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The City of Johannesburg is to spend more than R110 billion on the provision of infrastructure over the next 10 years, Johannesburg Executive Mayor Clr Mpho Parks Tau said in his State of the City Address.

SPEAKING at the Wits University's School of Education, Tau said that in the 2013/2014 financial year alone, the City would spend R7.3 billion on infrastructure, a 37% increase compared with the current year's infrastructure spend of R4.6 billion. Expenditure on the maintenance of the current infrastructure would be increased from 2.5% to more than 7% of the city's annual budget, he said.

The massive infrastructure spending will result in Johannesburg competing favourably with other major cities on the African continent, where seven of the world's fastest growing economies are found. Of the R7.3 billion that would be spent on infrastructure in the 2013/2014 financial year, which starts on July 1, R450 million would be channelled into the inner city to address issues such as crime and grime, poor urbanisation, overcrowding and safety.

As part of the 10-year R110 billion infrastructure expenditure programme, the city is to introduce a high-density residential development – described as the new "Corridors of Freedom" – that would not only change Johannesburg's urban landscape, complete with new transport arteries, but would also represent "a decisive move away from private vehicle use towards public transport, bicycle routes and pedestrian walkways".

The Executive Mayor said the new spatial master plan would "transform apartheid settlement patterns and build and vibrant middle-class environment, where everyone can feel safe".

In another major announcement, Executive Mayor Tau said that Phase 1B of Rea Vaya bus transit (BRT) system – which runs from Soweto and passes through Noordgesig, New Canada, Pennyville, Bosmont, Coronationville, Newclare, Westbury, Westdene, Melville, Auckland Park and Parktown, linking up with the Central Business District – was expected to become operational in October.

The extension of this BRT route has the potential to transport up to 40 000 passengers daily.

The trunk route will also be complemented by feeders to places such as Yeoville, Cresta, Florida and Parktown, including Charlotte Maxeke Hospital.

Executive Mayor Tau said the third phase of the BRT system – which will link areas such as Alexandra and Ivory Park with Sandton and Rosebank – would be rolled out in 2016.

"The city will be developing concrete plans in the next year to prioritise the development of affordable and inclusive housing options along Rea Vaya's Phase 1B and Phase 1C routes such as at New Canada, Auckland Park and Marlboro and along roads such as Empire and Louis Botha," Tau said.

He said the city's fight against corruption was beginning to pay off. Since the launch of the anonymous anti-corruption tip-off hotline, the city has seen a dramatic increase in the number of tipoffs received from residents, leading to arrests, conviction and suspension of employees.

The city has received 457 complaints since the inception of the service and 23 criminal cases have been opened with the South African Police Service. To date, 16 city employees have been suspended while disciplinary action is being instituted against them, four have resigned, 10 have been arrested and 38 are under investigation.

Source: Joburg.org.za

Read Executive Mayor Clr Mpho Parks Tau full speech here