The following is an extract of a speech delivered by Athol Trollip at an illegal dumpsite in Bethelsdorp in Port Elizabeth‘s Northern Areas.
The second pillar of the DA’s vision for NMB speaks to the need for a caring city – this we launch in Port Elizabeth’s Northern Areas, where care from the Metro is desperately lacking.
This is a community long forgotten by an ANC that has only served itself.
A punitive 6% capital budget allocation for the Northern Areas is confirmation of the ANC’s total disregard this region and its people. Just 6% of the budget for this entire community is a scandalous punishment and shows a complete lack of care.
Refuse collection is sporadic at best. Areas like Kleinskool have been without refuse collection for 5 weeks, forcing residents to burn their waste on pavements.
Gangsterism and drugs continue to plague a community that is already struggling under the weight of shocking service delivery. Residents are forced away from opportunities by rampant crime, and for this the Metro is to blame.
Homes such as The Elizabeth Stuurman and Bethelsdorp Old Age Homes have been neglected to such an extent that many buildings are now a danger to residents rather than a place of sanctuary.
Residents claim that the current administration has promised to revamp the homes, but still they remain dilapidated – this is not a fair treatment of our most vulnerable citizens.
Municipality-run clinics are a disgrace, with insufficient staffing, regular stock-outs and crumbling infrastructure.
Corruption is the real enemy of fairness. We need a government that actually deals with this social-ill rather than only suspending officials on full pay or giving them golden handshakes. Suspensions don’t restore service, they just make good headlines.
A government that is actually committed to fighting corruption will show us the relevant charge sheets and will tell us when prosecution will take place.
Instead, we are left to guess what might happen to people like Roland Williams and Mpilo Mbambisa, who just slip below the radar, while on full pay. Williams and Mbambisa remain cared for, while the Metro doesn’t care for its residents.
This paints a picture of a community left to fend for itself. This is not real freedom, considering that our democracy was born over 20 years ago.
Therefore, a caring city, under a DA government, would ensure:
- Weekly refuse collection for all communities.
- A dedicated illegal dumping task team that cracks down on illegal dumping.
- Public-private partnerships that allow for designated recycling and dump sites.
- Metro law enforcement unit with anti-gang and anti-drug units, as has been successfully and effectively implemented in the City of Cape Town, under the DA.
- Monthly audits and assessments of municipality-run clinics to monitor stock levels and staffing operations.
- A review of the indigent database so that those who should be getting free service delivery actually get it.
In just two short weeks of this campaign I have already engaged personally with over 1000 residents in Nelson Mandela Bay. Residents of the Bay speak at pain about the urgency with which people want change. Change that starts real and reliable delivery. Change that actually stops corruption in its tracks. Change that creates jobs.
This change is now long overdue. The people of this Metro need not feel uncared for anymore – the 2016 elections will present an opportunity to bring change that delivers freedom and fairness for all.
I want to build a caring Metro that hears its residents, one and all. I want to create a government that is close to the people, accessible to the people, and among the people.
A caring Metro will be one that doesn’t turn away from its most needy residents and instead focuses on being well-run and forward-thinking.
Under the DA and with me as Mayor, this will be our reality. Together, we will turn Nelson Mandela Bay into the Metro we all know it can be: a caring city of hope.
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