Nelson Mandela Bay Metro for the taking

2016-07-29 14:16

In this local government politics have been divisive pitting neighbour versus neighbour, mother versus child and brother versus sister. Interesting times lie ahead in Port Elizabeth; with the election date looming ever so quickly political parties are out scavenging for votes to secure outright wins in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro. This however does not seem likely considering the political climate of Port Elizabeth. In the recent Election debate hosted at NMMU North Campus Auditorium by ENCA was a reflection of the split vote that political parties have to contest for in order to win the metro. In attendance were the four parties ANC, DA, EFF and UDM who have their sights on becoming the new emperors of Rome.

Port Elizabeth a shell of its former self is a municipality in crisis and this runs deep into the trenches of the city. Political organizations have the ability to make people aware however in Port Elizabeth it is about them doing something as they have been aware of how the embattled city is doing , be it through the Auditor-General’s report or Statistics South Africa survey results on unemployment and racial segregation.

Port Elizabeth is a beautiful city with a wonderful potential to succeed at being the new hub of industrialization and job creation within the Eastern Cape. There all the necessary ingredients to make the city thrive however unchanging social structures, coupled with lack of key competencies are a bad combination in a rapidly changing world. The decay of the city extends to the business sector which has not played its part as a stakeholder in the city. Business Developers seem to have their interests tied firmly in making profit and ditching the social responsibility of running a business. There is a great development gap in the city and you need no go far to see this. The densely populated poor areas receive the smallest chunk from the municipal budget while the less populated urban areas receive more financial attention than the obvious problem areas.

A monopoly of wealth exists in Port Elizabeth and that is mirrored by the telling shift from when you move in and around the city. High youth unemployment shows the lack of creativity by the people hired to generate a lively economy as the continued isolation of the youth is at the detriment of the city. House Breakings is what is currently tormenting student accommodations and police are overwhelmed by the number of occurrences and a lack of Metro Police mounts the pressure on the already stretched South African Police Service who are fighting an increasingly tough battle with drugs and gangs tearing apart the Northern Areas.

Cash carrying outlets and jewellery stores have been the target of a number of hold ups, car theft, fraud and increasing drug busts show what kind of economic situation exists in Port Elizabeth. With the number of people unemployed in the city at 36% the current economic plan and social plan for increased productivity needs to be reviewed so an inclusive model can be utilised to ensure sustained growth of The Nelson Mandela Bay Metro. Service delivery is not only the responsibility of the national government but the local government which means a much thorough nomination of candidates to serve in local government is critical for the cities sustained growth. Furthermore a much more viable Investment model must be developed to ensure that a mutualistic relationship exists between companies and corporations interested in developing The Bay. Not to question the importance of investment however the livelihood of the economy should not merely rely on the government, investors or an event to create jobs. Small businesses have the capacity to contribute or start the spark for employment but that too requires trust and a working relationship between members of civil society.

It will be a tough contest for the Metro however it will be no shock when the announcement of a coalition to run The Friendly City comes after the 3rd of August. UDM are the surprise package in the run for the Metro with their candidate Bonani seemingly adamant on replacing Dani Jordaan as the Mayor of the Metro. Trollip and his blue wave of democrats are hoping to emulate the feat they achieved when taking over Cape Town in the Western Cape from the grasp of The ANC but first they will have to Split the Red Sea of Economic Freedom Fighters led by Dali Mpofu who remain optimistic of their chances of winning The Windy City. If by chance there is an outright winner they will be facing the daunting task of living up to the promises they made leading up to the local government elections.

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