Editorial | Incident a powerful metro wake-up call
On Monday a man walked into the Port Elizabeth City Hall and went up to mayor Mongameli Bobani’s office without any security checks. He waited for six hours before he could see Bobani.
He then took out a gun, showed it to the mayor and demanded a house. The incident has undoubtedly left Bobani shaken.
It has also placed the spotlight on the security loopholes that clearly exist in our metro’s seat of power.
The incident came almost two weeks after Bobani claimed that Nelson Mandela Bay was one of the safest cities in the country – a populist and reckless statement hopelessly detached from our reality.
At the time, several people had been killed in hit-style murders across the city.
Precisely for this reason, many found the incident with the gunman an ironic demonstration of how misguided the mayor’s statement had been.
Those who are more sceptical found the incident both unfortunate and convenient to boost Bobani’s case to have the municipality settle its contractual dispute with security firm Afrisec.
Bobani has previously advocated for the city to settle its dispute and pay Afrisec, rather than continue to fight the company in court.
On Tuesday we asked the mayor if his call to boost security at City Hall was in fact an attempt to get Afrisec back. It was a fair question, that seemingly annoyed him.
Regardless, we hope that this matter serves as a rude awakening to the state of our city.
We hope that it demonstrates the vulnerability of municipal property, both movable and immovable assets meant to deliver services to our communities.
We hope that it compels the city to strengthen its capacity to proactively respond to the threats that exist in its space.
Equally important, we hope that it serves as a powerful reminder of the daily realities of ordinary people who do not have the privilege of state-funded security.