Opposition refuses to be pawns in ANC power struggle

By Cllr Retief Odendaal, Nelson Mandela Bay Metro:

Nelson Mandela Bay is a broken city – a city brought to its knees through a succession of ANC controlled administrations, riven by in-fighting, corruption and maladministration which have seen no fewer than four mayors with an equal number of municipal and city managers taking office.

One could be forgiven for wondering whether revolving doors should perhaps be installed in these two offices.

The current mess in which the ANC finds itself is one that is entirely of its own making. The recent appointment and swearing in of Cllr Danny Jordaan, as a game changer well into injury time for the current administration, will not distract the DA from continuing with every effort to deliver a legitimate, accountable city government to all the people of our metro in Election 2016.

We have been approached by numerous councillors who have indicated their extreme unhappiness at the current changes within the ANC local structures and who are prepared to go so far as to support a DA candidate for the position of mayor.

As confident as the DA is that we could win such a contest and as tempting as this is for us as the official opposition within Nelson Mandela Bay, we cannot risk an unstable government for the people of Nelson Mandela Bay.

The right way to win governance is through the ballot box, as the DA is set on doing in 2016. The DA has put forward a Mayoral Candidate, in Athol Trollip,  for 2016 who the people will have an opportunity to elect. We will never impose a parachuted Mayor who will only serve the people part-time.

As a result, the DA, with support of a combined opposition, have taken a principled decision not to attend the council meeting tomorrow where the ANC hope to formally install Jordaan as mayor.

The Opposition will collectively stay away from tomorrow’s council meeting.

We are resolute in that we will only govern this city with a legitimate mandate from the majority of voters within the metro. This is a mandate that we will be spending every last drop of our energy in securing in the 2016 local government elections and it will be with this mandate that we will deliver the kind of city government that all our people deserve. Where the DA governs we deliver clean and effective government. We want to bring the same to Nelson Mandela Bay.

In summary, we are fully aware that the current instability and rudderless direction of the Metro is as a direct result of the inability of the governing party to resolve their internal conflict.

Tomorrow Danny Jordaan will face a tough test. We are concerned though, to learn that he is apparently scheduled to fly to Zurich tomorrow to attend to a FIFA congress in his capacity as head of SAFA. This reaffirms that Danny Jordaan can only be a part-time mayor for Nelson Mandela Bay.

It is therefore worth reaffirming our initial reservations as to whether Jordaan should be permitted to retain both positions given the current state of our metro. We need a full-time mayor so remain sceptical of the level of commitment shown if he is called away even before he starts the new job.

The DA, and all opposition parties, will not be drawn into this ANC internal conflict.

We will not allow the opposition to be misused in becoming an enabling agent to assist in resolving the problems of the governing party.

The ANC will see the disatisfation of the people at next year’s election.