You are Gauteng premier, not premier of Johannesburg – Kunene warns Lesufi, whom he accuses of breaching intergovernmental relations

By: ANG Reporter

City of Johannesburg member of the mayoral committee (MMC) for Roads and Transport councillor Kenny Kunene has launched a scathing attact on Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi whom he accused of undermining his office and breaching intergovernmental relations.

Lesufi earned Kunene’s wrath after he allegedly directly contacted acting chief executive of Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA), an entity that falls under Kunene’s transport department, enquiring about potholes in the city.

“I have been closely observing the Premier’s statements regarding the employment of individuals to address the issue of potholes in the City of Johannesburg. I am also concerned about the breach in protocol in terms of inter-governmental relations from the Office of the Premier. I am thus hugely
perturbed that the said office directly contacted the Acting CEO of the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA), Mr. Zweli Nyathi, to address the potholes in the city, without first communicating with the office of the Executive Mayor or my office,” said Kunene.

He added: “It is important to emphasise that there are established processes and protocols that need to be followed. These are the same processes that the MEC of Transport, Ms. Kedibone Diale-Tlabela, utilizes, which is why the JRA has maintained good working relations with the Department of Transport in the province.”

Kunene reminded Lesufi that “the JRA is the only agency authorised to grant way-leaves for access to our road infrastructure”.

“Unfortunately, if anyone attempts to work on our roads without permission, we will have to enforce the bylaws as the City through the JMPD.”

“While we appreciate any assistance in mitigating and fixing our roads, we do not wish to be part of the Premier’s popularity stunt of mass employing individuals without the necessary skills and expertise to work on our infrastructure.”

“We have witnessed the disaster that happened with the cleaners and wardens, and we do not want a repetition of that at the JRA.” Kunene said Lesufi was aware that as the MMC of Transport, he (Kunene) had written to President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister of Public Works Sihle Zikalala as well as Gauteng Transport MEC, Diale-Tlabela, “requesting a grant to address not only the issue of potholes but also to enable the JRA to rehabilitate the City’s roads, bridges and gravel road surfacing”.

“However, instead of the Premier assisting the JRA to access these funds to carry out its mandate, the Premier wants to be a jack of all trades without any skills or expertise on road infrastructure works.”

“Potholes are merely a symptom of a road infrastructure that has reached the end of its lifespan. I would advise the Premier to revisit the business case that I had previously sent to the department, which outlines the infrastructure defects of the City.”

Kunene reiterated that the JRA reports to the City and that any matters involving the JRA, Lesufi had to go through the offices of the Executive Mayor and that of the MMC of Roads and Transport.

“I want to remind the Premier that he is the Premier of Gauteng and not the Premier of Johannesburg. Therefore, the Premier should have focused first on patching the potholes on provincial roads that are continuously reported to the JRA.”

Kunene said during his tenure, “the team at the JRA and I have demonstrated that there is capacity and a will to respond to the challenges that we face on our roads, bridges and stormwater”.

“All we need is a grant from National government to do more,” Kunene said.

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