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Editorial | No winners in Bay power game

Mayor Athol Trollip becomes involved in scuffle with a resident as a public meeting in Walmer Tuesday night descends into chaos
Mayor Athol Trollip becomes involved in scuffle with a resident as a public meeting in Walmer Tuesday night descends into chaos
Image: Werner Hills

The disorder that ended Tuesday’s public meeting in Walmer Township needs to be condemned – and contained.

How to contain it is a question for which there may be no ready answer. Why, is an easier one to address.

Nelson Mandela Bay is currently seeking public input for its Integrated Development Plan, a routine road show it undertakes to speak to, and hear, ordinary people so officials can decide which critical areas need service delivery most.

It is at these meetings where Bay folk have a rare platform to engage directly with the city’s leadership, where they are almost guaranteed their voices will resonate in City Hall.

That never happened in Walmer because the meeting was intentionally collapsed following a violent melee which was, in the light of heightened tensions in our city, so predictable even this newspaper took unusual steps to safeguard its reporters – a justified action, it would seem.
Mayor Athol Trollip was again the target of recriminations that parroted similar disruptions from the opposition in council, where his race was ostensibly used once more to sow chaos.

Only hours earlier, another IDP meeting in Helenvale went off without a hitch.

Residents there dutifully took their councillors to task, in a constructive way, and in turn were given the answers they were looking for, or at least assurances that, for the most part, addressed their concerns.

Chalk and cheese, a tale of two cities; one a maelstrom of orchestrated destabilisation, the other a meeting of minds between constituents and representatives.

No prizes for guessing which meeting was a shining example of democracy at work. Nothing good can come from those forces encouraging anarchy.

It is the poorest of the poor being used as pawns yet again in this power game that has no winners.

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