NELSON Mandela Bay Municipality has been without ward committees for nearly four years. This has had a negative impact on service delivery efforts and has undermined our democracy.
Ward committees are legislatively imposed on local government, and are designed to expand democracy and promote service delivery. It is an indictment on the political leadership of Nelson Mandela Bay that we have continuously failed successfully to reinstate ward committees in our metro.
Through the intervention of MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane last year, former mayor Zanoxolo Wayile stopped the flawed ward committee processes and announced in council that the process would be started afresh. At a council meeting on December 6 last year the matter was tabled and resolutions were adopted which included the establishment of a multi-party committee tasked to draft a new ward committee policy.
The committee was convened and duly drafted a new ward committee policy which was tabled before council on May 9. At this meeting a disgruntled faction of the ANC, led by chief whip of council Joy Seale, attempted to rescind most of the resolutions taken by council in December last year and revert back to the flawed ward committee process.
The DA, together with the minority parties and 16 law-abiding ANC councillors, voted against the motion from the chief whip of council to rescind the council resolutions and successfully defeated the motion. An item currently before council reveals another attempt by the ANC in Nelson Mandela Bay to manipulate the election of ward committees to serve its own political interests and not the broader interests of the communities it serves.
On Wednesday I wrote to Qoboshiyane requesting his urgent intervention and assistance to ensure that council abide by the resolutions taken on December 6 last year, and that the newly drafted policy on the creation of ward committees be adopted and implemented without further delay. Should the ANC pursue its intention to implement the flawed ward committee processes, the DA will not hesitate to obtain appropriate relief from the courts.
This attempt by the ANC to influence the ward committee processes is evidence that it has lost control of Nelson Mandela Bay and will stop at nothing to hold onto power. The DA is the only hope for a better future in Nelson Mandela Bay.
It is time to vote for DA delivery to save our metro.
Retief Odendaal, DA councillor, Ward 6