Turnaround strategy for Bay gathers momentum

THE tide is turning in the Bay.

That’s the word from Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber president Mandla Madwara.

Addressing its annual meeting last night, Madwara said April 15 was a turning point for the metro.

He was referring to the day that 150 representatives from the business community met President Jacob Zuma, along with nine ministers and deputy ministers, to discuss the state of the city’s economy. Since then, Madwara said, various director-generals had engaged with the city on critical matters.

“Civil society’s chief appeal was for special attention to be paid to Nelson Mandela Bay as the economic hub of the Eastern Cape, and for the institution of a two-year turnaround plan for the city to ensure its future competitiveness and sustainability,” he said.

A proposal – the Nelson Mandela Bay Easter Accord – was presented to Zuma to return to the Bay a week before Easter next year to gauge the success of the strategy.

“The turnaround strategy for the city rests on two main pillars, firstly to lower the cost of doing business in the city and secondly to increase the local GDP to equal our metro peers in the rest of the country through local economic growth,” Madwara said.

Nelson Mandela Bay municipal manager Mpilo Mbambisa also addressed the meeting and introduce the new executive directors to the business community.

Madwara thanked Mbambisa for attending and “showing bravery in coming to the AGM to face the people who are actually making the city tick”.

Madwara was part of a delegation that visited the president a few weeks before the turnaround meeting in the Bay in April. For reasons of continuity, a decision to extend the term of Madwara’s leadership for another year was presented to members. The outcome of a vote on this will be announced after the first board meeting of the chamber early next month.

Board members elected last night were Alfred da Costa, Bert Marais, Carol Hall, David Powels, Dieter Horni, Gary Keen, Kerry Bryans, Philip Nieman and Steven Dondolo. – Cindy Preller


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