Blend of experience, youth, passion
Mayor Athol Trollip yesterday unveiled what he believes is a qualified, competent and passionate team to help run Nelson Mandela Bay over the next five years.
He plans to appoint another team, composed of nine Bay councillors, whose full-time jobs would be to hold the executive accountable.
Changing the system which traditionally saw mayoral committee members chair portfolio meetings, Trollip said the nine chairpersons would not only be in charge of the sittings, but they would ensure oversight over senior managers and their political heads.
This, he said, was to ensure the new coalition government was open to scrutiny and held to account. His application for the Section 79 committees would still need to be approved by Local Government MEC Fikile Xasa.
“It’s called separation of powers. In the past, maybe there was an intention to keep the lines blurred between the executive and the administration,” Trollip said.
“I want no ambiguity in this regard. I’m going to look at putting in people to chair those committees, also from other political parties, because we want to make the city work and we want to make everyone part of making this city work.”
The extra money to pay the chairpersons – who would also become full-time councillors – would come from cutting back on filling political posts, he said.
Trollip unveiled his much-anticipated mayoral committee at the Uitenhage Town Hall yesterday – a team which boasts experience, youth and active community members.
The committee is:
- Retief Odendaal (budget and treasury);
- Mongameli Bobani (public health);
- Annette Lovemore (infrastructure and engineering);
- Rano Kayser (roads and transport);
- Andrew Whitfield (economic development, tourism and agriculture);
- Siyasanga Sijadu (sports, recreation, arts and culture);
- Dean Biddulph (corporate services);
- Shirley Sauls (constituency services);
- John Best (safety and security); and
- Nqaba Bhanga (human settlements).
He said the coalition councillors – who make up 61 seats out of 120 in the council – would recommend the ACDP’s Lance Grootboom to be the new head of the municipal public accounts committee. That would have to be approved by the council majority in the next meeting.
“I have no doubt that I’ve selected the best team,” Trollip said at a media briefing yesterday.
“They are a group of competent, qualified people selected on merit. Where they’re not qualified, they bring passion. “We have a team of elected councillors today who I believe represent all the voters of our city. “This team of highly skilled councillors includes members of our coalition partners. “This team, I believe, will be able to acquit themselves of their responsibilities in a fashion that will bring change to people’s lives. “This team not only represents the communities, but understands the challenges of the communities.”
He said Bobani, who is also the new deputy mayor, was passionate about public health – a portfolio committee under which he had served for about 10 years.
“He wants to . . . have a city that looks after the environment and also brings dignity to the people, especially the poor people who live in very dirty, unhealthy circumstances.”
On proposed changes, he said the recently launched metro police force would require immediate remedial attention to ensure there was enough budget and that staff were trained.
On human settlements, they had to clean up the department to ensure staff did their duties without fear or favour.
“It is a very controversial portfolio and the fact that the previous [head] of human settlements [Buyisile Mkavu] was assassinated is a source of grave concern for me and, I’m sure, for Nqaba [Bhanga] now.”
Trollip also said infrastructure was a critical department that had to ensure the city’s water resources were protected to be able to attract investments and ultimately jobs.
On ensuring that Uitenhage and Despatch residents felt included in the metro, Trollip, Bobani and his executive would spend two days a month in Uitenhage, interacting with business and the community.