Editorial: Chance to make mark on history

Athol Trollip has pledged to do three pertinent things as he took over the reins in Nelson Mandela Bay yesterday.

To stop corruption, create jobs and to deliver better services to the million people who live in this beautiful city.

These are promises we have heard several times before from his predecessors.

They are promises that, if fulfilled, could potentially propel this city to the forefront of economic development in this country.

For Trollip, the journey ahead will be a long and difficult one.

Not least of all because of the likely resistance his leadership will face from an administration machinery largely put together by the ANC in the past two decades.

Therefore, how Trollip and his leadership team navigate the complexities brought by the new political dynamics at City Hall will determine whether or not the municipality indeed succeeds on its new path.

Trollip’s task will not only be to ensure basic services are delivered, but to dismantle an organisational culture which allowed mediocrity, inefficiency and corruption to thrive.

His job will be to instil a culture which places the needs of every resident above the interests of those in power.

Trollip must ensure that this city delivers the same quality of services to those living in Veeplaas or Helenvale as it does to those in Summerstrand.

Equally pressing for Trollip is the urgent need to fight corruption.

Several officials remain on suspension, partly because so many have used the labour laws that govern this country to escape every opportunity to answer the allegations against them.

Trollip must deal with this and ensure, as he promised, that every official who has looted this municipality or transgressed laws in any way is held accountable.

How he delivers on this will ultimately define the success of his tenure.

There is no doubt that a coalition government will bring its own dynamics to the running of the city.

It could potentially deepen democracy or cripple progress.

As they begin this historic term in office, we hope that the 120 men and women who make up our council will always be mindful of the reason they were elected: to serve the public.

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