Open Letter to Nelson Mandela Bay Business: A DA Government will get back to business basics in NMB

Issued by Cllr Nqaba Bhanga – DA NMB Mayoral Candidate and current NMB Mayor
26 Oct 2021 in Press Statements

As the Executive Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay, and the DA’s Mayoral Candidate for the upcoming local government elections, I commit to running Nelson Mandela Bay like a business so that we can get our Metro back on track.

In another life, I was a professional civil servant working in the housing department in NMB as the city official responsible for social housing. I have worked hand in glove with the private sector to bridge the housing gap by partnering business with government to develop social housing projects such as Fairview.

We cannot grow our local economy unless we get back to business basics and partner with business to move our Metro forward again. If we can’t grow our economy, we won’t be able to tackle the high levels of unemployment and poverty gripping our poorest communities. Vandalism of both public and private infrastructure and rising crime rates can also only be dealt a decisive blow by a growing economy.

A metropolitan municipality is effectively a very big business and must be run like one – Nelson Mandela Bay is no different. In fact it is an R14 Billion business, and it must adopt professional business principles to execute its mandate efficiently and effectively. The only difference between our municipality and a commercial business is that our bottom line is the people of our Metro – their well-being, lives and livelihoods must always be at the heart of our business model.

The DA has fielded a diverse and skilled team of candidates who will be performance managed to ensure that they are held accountable to key deliverables. It will not be business as usual in NMB. We will shift gears and demand more from both our public representatives and our municipal officials.

While our local manifesto sets out our commitment to the people of NMB under five core offers, I am still asked how our manifesto will create an enabling environment for business to thrive?

So, here is my plan to get down to business and support economic growth in NMB:

  1. Electricity independence:

Eskom remains the greatest threat to business and the growth of our economy. Reducing NMB’s dependence on Eskom will be my mission over the next five years so that we can minimise the negative impact of load shedding on businesses and residents. In our manifesto, I have committed to reducing NMBs dependence on Eskom by 50% in the next five years by moving aggressively to purchase electricity from independent power producers for a more resilient and sustainable future.

  1. Water Management:

I will oversee the drafting of a new Water Masterplan which will dictate how the Metro will respond to climate change and address the frequent droughts in our region. This Water Masterplan will focus on investment in water infrastructure, identifying alternative water resources, introducing affordable desalination plants, and solutions to optimise existing water resources from storage dams and the Nooitgedacht Low-level scheme.

  1. Merit-based appointments:

We will employ only the most qualified and fit for purpose officials in all departments. This includes employing permanent and qualified senior managers appointed on merit and not political connections.

  1. Effective performance management:

A new and transparent dashboard for performance management of senior management will be established so that members of the public can have insight into the performance of civil servants

  1. Public/Private Partnerships:

We will establish public-private partnerships to plug any delivery gaps which may exist. We have already done this by working with businesses to protect municipal infrastructure.

  1. Overhaul supply chain:

We will overhaul the supply chain management department, which has become a nexus of corruption and dysfunctionality over many years. Appointing a highly qualified individual with unimpeachable integrity as Director will be my number one priority.

  1. Investment incentives:

We will review our investment incentive policy to ensure that incentives are targeted at key economic sectors with high yield employment potential, such as manufacturing.

  1. Long Term Economic Growth:

Between 2016 and 2018, the DA coalition, together with business, developed an excellent long term economic growth plan which was never brought to Council due to coalition instability. I will dust it off, update it and ensure that it is fully implemented as a matter of urgency.

  1. Service Delivery:

We will ensure that every service delivery department works closely with the relevant task teams established by the NMB Business Chamber to identify opportunities for partnerships and information and skills sharing.

  1. Town Planning Turnaround:

I will establish a Mayoral town planning forum of professional town planners, municipal officials and property stakeholders, which will meet quarterly to evaluate the department’s performance to improve efficiency.

For more detailed information, please read our full manifesto here.

I believe this plan will ensure that it is not business as usual in NMB for the next five years. Taking hands with business, a DA government will get things done for the benefit of all our residents.

Let’s work together to build a better, brighter future and move Nelson Mandela Bay forward again.