that ultimately, each hub will assist more than 2 000 SMMEs per month by the end of his mayoral term, representing a four-fold increase in the size of the SMME support programme.

While he didn’t delve much into the city’s plans for free WiFi, Mashaba said his administration will also aggressively expand the rollout of the network across the city.

Longer library hours

Mashaba announced that operating hours at municipal clinics will be extended into the late hours of the evening to cater for more patients. This extension model will also be replicated in public libraries.

“In the new financial year, we will be rolling out extended operating hours at 10 regional libraries across the city. They will provide a safe, conducive environment for communities to access these facilities, and for learners to study in the right kind of environment,” he said.

The criteria used to select these libraries has focused on communities where children study without the support of electricity.

These libraries will operate in the following areas from 9am to 8pm, Monday to Friday, and from 9am to 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays:

  • Diepsloot and Ivory Park North
  • Randburg
  • Florida
  • Protea North
  • Sandton
  • Yeoville
  • Orange Farm
  • Ennerdale

“I celebrate this achievement, and look to this as another key intervention that can be expanded upon in future financial years,” Mashaba said.

[Image – CC  Woomiusee]