THE fact that Bhisho is to take over the running of the metro ("Bhisho to take over the metro, February 13) is disturbing in the extreme, although not totally unexpected.
The root cause of the metro's current dire situation can be traced back to the politically engineered suspension of the then municipal manager, Graham Richards. He was, at the time, rated the best municipal manager in the country.
The further root cause is the political hierarchy of the ruling party, the "chain of command" set up in which no lower level of structure is allowed to function without "strings" and interference from the level above. This structure coupled to the continuous infighting for positions, power and money is fast rendering most municipalities dysfunctional.
In the metro, the ANC regional executive committee (REC) in effect runs the city through the deployees who are expected to execute instructions. In theory this is the model generally adopted to a large extent by a lot of businesses and operated successfully. In practice, in a politically dysfunctional structure influenced by personal ambitions, the scenario turns into a nightmare.
This has now inevitably led to the situation in which the metro's residents are turned into nothing more than pawns while the ruling party implodes.
The rot started with Richards investigating and becoming suspicious of a range of projects, contracts and agreements. This led to the Kabuso report.
It is by now common knowledge who were exposed and fingered in the report.
On instruction from the level above the mayoral executive, Richards was suspended and inconclusively investigated at a cost of R2.9-million to the ratepayers.
During July last year the REC agreed that Mamisa Chabula-Nxiweni be appointed acting municipal manager. The REC gave her written instructions to:
ýRe-appoint Roland Williams (who was suspended at the time), stop the investigations into his alleged irregularities and re-appoint him chairman of the adjudication committee, which controls and awards tenders;
ýStop the internal disciplinary enquiry into Sithembele Vatala and also re-appoint him to the adjudication committee;
ý"Dr Chabula to ensure that Kabuso report is not tabled at council. Make it disappear."
The REC also discussed the "re-deployment" of the mayor and the two proposed successors. Such are the manipulations behind the scenes.
In the event Bhisho appointed Themba Hani the acting municipal manager and the strategies of the REC were derailed. Currently we are again experiencing in council the attempted re-imposition of Chabula-Nxiweni as acting municipal manager.
The clear lesson to be learnt is that the ANC is not all that concerned about good governance, clean administration and the long-term wellbeing of the inhabitants of our metro. Self interest, power and positions are the drivers behind decisions.
The most important lesson is that the status quo must be changed. If we want to ensure a good future for our country, our youth and ourselves we need to change the governance.
The solution is to call at any opportunity on the responsible minister to dissolve this council.
Good, clean governance is non-negotiable. It is time for the citizens to take back the power.
Elections are around the corner. We must apply our minds and vote for change. We can determine our own future and change it from the disastrous present situation!
Chris Roberts, DA whip and councillor for Ward 7, Port Elizabeth