IT beggars belief that The Herald sees fit to deem the DA "hooligan of the day" for September 11. Given the wealth of journalistic expertise and acumen, coupled with the undoubted and verified evidence of mismanagement of this metro by the ruling party, especially in recent weeks, one would imagine a fine-tuned and balanced mood would prevail in the halls of media. But no.
Perhaps it would assist to set out, in broad outline, what has occurred since the buildup to and the violent hostage-taking of this city's full sitting of council on July 24 by the Uitenhage and Despatch workers. We know from The Herald that the increases demanded were agreed to, under duress.
Subsequent to that, promises were made by mayor Ben Fihla and his task team to give four notch salary increases to both the library staffers and those at the traffic department. This, despite knowing full well that this was interference in the administration and there was no budget approved for the expenditure.
Furthermore, the task grading system that will address the grades of all employees has still not been implemented and we are the only metro not to have done so. When the irregular salary increases were not forthcoming, invasion of meetings became an almost twice-weekly occurrence, with the most recent being disruption of a salary scale workshop and a council meeting, where the police and private security were present.
The protesters were dispersed by police using teargas late in the afternoon. A Salga meeting, too, was invaded by demonstrators.
The DA is in full support of grading all workers and not just a few select ones, as long as it is done legally and in a sustainable manner using the Task system that has already been developed and paid for. The DA has offered its learned opinion to ensure the municipality acts within the law.
Illegal and false promises, which are now seemingly being amended in an ad hoc fashion, have merely added fuel to an already blazing fire. Fihla is now back-pedalling on his earlier promises and restricting the increases to certain staff only.
Having examined all the evidence which has been aired in all the leading newspapers these past weeks, it is assumed that the residents know full well who the hooligan of the day is.
Leon de Villiers, leader of the official opposition and DA caucus leader, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality