Mayor responds to complaints at community talks in gang-hit area
Helenvale mothers should take off their pyjamas, get dressed and fight the rise in crime and gangsterism themselves in Port Elizabeth’s northern areas.
This was said by Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip during a public meeting at the Helenvale Resource Centre about the city’s Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and budget. About 200 residents attended.
“Gangsters target our children, but they never mess with mothers or grandmothers.
“It is time for these woman to get up in the morning, dress yourselves and walk your children to school,” he said.
The meetings are a platform for the new administration to outline its plans and will run until the end of the month.
Crime and unemployment were the biggest concerns raised in Helenvale, with Trollip saying it would take the whole community to take back the streets.
“Around here, I see women in their pyjamas at all hours of the day,” he said.
“It is time to take off our pyjamas and take action against crime.”
He applauded representatives from the Helenvale House of Rastafarians (HHR), which offered solutions to unemployment.
HHR representative Dennis Bruintjies started his own farming project and suggested agricultural development to alleviate poverty and teach the community practical skills.
“It can start small, and over time we can expand and develop our skills as farmers. “This way we can feed ourselves and sell our fresh produce to earn an honest income,” Bruintjies said.
Ricardo Swanepoel, also from the HHR, suggested training workshops for artisans, so that the area could produce its own plumbers, builders and painters.
Trollip thanked them for their constructive input and told the rest of the community to follow their example.
“We need more people to come to these meetings with solutions like the House of Rastafarians,” he said.
“The people from the area know best how to tackle their problems, and need to come forward with solutions rather than more problems. Let them serve as an example to all of us.”
Meanwhile, crime, a lack of libraries and sports facilities took centre stage at a meeting at the Lilian Ngoyi Sports Centre in Kwazakhele on Tuesday.
“The ward councillors are here to serve you.Each of them gets R200 000 for community programmes meant for you.”
“The only role the chief whip or speaker plays is investigating the legitimacy of the claim and signing it off,” Trollip said.
He also addressed corruption.
“If a ward councillor wants to lose their job, I dare them to sell an RDP house,” Trollip said.
About 450 residents were present at the centre.
Kwazakhele resident Dumi Tyali highlighted the need for libraries.
“School children have to travel to the city to access information, they have to travel at odd hours and this makes them vulnerable to criminal activity,” Tyali said.
On Wednesday, budget and treasury political head Retief Odendaal told Uitenhage residents who had filled the Allan Ridge Community Hall in the town that they would get a fair share of the budget.
“We know that Uitenhage and Despatch are neglected,” Odendaal said.
“We have committed that they will get a fair share so that we can start addressing some of the service delivery issues.”
“A job desk will be launched in Uitenhage which will cater for the youth.”
The meeting was chaired by deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani as Trollip could not attend.
Residents said they wanted a sub-council to represent them during council meetings.