JOZI, ARE YOU READY?
YOU South Africa|9 December 2021
Joburg’s mayor Dr Mpho Phalatse talks about her new job, her family and her plans to fix the City of Gold
SIPHOKAZI ZAMA
IT’S a wet and miserable afternoon and the newly appointed mayor of Johannesburg is at Randpark Golf Course, handing out prizes for the Joburg Open. The golf tournament is one of her first public events in office and Dr Mpho Phalatse, dressed in an allblack outfit with a pop of lip gloss, is taking it in her stride.

People line up to congratulate her, ask for selfies or just to say hello, and she graciously responds to each one.

She admits she’s still getting used to the attention, though. “I miss being able to just throw on my gym clothes and wear no makeup to go buy a loaf of bread,” Phalatse says.

“But this is something I’ve been working towards for the past 11 years, so I’m not complaining.”

Phalatse was handed the keys to SA’s largest metro when as the DA’s candidate she recently beat the ANC’s Mpho Moerane by 144 votes to 121 and became the first woman to be appointed mayor of the city.

Now the 44-year-old, who spent six years studying service-delivery models, plans to get stuck in to making Joburg a better place for all. The sprawling metro has been beset by problems – potholed roads, erratic water supply, poor service delivery to the underprivileged, inadequate infrastructure and electricity problems that can’t only be blamed on Eskom.

Coalition talks following the chaotic local government elections are still underway when YOU meets the new mayor, and members of her mayoral committee still need to be appointed.

Once she has her chiefs in place, the real work will begin, she says.

“There’s a lot to be done in the City of Johannesburg,” Phalatse says. “I want to make people proud to be residents again.”

SHE knows she’s got a big task ahead of her, but confidence and smarts have never been things she lacked.

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