Let us be realistic about Danny Jordaan’s first 100 days in office as Executive Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality and pick out some stuff, from the 48 slides presented, that is a step in the right direction:
- People’s Assemblies: Public meetings will take place at the Vuyisile Mini Square, in front of the City Hall as from October 2015. The practice of parking vehicles on Vuyisile Mini Square has been stopped as the square must return to its intended purpose as a People’s Assembly. Now this is a good thing – I always thought that the practise by feeders from the trough of parking on the square was arrogant in the extreme. All those ‘paid for by ratepayers’ luxury vehicles on display for all to see also made sure that ratepayers could see that we have a top heavy highly paid set of officials. But, ex-Mayor Solly Rubin would be extremely happy with Danny Jordaan’s decision as Solly always used to say of the then Mayors Garden that it would be turned into a parking space over “my dead body”. You can now stop turning in your grave Solly and Rest in Peace.
- Energy: On 18 July 2015 Council approved approved a settlement deal with the 13 biggest energy users to settle a matter outstanding for years.
- Transnet: Transnet have agreed to refurbish and rent out some of their properties to the Municipality at a much reduced rate – this will save the Municipality millions in rental costs. Metro will soon provide Transnet with its SMME and supplier database for construction and operation of the new manganese terminal in Coega project. The decommissioning of the Humewood terminal will open up space for the development of a Water Front. Transnet will consider handing over the Humerail land through the PIC to the Metro.
- Smart City: Discussions with IT service providers are at an advanced stage to provide free wi-fi across the Metro.
- Anti Corruption: 17 Officials have been suspended since 01 July 2015. Implementation of recommendations of Kaboso and Pikoli reports is under way and we await the final report of the Deloittes forensic investigations. The Hawks have been briefed to investigate corruption and apprehend suspects.
- Finance: The budget showed a cash holding equal to 15 days of expenditure – a potentially disastrous situation. On Mayor Jordaan’s instructions, the Budget was cut until cash holdings increased significantly. At present cash holdings are improving quicker than expected, and are at just over R1.5 billion – representing nearly 4 months of operating expenses.
- Supply Chain Management: A Revenue Enhancement Tender is in progress. The system will deal with identifying non-billed or under-billed consumers / ratepayers as well as the collection of debt > 120 days outstanding.
- Moodys: Moody’s downgraded all metropolitan cities’ long-term ratings by one notch, with the exception of Nelson Mandela Bay, to reflect the deterioration of South Africa’s credit profile as captured by Moody’s recent downgrade of South Africa’s governmen bond rating to Baa2 (stable) from Baa1 (negative). This on the back of Nelson Mandela Bay’s: (1) lack of borrowing plans over the next three years; (2) low debt-to-operating revenue, which is projected to reach 15%in 2016, which is at the lowest level relative to rated metropolitan municipalities; (3) Moody’s expectation for debt-to-operating revenue to be in line with those of Cape Town and Ekurhuleni in 2014, while the latter two are projected to moderately increase their debt in the medium term; and (4) the city’s improvement in its liquidity profile in 2014, which compares well with those of Cape Town and Ekurhuleni.
- Waste Management: Weekly collection of waste removal has now been introduced in 29 Wards and the intention is to phase in weekly removal of waste in Uitenhage and Northern Areas as from October 2015. Four trucks have been bought through funding from the Province.
- Electricity and Energy: Submitted a business plan to the DoE to remove +/- 12 000 illegal connections.
- Sport: Metro will host the MTN8 Final, soon after Nedbank Final, PSL final league match. Three major trophies were handed over in the Metro over the 100 days.
- Arts and Culture: The commencement of the reconstruction and redevelopment of Mendi Cultural Centre. Commencement of a vibrant film development project through the Lotto Funds. Successful commemoration of the 25th Northern Areas Uprisings. Formulation of a Heritage Reference Group. Commencement of the development and upkeep of heritage resources (8 million). Establishment of Music Incubator to develop Musician through a music hub
For the first showing as a Mayor and for a person not completely familiar with cut and thrust back stabbing smarmy political infighting one has to say that Danny is trying hard but will eventually be fed to the wolves once his influence has completed the course.
To his credit he has recognised that he cannot make any difference to this city unless he has the financial muscle to do so – in this context the reason why a 100 Day party was sanctioned remains puzzling – the assembled hacks would have preferred a one on one situation with no entertainment, food or t-shirts allowing them to get to grips with the real Danny. In that way he could have scored huge points – maybe the minders are already nervous that he will say stuff that is true but harmful to their position at the trough?
One cannot help but recall how former Mayor Wayile’s minders used to get nervous when he strayed from prepared speeches. Wayile too was a bit of a maverick with a huge amount of potential to do good for this city but not expecting to be cut down and redeployed one surmises.
At the end of the day what the citizens of this metro need to do is quite plain: Only vote for a party that promises to put the City and it’s Citizens AHEAD of party politics – preferably one that recognises and embraces party political differences as a strength and not as a chance to take pot shots at one another whilst insulting the intelligence and patience of the citizenry.
Let us hope and pray that that party/person makes themselves known before the 2016 Elections.
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