Progress report with uMngeni’s Mayor Pappas – symbol of hope for what SA can become

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For many South Africans uMngeni’s hard-working Mayor Christopher Pappas (31) personifies what the country could become.

Young, smart, multi-lingual and hard working, Pappas and his Democratic Alliance team have achieved a great deal since taking power a year ago – serving as a template for the DA’s alternative to the increasingly destructive example of governance by the ANC. In this interview with Alec Hogg of BizNews, Pappas provides an update on the municipality which was the feature of party leader John Steenhuisen’s latest weekly newsletter.

Find timestamps of the interview below:

  • Chris Pappas on the loadshedding crisis – 00:01:08
  • On potentially working with hydroelectric power – 00:04:36
  • On providing for the municipality and its people – 00:07:37
  • On efficient budgeting and effective finances – 00:10:15
  • On running his municipality like a business – 00:13:05

Excerpts from the interview below

Chris Pappas on the loadshedding crisis

On loadshedding – our schedule is actually very detrimental to our local businesses. Sometimes we have stage five and six, we have 8 hours a day and that’s usually in the morning and late afternoon. So businesses have 2 to 3 working hours during the day, which is hugely detrimental to our local businesses. We haven’t been able to make significant changes or inputs to try and resolve loadshedding. You’re talking hundreds of millions of rands that you have to put forward for whether it’s going to deal with IPPs or whatever it might be. But what we have done is try to reduce our own consumption as a municipality. So small things. We’ve recently started to replace all our streetlights with LED lights to reduce the load. In places like the CBD area, we are installing solar lights so that even when the lights do go out, people can see and it’s safe. Public transportation, especially in Winter, can continue and people can feel safe. We have submitted an order, probably a bit late now for them to get done before the end of the year. But definitely before the end of January, we’ll be installing five CPUs and will start rolling them out across the municipality for robots so that the robots work when there’s loadhsedding and there’s no chaos on the road. That puts other added pressures onto the municipality. So where we can we’re trying to do things. But energy is a big topic because there’s a lot of money around it. So for a small municipality with a lot of other problems, those are future things that we’ve got to look at. There’s great work being done by other municipalities who have maybe been more stable for a while and financially in a good place. And we hope to piggyback on that. So the policy making, the laws and the trial and error that they have to go through at a later stage and then we will be able to learn from that and it will be a lot faster. 

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