Letter: Time for real work to begin in Bay

New metro administration

Now that this year’s elections are history and the political administration has changed hands, it is time to roll up the sleeves and for real work to replace the theoretical electioneering commitment. The black youth of Zwide, Kwanobuhle and Gambleville have for far too long being subjected to unending promises of “decent jobs”, which, given available evidence, have not been fulfilled.

The commercial initiatives of Motherwell, Khayamnandi and Walmer for men and women have mostly collapsed. The hurt caused by the shameless political administration led by the ANC becomes glaring as one randomly talks to the residents of Blikkiesdorp, Peace Village and Qaqawuli in KwaZakhele.

Last but not least, the severity of poverty and the extent to which unemployment continues to steal and erode people’s human dignity becomes painfully visible when one visits the homes in Gelvandale as well as the kloof in Ward 12 where people are living in conditions similar to those of a lost city. Perhaps, it is a blessing in disguise that the hopelessly corrupt ANC got democratically toppled by a joint effort of various parties.

At least, to an extent, the aspect of rampant corruption has been kicked out together with its accompanying twin, arrogance.

From the current regime we expect, not contract short-term/slave-type “jobs”, because it is exactly these very measures that have sort of hypnotised the poor black majority and thus kept a false hope of a “better tomorrow”. Given the fact that Athol Trollip and his party have promised “change”, we can be justified to anticipate that positive change can be effected in all areas of priority, for instance in the exploitative nature and levels of non-compliance with legislation that is rife within the contract cleaning and security industries.

These are major contributors to the poverty of working people and social chaos in the communities of black working people.

On top of all other burdens that it carries, Trollip’s party has the task of clarifying itself, in action, on the question of being or not being a “racist party”. Having already missed a point on its first move, by selecting a 60% white mayoral committee, there exists now another chance for it to display practically being a party of equal opportunity.

Furthermore, given the important role which tourism is likely to occupy in the economic development strategy of the new political administration, it would make perfect sense that the new mayor ensures that the employment conditions of workers who are rendering safety and security, and cleaning services are taken into serious consideration and meaningfully improved. Insourcing the cleaning and security services of Nelson Mandela Bay will immediately impact positively and offer relief on the housing list, on the queues at community clinics and, most importantly, it will salvage close to 5 000 households out of absolute poverty.

Very key consideration on this matter is also the fact that, by insourcing the 4 500 security officers employed by Metro Security, the municipal purse would immediately benefit from the financial relief which would accompany that decision. The municipality is said to be coughing up R12 500 monthly per officer.

All this requires is courage, political will and decisiveness on the side of the local ruling party. Given the impact this could make in the living conditions in black and coloured communities, I am certain, that (except for the FF+) all parties will unanimously agree.

As we move forward it is important that we engage and discuss matters, but where there is unanimous agreement both on content and form on a matter, time must not be wasted.

There are several other subjects and areas of service in Nelson Mandela Bay that need change. It is now time to make the first bold practical steps to bring about that change.

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