Andrew Whitfield | Handing back NMB to the ANC undermines democracy
The rising red tide of populism is the greatest threat facing our constitutional democracy today. In Nelson Mandela Bay this manifests itself in a motion of no confidence against the DA-led coalition government by the EFF motivated on unconstitutional grounds – the fact that the mayor is white. What is most concerning about populism is that it too easily captures our collective imagination in a way that constitutionalism has not been able to. The constant drip of poisonous populism allowed to go unchecked and unchallenged can become our new reality if we allow ourselves to be captured by this dangerous rhetoric. This is the real battle taking place in Nelson Mandela Bay. True to their populist character not one of the political parties trying to capture Nelson Mandela Bay has actually spelt out how they will govern better and nobody is asking: why? Surely this is the least they can do as they try to usurp power while avoiding the ballot box. Surely, the people of Nelson Mandela Bay have a right to know what their governance and delivery blueprint is and how they will align the plans of all six parties into a credible manifesto? This is why elections are so important. They offer voters a choice. When there is a hostile takeover outside of elections, such as in Nelson Mandela Bay, there is no need to convince the voters by providing them with a compelling alternative offer. The people of Nelson Mandela Bay decisively rejected the corrupt ANC at the ballot box during the 2016 local government elections with 59.1% of voters choosing to vote for other political parties. They made it clear, through their vote, that they wanted total change. They gave the DA and its coalition partners the mandate to govern with the commitment to create jobs, root out corruption and deliver basic services. Under the leadership of Athol Trollip, it is clear that the coalition government is dedicated to turning the metro into a well-run city where the people come first. In little more than 18 months, we have managed to:
- Connect 12000 residents to running water and toilets for the first time;
- Create more than 5000 much- needed Expanded Public Works (EPWP) job opportunities by the end of the financial year;
- Made NMB safer by introducing a metro police department with 114 new, quality officers.
- Fight corruption by ensuring that those caught up in corrupt activities face the full might of the law;
- Recover millions of rand from and freezing of corrupt contracts;
- Stabilise the administration by appointing competent executive directors through a fair process.
- More than 30 roads across the metro are either being resurfaced, rehabilitated or tarred. Looking back, 55000m² of road surface was refurbished or tarred in the 2016-17 financial year;
- The metro has strengthened its fight against illegal dumping with the unveiling of three unmarked cars and a specialised vehicle with state-of- the-art surveillance equipment;
- The Motherwell Fire Station upgrade is 50% complete.