Bhanga says IDP meetings to change significantly

Nqaba Bhanga
Nqaba Bhanga
Image: Judy de Vega

The way that Integrated Development Plan (IDP) meetings are facilitated and managed will change significantly from next week, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Councillor Nqaba Bhanga said in a statement on Friday. 

This after a community meeting in Colchester quickly turned violent Thursday night when some members of the crowd forcibly demanded the agenda be changed from a gathering meant to deliberate the budget and IDP for the next financial year, to one where the land issue was discussed.

In the ensuing chaos, cars were stoned, tyres set alight, and councillors and officials were prevented from leaving the hall.

"The existing schedule of meetings will be amended such that a larger number of staff and political leadership attend each meeting." Bhanga said.

Bhanga said the Safety and Security Directorate is busy preparing an intervention strategy that will ensure the safety of both residents and Metro officials.

"Sadly more than half of the meetings already held have been disrupted and collapsed. This culminated in Thursday night’s horrific acts of violence and criminality at the Colchester meeting, where councillors vehicles were stoned and petrol bombs thrown."

"Criminal cases have been opened and SAPS are investigating. The Metro will work closely with police to ensure that those responsible for last night’s violence are arrested." He said. 

Bhanga stated that the majority of residents wish to participate productively and positively in government’s budget planning.

"It is a very small minority of people who are attempting to ruin this entire public participation process."

"Those causing the chaos are often seen wearing ANC branded clothing. It is clear that these are planned politically motivated interruptions, which will not be tolerated." Bhanga said. 

"This coalition government remains committed to being a responsive, caring administration. We will do what is necessary, it is our mandate, to ensure that residents get every opportunity to engage with their government," he said. 

Further updates on the amended schedule of meetings will be distributed during the day on Friday.