JHB mayor: We are moving towards becoming a ‘smart city’

The first initiative will be free Wi-Fi across Braamfontein.

FILE: Mayor of Joburg Parks Tau speaks to EWN during an interview. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau on Wednesday said public transport, roads and houses would be upgraded; and also placed emphasis on digitizing the city to improve economic opportunities.

Tau delivered his State of the City Address in Braamfontein focusing on youth employment and providing free Wi-Fi to parts of the city.

Johannesburg received an unqualified audit for 2013-14 and Tau committed his government to reinvesting in the infrastructure to improve standards and reduce maintenance backlogs.

The mayor focused on creating a "smart city", saying one of the first initiatives would be providing free Wi-Fi across Braamfontein.

He said this would create a wealth of opportunities especially for education.

A new initiative would also help about 200,000 youths with training and job placement.

Tau said smart meters, which would be rolled out to residential households, had already shown how Johannesburg could avoid load shedding and rather keep the lights on through load limiting.

TAU PROMISES MIGRANTS ACCOMMODATION

The mayor also made a commitment to migrants, saying they would always be accommodated in city.

He spoke about the recent xenophobic attacks which claimed the lives of seven people.

Last month, attacks on foreign nationals began in KwaZulu-Natal then spread to other parts of the country including Gauteng.

Tau said thousands of people arrived every month from outside the country seeking their fortune in Johannesburg and this had been the case for as long as the city existed.

He said he was appalled by the recent attacks on foreigners.

"We stand by you our brothers and sisters and our home is your home."