The African Nation Congress (ANC) in the Nelson Mandela Bay, with its other alliance partners, on Thursday led a mass march to City Hall to demand better service delivery from the new Democratic Alliance (DA) led administration.
Addressing those gathered for the march that began at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in North End, ANC national spokesperson, Zizi Kodwa, said that they were thankful of people from other political parties, who join them in the march to also express their unhappiness with the decisions that the DA-led administration has been taking since taking office in August.
“We must remember that the old apartheid government used black people to turn us against each other; we previously said that people must not vote for DA because it will bring back oppression,” said Kodwa.
He said that the actions of the DA-led administration, up to now, were similar to those of the apartheid regime as poor black people were now being oppressed.
A major bone of contention is the Metro’s decision to switch off electricity supply to residents, who are in arrears.
This is after the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality recently announced tough new measures to curb a decline in its revenue collection and recover R2 billion owed to it by households and businesses. Among these new measures, both domestic and commercial consumers owing the Metro will have their power switched off.
Still, Nelson Mandela Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, said that the newly introduced measures are not to strain consumers, but to sustain the municipality to continue to provide basic services to all citizens of the city.
“This march is only the beginning of a long journey, and we shall continue to lead our people and we will never going to back down,” Kodwa said.
Speaking at the march, ANC Nelson Mandela Bay Regional Task Team Convener, Vuyani Limba, said that since the DA-led coalition came into power, it has entrenched racism and the abuse of power in various aspects of the municipality.
“The residents of Nelson Mandela Bay have been complaining about the neglecting of key pillars of our democracy, which put people first and enhancing and entrenching of dictatorship, autocracy, segregation were the pillars of the apartheid past,” said Limba.
He added that, the DA-led coalition has brought more misery and pain inside and outside the municipality, with more nepotism and corruption – and basically violating the basic principles of the Developmental Local Government.
Also speaking at the march, Congress of the People (COPE) Regional Spokesperson, Thembelani Kondile, said that COPE, while it was part of coalition, they were there to stand for social justice.
“What they are doing is unfair to the residents and we cannot just sit and do nothing. We will fight for the poor residents of this Metro,” said Kondile.
South African National Civic Organisation Regional Chairperson, Mxolisi Mani, echoed him and said that the DA-led coalition has degraded the dignity of local residents, who were not engaged when the decision was made.
“This was not discussed at the council meeting, it was a decision taken elsewhere and the process of the council was tempered. The whole system is not fair to the residents, especially the poor,” said Mani.
ANC Nelson Mandela Bay leader, Bicks Ndoni, said that they will give the municipality 14 days to respond to their demands and come up with workable solution.
“We are going to make a follow up on the issue, after 14 days we expect answers from the executive mayor and if that doesn’t happen, we’ll we have a plan of moving this issue forward,” said Ndoni.
He said that the march had been successful with no violence. Senior officials from the Metro received a memorandum from the marchers on behalf of the municipality.