Executive Mayor, Dr Danny Jordaan, at a full sitting of the Nelson Mandela Bay
Metropolitan Council on Thursday, 4 June at the Uitenhage Indoor Sports Centre.
Leadership of the
Members of the
I would like to
thank you for the warm reception that I received from you since last week. With
your friendly embrace and enthusiastic messages of congratulations and
encouragement I am painfully aware of our collective responsibility to you, the
residents of Nelson Mandela Bay. A responsibilitythat has inspired us to hit
the ground running, as the time for business as usual is over and we are ready
to lead. This city is in my blood and as I said before, I grew up here, I
learned my politics here, I played non-racial sport here, and now I am honoured
by the ANC to be in the driving seat to steer Nelson Mandela Bay in the
direction of efficiency, transparency and to make it a truly competitive global
city for the benefit of all.
Even though I have
never really left Nelson Mandela Bay, my appointment was a true homecoming of
some sorts and a very special moment.
significantly, I am humbled by your enthusiasm when we took Council to New
Brighton and now we are here to show you that we are not a distant political
leadership, but rather a vibrant living representative of the people of this
city with its rich heritage.
Not far from this
venue the bloody Langa Massacre took place in 1985, a stark reminder that we
should remain firmly rooted amongst those who suffered greatly for our freedom.
I was disappointed
that the opposition chose not to attend the induction ceremony. Even though we
are from different political parties, and account to different political
bosses, I was hoping that we would be able to reach across the political divide
and come together in the interest of improving the lives of the residents of
this city. I want to hear from opposition parties. Your ideas and suggestions
are welcome. And you have nothing to fear from reaching out and being among the
community. They are not your enemies or a danger to you. Come on board, and
join us in the task of taking government to the people, as we lead this city in
a new direction.
Last week I spoke
about how this city is made of many parts – fragmented parts, forced apart by
history and apartheid, but united now under a single metropolitan government.
The Nelson Mandela BayMetropolitan Municipality encompasses all these areas –
Motherwell is part of this metro, iBhayi is part of this metro, the northern
areas are part of this metro, and Uitenhage and Kwanobuhle are part of this
metro. By holding our Council meeting here, in Uitenhage, we are reconfirming
our commitment to the people that we will continue to recognize this as one
city, united in our diversity; we are committed to serving you, the people of
I know that there is
a lot of uncertainty about the changes that the new leadership of the city are
going to make. One of the biggest decisions is what team we will pick for the
Mayoral Committee. The Mayoral Committee is the political executive that must
take charge of the different portfolios for the effective running of this city.
It’s a hugeresponsibility. Mayoral Committee members need to be able to
dedicate themselves to the portfolio they have been assigned, and give clear
direction to the officials and structures under them. So I expect the Mayoral
Committee to perform, to deliver on their responsibilities, and to meet the
needs of the people of this city. You demand this of them, so I will demand
this of them. We need a Mayoral Committee that is dedicated to performance, to
running this city, to serving the interest of its people.
At the moment I am
engaged in listening to stakeholders, including you the councillors, and the
management of the city. I am trying to understand the precise nature of the
challenge we have in front of us – so that I will then be able to pick the
right team for the job. You don’t pick a team then decide on the nature of the
match. You first work out what the match is going to demand of you, then pick a
team that is right for the game. So I am not yet ready to announce the Mayoral
Committee but intend to do so shortly. All I can say is that it will be a
performance orientated team as we intend to lead from the front.
There is an
immediate challenge in front of us, and that is the job of passing a budget for
the metro. Last week Council noted the Draft Budget. A number of concerns were
raised about the Draft Budgets. Most importantly, it has been projecting a
deficit for the metro, and it is not cash backed. This means that the projected
income for the budget is not credible. The problem with deficit budgeting is
that we don’t accumulate any surplus funds for investment purposes, which means
that we become grant dependent and cannot finance the infrastructure investment
we need to deliver services to our people. Deficit budgets are bad for service
delivery. Deficit budgets are bad for our credibility and they are bad for our
ability to borrow funds and finance our investment requirements.
is going through a period of belt tightening, linked to the global economic
recession, and it is inevitable that the cities includingourselves are going to
feel the same sort of fiscal pressures.
I am committed to
wiping out deficit budgets and I promise you that I will not table a deficit
budget in this house, but it will take some hard work on our part. Firstly we
are going to have to cut non-essential items. This means that wish list
projects such as the film festival are not going to be possible – at least not
for this year. Also, we are going to have to rein in our spending on personnel
– the amount we spend on salaries has been growing steadily as a proportion of
our budget, and we need to watch that this does not crowd out crucial operating
Madame Speaker, we
certainly need to cut the amount that we are spending on consultants. I have
never been able to understand why, when you employ someone to do a job, you
then have to hire a team of consultants to do that job as well. We can do
without one or the other, and my preference is that we should be building
internal capacity to do the job.
There are a few
things I don’t want to see cut. We need to grow the local economy and create
jobs, modernise archaic administration and billing systems, root out corruption
at all levels, fix decaying infrastructure and falling service levels, amongst
We have to
prioritise services to our people – clean water, decent sanitation, regular
waste collection, proper housing, electricity, roads that are free of potholes.
I also want us to prioritise the youthdevelopment and the eradication of
unemployment in our city. We simply cannot allow our children to grow up in a
city without hope. And if we cannot offer them space in a productive economy,
we are not really offering them a future at all.
I am also concerned
that we need to be taking a long hard look at some of the big infrastructure
projects in this city. The Nooitgedacht water transfer scheme seems to be
absolutely essential to prevent this city from running out of bulk water
supply. We have been enormously encouraged by the commitment from the Minister
of Water and Sanitation to provide one-hundred and twenty-eight million rand
towards this scheme, and we are now looking at how to make up the difference. I
am not sure whether we can afford or even need the more expensive Fish Water
Flats waste water treatment plant at this stage. And we certainly need to
review the financing model and rollout of the Bus Rapid Transit system.
Madame Speaker, our
officials are hard at work to cut the budget correctly so that we prioritize
appropriately. This means that a few more days are needed. We plan to finalise
a revised draft of the budget by the end of this week and table the budget for
adoption at the next Council meeting.
Yesterday, I had a
meeting with National Treasury, who have been very supportive in this process.
We will continue to engage them in finalizing the budget process and complying
with Section 25 (1) of the Municipal Finance Management Act.
Last week I also
spoke about the support package that has been put together by national and
provincial government as part of the process of supporting the turnaround in
the metro and addressing the challenges that we face. We received criticism
that this collaborative effort between the three spheres of government could be
considered as a lack of confidence in the ability of our leadership. Nothing
could be further from the truth.
support package has been put together in response to the request by the newly
appointed leadership of the municipality for national and provincial support to
address critical capacity requirements. We are grateful for the leading role
that Cooperative Governance played in this regard.
However, I would
like to make it clear that it was done in terms of Section 154 of the
constitution which states that national and provincial government, through
legislative and other means are required to support local government in the
exercise of its responsibilities.
We aim to implement
the intervention plan to address people’s concerns about service delivery,
create a sound base for economic growth and job creation, entrench good
governance and accountability at political and administrative levels and root
out corruption amongst others.
As I have already
said, youth unemployment in the metro is an overriding priority, and the
intervention plan will aim to create an environment conducive for economic
growth and job creation. The delivery of economic infrastructure and services
will be improved, key regulatory processes (re-zonings, building plan
approvals, etc) will be sped up, and catalytic projects in integration zones
will be expedited.
spatial form of the city will be finally tackled through the development of a
truly transformational Built Environmental Performance Plan (BEPP), and
integration zones between township and town.
We are also focusing
on some quick win projectswhich can ensure that people see immediate and
visible improvements. It is vitally important thatCouncillors know about
developments in each ward and communicate these to residents. Specific areas in
which quick wins will be expedited are:
electrification of informal areas
street lighting in townships to increase safety and security
bucket eradication by:
the blockages in moving people to existing serviced sites at Khayamnandi
development to include water-borne sanitation at Joe Slovo green fieldshousing
project and Walmer informal settlement
provision of temporary ablution facilities in informal settlements
the frequency of waste collection
up road maintenance (e.g. repair of potholes, cleaning of drains)
The support package
will be coordinated by a Political Steering Committee convened by theMinister
for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Comrade Pravin Gordhan, the
Eastern Cape Premier and MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional
Affairs, the municipal Troika together with ministers from service delivery
A Technical Support
Committee comprised of officials from the three spheres of government will
support the Political Steering Committee in the exercise of their duties.
The intervention is
planned to take place over a timeframe of six months, and it will be
comprehensively reviewed at the end of this year in order to determine its
I know that you are
as committed as I am to turningthis metro around, and I am sure that you will
join me in thanking the Minister of COGTA, and his colleagues in national and
provincial government, for working with us to make this city great again.
Fellow Councillors, we must believe that even in the face of what seems
insurmountable, this municipality will not evade its responsibilities. We are
determined to stay on course - on the road to a better and worthy future!
As Nelson Mandela
counselled us, “Overcoming poverty is not an act of charity; it is an act of
justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and
it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls
on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your
We thank you
DR DANNY JORDAAN
NELSON MANDELA BAY