Mayor gives metro hope

WHEN a married couple decides to renew wedding vows it does not necessarily mean their marriage is not working but they could be seeking to reinforce their commitment to the institution.

The state of the metro address on Friday by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Benson Fihla, brought a season of hope in the metro.

More importantly, it activated the sense of purpose and focus so that the institution does not grind to a standstill.

It served to answer the following questions; how have we advanced in terms of service delivery since 1994?

The mayor's address did not only mention achievements since 1994 but also highlighted heights still to be attained. The areas of focus for the metro for the remaining term to the next local government elections are captured under the short to medium term goals.

"Oom Ben", as he is affectionately known, made a very poignant and important point when he contended that "South Africa's transition was spectacular by any standards".

Transition is not a state, moment, or event but a process. It took the United Kingdom almost 400 years to manage its transformation process from 1640 to 1918. Sweden started from 1890 and settled it in 1920.

Turkey began its transformation process from 1945 but it is very wobbly now. Ireland gained independence in 1992 from England by which time it was more than a rural wasteland.

In 2007 it was one of the top economies in Europe, but it is experiencing problems now.

What I am saying is that we punish successes unnecessarily by comparing ourselves with the advanced economies, without examining how long it took for those countries to reach their goals. The stated goals in the mayor's address are realisable and can be achieved within the indicated period with the support of other stakeholders. The municipality and business sector cannot afford to shoot in different directions and the best thing to do is to unite and work together for the good of the city. The IDP, annual report and budget public participation meetings are indicative of the institution that does not talk about the people but to the people and there is a crucial distinction between the two.

I commend the executive mayor and the political leadership at large for having the appetite to deal with the Pikoli Report as stated in the address.

Mpumezo Ralo, researcher, Red Location Museum and Doctor of Philosophy candidate in the Department of Political Studies at NMMU