On 20 November 2018, representatives of the Nelson Mandela Bay Church Leader Network, led by Bishop Jacob Freemantle and Apostle Neville Goldman, met with three of the leaders in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM), i.e. the Executive Mayor, Cllr Mongameli Bobani, the Deputy Executive Mayor, Cllr Tshsonono Buyeye and the Speaker of Council, Cllr Buyelwa Mafaya, to discuss urgent concerns regarding local governance which directly impact the daily lives of congregants of church communities in the Bay.
The proceedings and outcomes of the meeting were exceptionally candid and constructive, with the following four items discussed:
- The organizational stability of the Municipality.
- Corporate governance.
- Disruption of Council meetings, and
- The lack of service delivery.
A proposal was made by the Church leadership for the formation of a Joint Committee (JC), which will assist in tackling the scourge of corruption and give guidance to stop disruptive behaviour in council meetings, which negatively impact service delivery in the Nelson Mandela Bay.
Upon agreement of the creation of a joint committee, the Office of the Speaker shall direct and facilitate its business on a quarterly basis. To assist the Committee, the NMB leadership committed themselves to ensuring that there are effective and transparent communication channels with the public regarding issues of glaring failures, for the achievement of effective and efficient service delivery and a Nelson Mandela Bay free of corruption.
Furthermore, the church leaders expressed their fervent wish that the NMB municipality and ward councillors’ partner with the church in the implementation of the Nehemiah Project which is addressing the eradication of poverty, unemployment and inequality, with the purpose and intent of social upliftment.
Through the Nehemiah Project, the Church leaders intend to rebuild the social and economic fabric of the NMBM Wards. This will be done by assisting in the empowerment of civil society, businesses and the local political leadership to work in unison to establish and provide work opportunities and bring back hope to our citizenry.
A particular concern is the frequent turnover of municipal managers in the Bay and the undue expense incurred to the detriment of rate payers. The NMB leadership took cognisance of the concern, and strongly recommended the establishment of a Joint Committee with quarterly meetings to discuss and address civil society matters highlighted by the public through their pastors.
More regular contact will be ensured through direct communication with the Office of the Speaker of Council.