DA preparing to govern Nelson Mandela Bay: Good Governance Conference address by Athol Trollip

By Athol Trollip, DA Mayoral Candidate: Nelson Mandela Bay:

Note to Editors: The following is an extract of a speech delivered today by DA Mayoral Candidate for Nelson Mandela Bay, Athol Trollip, at The Mayoral Conference: Growing Good Governance at the Bayworld Conference Centre, Nelson Mandela Bay, attended by Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille and Mayor of Midvaal, Bongani Baloyi.

Growing good governance is our priority in Nelson Mandela bay, given the terrible state into which this Metro has been allowed to fall under this ANC government. Nelson Mandela Bay needs a bold new vision that can restore hope and bring real change to the Metro.

After engaging with thousands of residents during my 60 wards in 60 days tour, I am appreciative of the immensity of the task at hand, and I am ready to tackle it head on.

Since September I have been with the people of every single ward of Nelson Mandela Bay, out of my commitment to being in 60 Wards in 60 Days. I have kept this promise, and have found inspiration in the people of this Metro who are calling out for change.

I am the first to acknowledge that things are better now than they were pre-1994, but our democracy affords us the capacity to expect more from government. We have to demand better services, more jobs and corruption-free administration, because we deserve it.

In Nelson Mandela Bay, we have been subjected to broken ANC promises for far too long. 21 years into democracy, we should not have a housing backlog of 70 000 units. In 2015, we should have well maintained roads, an excellent crime-fighting metro police force, weekly refuse collection in every ward and a comprehensive public transport system that keeps our Metro moving.

Instead, we have a pile of broken promises that keeps growing and a public purse that keeps shrinking.

DA governments around the country focus on providing excellent basic service delivery. In the Western Cape, 76% of the budget is spent on poor communities. There are more services delivered to people than in any other province, despite a 46% growth in population since 1996. With the highest access to water at 99.1%, flush toilets at 91.6% and electricity at 93.4%, the Western Cape is simply leagues ahead of any other province. And therefore it is critical that Helen Zille and Patricia de Lille are in Nelson Mandela Bay today, to share their governance expertise.

The story of governance in Nelson Mandela Bay is sadly quite different under the ANC than where the DA governs. Today there are still huge parts of the Metro that go without this most basic of services.

To make this bitter pill even more difficult to swallow, we never had enough rubbish trucks to service the Metro to start with, so the promise to actually collect refuse was simply a cheap publicity stunt by Danny Jordaan that never stood a chance of materialising.

Where the DA governs, our institutions and robust processes ensure transparency, accountability and efficient delivery of governmental projects and services. Rooting out corruption in the public service is a key priority for the DA.

Good governance requires a zero-tolerance approach to corruption, the political will to tackle the problem seriously and the strengthening of institutions charged with oversight.

This ANC NMB administration has attempted to convince us that it is tough on corruption. Instead, we see those implicated in fraud and corruption walking away scot-free and with huge pay-outs and golden handshakes.

Will the other officials who are currently suspended also be treated this way, now that this precedent has been set? This is not corruption-fighting. Conversely, corrupt individuals are actually being protected and insulated from accountability.

The City of Cape Town loses the least amount of water of any Metro across the country, as Patricia de Lille confirmed for us here today. The Metro of Cape Town regularly wins awards for its water conservation efforts and techniques, justifiable considering that the city’s water loss figures are a full 15 percentage points below the combined average water loss nationwide.

In July, the people of Uitenhage and Despatch were promised a solution to their ongoing water supply crisis, but again Danny Jordaan failed to deliver. This tragic crisis was going to be placed on the Mayor’s hypothetical “dashboard”. To this day, millions of litres of water still run from over 600 leaks in this area. Vast portions of certain communities often go without water for weeks at a time.

Due to a slashed maintenance infrastructure budget and years of utter negligence, the Metro now loses the most amount of water of any Metro across the country at a staggering 45 billion litres per year.

Earlier this year the City of Cape Town, already supported by an effective metro police force, launched an anti-gang unit to combat growing gangsterism on the Cape Flats. This stabilisation unit arrests 1000 suspects every month and is already making huge inroads into fighting gangs in Manenberg, Ottery and Hanover.

With worsening gangsterism and crime, NMB is in desperate need of a local law enforcement operation. Instead for the last 10 years the ANC in NMB has only been talking about a metro police, and still there is no plan to operationalise this necessary law enforcement measure. The truth here is that there are no metro police officers in NMB and no budget this financial year to fund the operation.

The Midvaal local municipality, represented here today by its Mayor Bongani Baloyi, with the fastest growing local economy, has the lowest unemployment rate of any municipality in Gauteng at just 26% on the broad definition. Major investors such as Heineken and Ferrero Rocher provide stable economic growth and job opportunities for local residents, because the DA has welcomed these investors in and made it easy for them to grow through incentives and government rebates.

With unemployment in NMB at 36.6% and youth unemployment at 47.3%, it is abundantly clear that this ANC government is failing to stimulate significant economic growth, which the DA will change.

Good governance, founded on integrity, commitment and honesty must be a priority, and the learnings from Helen Zille and Patricia de Lille today will inspire a DA government in Nelson Mandela Bay toward those ideals. The heart of government is in efficiency and competency, and the DA is ready to deliver those in NMB.

Today, the DA has brought excellent examples of good governance here to Nelson Mandela Bay.

The DA is ready to implement these best practices from Cape Town and the Western Cape in this Metro. As we march towards the 2016 local government election, the DA looks forward to delivering real hope that ushers in an era of true freedom, fairness and opportunity for a Metro that is in desperate need of change.