NMB residents call out for a Safer City

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

The following is an extract of a speech delivered today by DA Mayoral Candidate for Nelson Mandela Bay, Athol Trollip, at the Safe City Rally in Gelvandale Stadium, Nelson Mandela Bay, attended by DA Leader Mmusi Maimane, and DA Western Cape Leader, Patricia de Lille.

Today we launch a blue-print for making Nelson Mandela Bay a Safe City, after consulting thousands of residents across all wards of this Metro. Safety is the number one concern of the people in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, because crime is thriving as the economy shrinks and the Metro fails to police crime.

Over the last 60 days 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.

From Ward 52 in Despatch, to Ward 29 in Kwazakhele and from Ward 2 in Humewood to Ward 32 in Bethelsdorp, I have walked the streets at one with the people of Nelson Mandela Bay.

Together, NMB residents young and old have all contributed to building our blueprint for change as they have engaged with me during the 60 days tour. It has been a joint effort to shape the future of the Bay.

Across 60 Wards, I have met people who struggle every day to get ahead. There has been progress since 1994, but today in South Africa and in Nelson Mandela Bay that progress has stopped.

Nelson Mandela Bay is moving in the wrong direction under an ANC government that has given up on delivery for our people.

Nelson Mandela Bay wastes the most public money of any Metro in South Africa.
Nelson Mandela Bay has the most bucket toilets of any Metro in South Africa.
Nelson Mandela Bay has the highest unemployment of any Metro in South Africa.
Nelson Mandela Bay has the highest water wastage of any Metro in South Africa.

Of everything told to me over the past 60 days, by far the most tragic failing of government is the failure to keep our residents safe.

We are not a safe city.

80% of people living in Nelson Mandela Bay are too afraid to go out after dark.

Gangsters own the streets, and both young and old are unsafe because there is no plan to prevent or police crime in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Crime thrives when jobs are lost and the economy shrinks, and this ANC government in NMB has allowed the economy to stagnate.

Unemployment in Nelson Mandela Bay is the highest of any South African Metro at a staggering 36.6%, with youth unemployment even higher at 47.3% making crime a trap for our young people to fall into.

And as more people are unemployed, and more fall into the trap of crime, there is no plan to prevent or defeat crime in the Metro:

  • The Metro Police Chief earns an unjustified R1 million per year, with not a single officer on the beat or in training.
  • There are no drug or gang units, and no special focus on ridding our communities of drugs and gangs.
  • There are no regular patrols in our vulnerable areas, targeted at preventing and stopping crime.
  • Traffic Police motorbikes have been neglected in a garage for five years and aren’t used to make our roads safer.
  • The existing CCTV cameras have gone to rack and ruin and aren’t being used to prevent crime.
  • The recently launched “Taking Back our Streets” isn’t working, and residents in every ward have told me they’ve seen nothing of their streets being taken back at all.

On Friday Mayor Jordaan held a red-carpet launch of two Metro Police vehicles that can only be described as a political gimmick, when he knows that there are no officers to drive those vehicles, and no plan to get them onto the streets. Our Metro Police have been spoken-of for years and years, yet nothing has happened under the ANC. For a Mayor to launch Metro Police vehicles, when we have no Metro Police Officers, no Metro Policing Plans or Strategies, no Metro Police empowering by-laws and no Metro Police public accessibility, is an insult to the people of our Metro who will still  continue to be unsafe tomorrow after the Mayor makes his next empty promise.

But there is hope for change in Nelson Mandela Bay, under a caring DA government that will get things done to make this Metro a Safe City. We will prevent crime, we will police crime and we will keep our young people from turning to crime.

We will deliver a fully functional, skilled Metro Police force with a specialised anti-gang and drug unit, which will work with the SAPS to squash drugs and gangs.

Where the DA governs, we have already established these units and they work miracles. Our Drug and Gang units where we govern in Cape Town, arrest over 1000 gangsters and drug dealers every month. We want to bring the same thing to Nelson Mandela Bay.

We will launch an anti-cable theft unit to prevent disruptions caused by theft of copper cables.

We will prevent crime by working with the SAPS to share intelligence, we will upgrade dangerous areas in a way that makes them safer and more accessible to police including regular clearing of bushes and overgrown hideouts for gangsters and criminals.

A DA government will upgrade and expand CCTV to connect to a well-trained Joint Operation Centre with direct contact to the SAPS and Metro Police. We will shut down problem buildings and keep your street lights on, while installing high-mast lights in informal areas – there will be nowhere for criminals to hide. We will evict gangsters and drug-dealers from municipal rental properties, and will eradicate illegal liquor outlets through Metro Police raids.

If elected to government, we will keep young people out of crime by growing the economy, creating jobs and making our young people economic agents.

The DA can make Nelson Mandela Bay a safe city for all built on the values of freedom, fairness and opportunity.

In Election 2016, you can vote for a Safer Nelson Mandela Bay under the DA.