The DA-led coalition government in charge of running the affairs of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has a multi-pillared approach to deliver services, said MMC for Budget and Treasury, Cllr Retief Odendaal, at the IDP and Budget Public Participation session held on Monday 3 October.
“Our approach as the coalition government is characterised by a number of pillars. Firstly we would like to stop fraud and corruption. An operational fraud and corruption hotline, manned and managed by a professional entity will be launched soon and the capacitating of the municipality’s Internal Audit Unit will receive urgent attention.
“We need to create jobs. Nelson Mandela Bay currently contributes 44% to the Gross Domestic Product of the Eastern Cape Province. We would like to improve this contribution beyond 50% over the next couple of years.
“It is imperative that we create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive to ensure the creation of more opportunities that we can benefit from.
“We need to bolster the tourism industry, especially local tourism. It is very expensive to visit other coastal cities due to the high prices for accommodation and other commodities. We need to entice fellow South Africans to holiday here in Nelson Mandela Bay, in a coastal city that is affordable.
“We also would like to create a city that is safe. We envisage the establishment of a highly competent, fully equipped and smaller Metro Police force. These officers will be responsible to enforce our by-laws. We are also planning a gang unit that will work closely with the South African Police Services to deal with gang violence.
“In addition to all of this we would like to build a caring city by turning informal settlements or townships into suburbs. All areas must be treated equally and it is my task to identify money to make sure it happens,” MMC Odendaal said.
Held at the Woolboard Exchange in Military Road, representatives from various sectors such as business, arts and culture, government parastatals and civil society attended the IDP session to give their input on how the city must be managed.
Further pertinent matters raised at the session include the cutting of non-core expenditure with budget constraints in mind, the curbing of water and electricity losses and the implementation of the Integrated Public Transport System on a more manageable scale.
Mr Thandile Petywa from the creative arts sector said financial resources are unequally distributed with the creative industries receiving the smallest cut and the fact that this sector often bears the brunt of cost-cutting initiatives as it is considered as a non-core service.
Mr Kevin Hustler, Chief Executive Officer of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber, said the filling of critical vacancies both at a technical and managerial level should receive attention and said if infrastructure issues are dealt with businesses will find it more amenable to remain in the city.
Hustler further committed to formal submissions on behalf of the business sector regarding the Integrated Development Plan and the city’s Adjustment Budget.
An IDP and Public Participation meeting is planned for tonight at 6pm at the Motherwell NU2 Community Hall at 6pm.