Friday Briefing | Falling Apart: The collapse of governance in the Eastern Cape

friday briefing

The Eastern Cape: Among the most beautiful but one of the most corrupt provinces

The Eastern Cape rivals the Western Cape in what it has to offer tourists in terms of natural beauty. Pity it lacks the supporting physical and regulatory infrastructure. This is largely due to stubborn corruption.     

The province has failed throughout the years, to take advantage of its spectacular beauty and coax tourists to its stunning shores and its equally beautiful hinterland. Tourism, infrastructure development and supporting commercial and business services could boost the province's economy and have a multiplier effect on other areas. It would appear that both the Eastern Cape's government, and its people, simply couldn't be bothered. 

This lax attitude is reflected in every aspect of government and private sector performance in the province. Corruption festers unabated and is seemingly even encouraged. There is little service delivery and the poor seem to have given up any expectation of a leg up from government. Improper governance engulfs the entire province, with municipalities also finding themselves in this quagmire. It's worth bearing in mind that the Eastern Cape amalgamated two former bantustans and administrations within it, and perhaps this explains in some limited part this inheritance in the way that things are done. But 26 years after democracy, this excuse is wearing thin, even if disagreeable cultures remain residual.    

The Auditor General's recent report into municipalities stated that a widespread lack of financial controls and project monitoring, an ongoing culture of a lack of accountability, and a tolerance of transgression has resulted in a further regression in audit outcomes in the province. You don't have to look any further than one of the province's major metros, the Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB). NMB has lurched from one crisis to the next with little indication that anyone seems willing to rectify this mode of operaton and see it function.  

In today's edition of the Friday Briefing, Dr Mcebisi Ndletyana takes a look at the province's leadership and whether there will be any accountabilty. Andrew Whitfield who served in the cabinet of former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip delves into what has gone wrong for the municipality since the DA-led coalition council collapsed in 2018. Lizeka Tandwa then breaks down the mistakes the national ANC made in its approach to governing in NMB. Extracts from Crispain Olver's book 'How to Steal a City' provides a closing glimpse at some of the corruption prevalent when he was a senior government official in NMB.

Stay well,

Vanessa Banton

Opinions Editor.


The Eastern Cape’s leadership problem

The collapse of governance in the Eastern Cape has been a long time coming in a province not known for its accountability

By Mcebisi Ndletyana 

The fall, the rise and collapse of Nelson Mandela Bay

The Nelson Mandela Bay metro has undergone several changes over the years, depending on who had control of the municipality

By Andrew Whitfield

The ANC: Failing to lead in Nelson Mandela Bay 

Will voters in Nelson Mandela Bay once again punish the ANC over its failure to lead in the metro, like they did in 2016?

By Lizeka Tandwa

EXTRACT | How to steal a city: The battle for Nelson Mandela Bay

An extract taken from the book 'How to Steal a City' which gives an insider account of how the Nelson Mandela Bay administration was entirely captured and bled dry by a criminal syndicate, how factional politics within the ANC abetted that corruption, and how a comprehensive clean-up was eventually conducted.

By Crispian Olver 

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