IT IS with mixed emotions that I accept the redeployment of comrade Zanoxolo Wayile from the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.
Mixed, because a part of me is pleased with the decision, and in the same breath, sorry to receive the news.
Regardless of our emotions, comrade Wayile is an exemplary cadre whose track record in the struggle and worker issues, especially in the Eastern Cape, speaks for itself. I was honoured to work with him in the second half of the 1990s while I was plying my trade in employee benefits, looking after millions of rands of metal workers' provident funds.
At the time, he was with Numsa and together with his colleagues, formed a powerful trade union movement in the Eastern Cape. The individuals who spring to mind include Silumko Nodwangu, Irvin Jim, the late Mbuyiselo Ngwenda, Phumzile Nodongwe, Kevin Mtyeku and others. They were formidable defenders of workers.
The trade union movement under them was the place where my political conscience and activism were solidified.
Even though I was their consultant, often called "Ngxowa" by the workers, I benefited greatly from their political knowledge and wisdom.
Having come from the prestigious St Andrew's College in Grahamstown, the turf I found myself in was very different and highlighted the plight of the working class in this country, even though I was quite the rascal during the days of Amabutho in the '80s in New Brighton, Boast Village!
Thanks to my father who built my political foundation, I could relate. I was honoured to serve in whatever small measure, guided by people like Wayile.
During the turbulent year of the recalling of former president Thabo Mbeki, Wayile was one of the comrades who convened a meeting to discuss my then association with COPE. He was not pleased to say the least. As a hot-headed young man that I am at the best of times, I did not relent and continued on this new path until the implosion in the party convinced me that I was on a road to nowhere! I quietly stepped aside and mended the fences I had broken.
The ANC conference in Mangaung last year, felt like a reunion of some sort, which allowed us to catch up on a range of issues.
Wayile's passion and vociferous nature towards worker issues led to his being elected chairman of Cosatu in the province. At worker general meetings, he would speak so powerfully that we were concerned his hoarse voice would lead to the bursting of his vocal cords!
The adrenalin rush coupled with his passion, was a raging tsunami.
I must confess though, I was quite surprised when he was made executive mayor – not that he was incapable, but that it was a very strange, but interesting choice.
Notwithstanding notable successes, which include Nelson Mandela Bay being chosen as a GIZ pilot site for community, urban and youth safety, the signing of a deal with SAB Miller for training artisans among others, he wooed many international corporations to do business in the region.
So focused was he in making Nelson Mandela Bay successful, he was on a path for new ventures.
In 2011, he approached me via Facebook to set up a business advisory committee consisting of a few successful Port Elizabeth executives and business people (outside PE) who could add value in an advisory capacity. He wanted the committee to include people like Lincoln Mali, Ciko Thomas, Simphiwe Nghona, Litha Nkombisa and many other young successful Port Elizabethans who had made a mark in the corporate and business world.
His vision was to get us to assist in whatever means necessary to utilise our broader network for the benefit of the people of Nelson Mandela Metro.
I wish Wayile well in his future endeavours. He had some brilliant concepts that did not come to fruition.
Although his deployment may not have been too much of a surprise taking into account the political turbulence in the Bay, he will be missed. Wherever he is deployed, and in whatever shape or form this takes, this is a man who still has a lot to offer this country.
Sipho Nghona, an ANC member and former BMF Young Professionals deputy chairman, writing in his personal capacity.