Residents the losers as city powers turn to courts

Speaker Buyelwa Mafaya
Speaker Buyelwa Mafaya

There are now two matters before the courts involving Nelson Mandela Bay’s political leadership.

One involves speaker Buyelwa Mafaya, who is appealing a ruling forcing her to hold a council meeting to elect a permanent mayor, and the other matter involves acting mayor Thsonono Buyeye, who is relentlessly trying to stop Cogta MEC Xolile Nqatha from intervening in the metro’s affairs.

The two cases have one thing in common — both Mafaya and Buyeye are trying desperately to hold on to their jobs and ratepayers are footing the bill for it.

While she has given a number of excuses over the months as to why she has not convened a meeting to consider a motion of no confidence in her — as well as the election of a mayor — it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that Mafaya is not ready to let go of her powerful seat. Period.

But on to Buyeye and his fight with Nqatha.

It is a particularly interesting case of one sphere of government telling another sphere (which, by law, is meant to ensure the municipality is performing its duties) to butt out of its affairs.

Buyeye tried to thwart Nqatha’s attempts to intervene in the metro’s affairs, but the judge ruled that he did not have legal standing in the matter.

Buyeye is appealing the case and this raised the ire of some political parties who believe he should not be using ratepayers’ money to fight a battle that is not in the city’s interests.

They may be correct, but the outcome of the case will indeed set the terms of what the roles and responsibilities are of an acting mayor and also to what extent a higher sphere of government can meddle in the affairs of the municipality.

What is abundantly clear is that the city is in desperate need of intervention as service delivery is at an all-time low.

So, while the elephants fight it out among each other, it is sadly us — the grass — that continue to suffer the consequences.

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