‘Sheriff ’ Bobani lays down law at mayoral committee meeting

There is a new sheriff in town who will not simply rubberstamp the decisions of the previous political set-up.
This was the message from Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Mongameli Bobani as he chaired his first mayoral committee meeting on Wednesday.
The sitting began on a sceptical note, with no mayoral committee members keen to endorse the minutes of the previous meeting, chaired by then mayor Athol Trollip.
After a short caucus break, a decision was taken to merely note the minutes until Bobani was briefed by sports, recreation, arts and culture boss Noxolo Nqwazi, filling in for city manager Johann Mettler.
A giggling Bobani flexed his muscles and reminded committee members that it was his meeting, saying they should raise their hands when they wanted to speak.
“This meeting is mine, your meeting is the council meeting,” Bobani said to speaker Buyelwa Mafaya.
“There is a new sheriff in town, so if we want to check the deployment of councillors [among other items], we will check it,” Bobani said.
He was responding to human settlements portfolio head Andile Mfunda’s request to have the nomination of a councillor to replace Lunga Nombexeza withdrawn and sent back to the portfolio committee.
A string of other critical agenda items were withdrawn and are set to be presented to portfolio committees for a second time after political heads insisted that they needed to apply their minds.
These included a report by human settlements executive director Nolwandle Gqiba on the city’s partnership with the Mandela Bay Development Agency on various projects, as
Giggling mayor reminded members of his committee that it was his meeting, saying they should raise their hands when they wanted to speak
well as the long-awaited housing list review.
“We want to apply our minds. I am new to this portfolio. We can’t just take such a resolution.
“That is why this must go back to the committee,” Mfunda said.
He said he needed clarity specifically on the housing list review process.
The Herald reported early last month that the municipality had made significant strides with reviewing the housing list.
The plan is to develop a housing needs register that will be aligned with the housing list of the national department of human settlements.
The R15m project is set to transform the Bay’s housing list and will allow residents to monitor their housing application on the municipality’s website, and later on a mobile app.
Mfunda said he felt the report lacked comment from other departments, such as budget and treasury.
“The are some issues I need to clarify and apply my mind.
“The housing list is generally problematic.
“Residents are concerned,” he said.
Asked whether this was not stalling progress, Mfunda said the report would be presented to the next human settlements portfolio committee meeting.
Roads and transport political head Rose Daaminds also asked that a report on approval of additional positions on the interim structure for the city’s bus system organisational structure be referred to the portfolio committee.
The municipality wants to hire six more cashiers to work on the Integrated Public Transport System.
Budget and treasury political head Mkhuseli Mtsila asked for the withdrawal of a request to clear the debt of a resident whose application had never been captured on the municipality’s debt relief programme.
He needed to familiarise himself with the case.

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