Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor Benson Fihla called on residents and city leaders to use the many opportunities that exist to make a difference in the city at a Garden of Remembrance ceremony on Friday 31 October 2014.
“There are many opportunities for us to make a difference in this city.
“We can heed the continuous calls by our municipality to participate in the shaping of our integrated development plan, budgets, ward committees and to bring peace and stability in the corners where we are.
“We can all play a meaningful role to reduce crime by exposing criminals in our suburbs, townships and houses.
“While those criminals claim to love and care for those closest to them, they cause pain, fear and loss in the lives of others.
“When you bring criminals to book and play a meaningful role in the participatory processes of government, you are claiming your rightful place as men and women of distinction.
“By doing so, you are laying the foundation for the next generation to honour you in the same way that we are honouring the Councillors here today,” Mayor Fihla said.
Affectionately known as Oom Ben, Mayor Fihla delivered the keynote address at the Garden of Remembrance ceremony to honour Adriaan Rossouw (Despatch), Loyiso Nduku (Kwanobuhle), Adriaan Coetzee (Despatch), Manelisi Vumazonke (Kwanobuhle), Clifford Brainers (Bloemendal) and Nomzi Balfour from Missionvale.
The ceremony was a continuation of the project that was launched on 15 August at the Donkin Reserve when memorial plaques and trees were planted to honour Councillors of all political persuasions.
Deputy Executive Mayor Thando Ngcolomba said: “By implementing the Garden of Remembrance for Councillors who served our community since 1994 in the local government legislature at a place with such strong colonial ties, we are writing another important chapter in our book of a free, democratic and a prosperous South Africa.
“A South Africa that is working towards growth and development for all its people – irrespective of race or culture – unlike past dispensations that sought to monopolize access to resources and the benefits obtained from those resources.
“The facility built by Sir Rufane Donkin to say farewell to his wife has now much greater significance as the joy of a new South Africa can be seen from the vibrant art work and symbols on Route 67.
“In the same area that was established as a reserve a long time ago, we can now grow trees to symbolize the growth of new life after the restraints of oppression was convincingly cast aside.
“As we continue on our journey to improve the conditions of our people, we must stay mindful that those who walked this earth before us laid the foundation for a better tomorrow.
“It is now our duty to build from where they ended and make Nelson Mandela Bay a better place for all who live in it, black and white,” Deputy Executive Mayor Ngcolomba said.
Xola Balfour, the son of the late Councillor Balfour, appreciated the recognition the Executive Mayor and the Council gave to the families.
“We are humbled as the family, this is really touching as it tells us that our family members really meant something to the people they served.
Bukelwa Vumazonke Mkoko said the knowledge that her brother (Manelisi Vumazonke) made a difference and that he is recognized for it, goes a long way towards healing her family’s wounds.
“We missed a lot of time with him, but we never worried because we knew that he was working for his people.
“Thank you to the municipality, we will always visit the garden to pay our respects to our brother and the other late councillors who have contributed to the better live we enjoy today,” she said.