DANNY Jordaan has fired the first salvo in the battle to conquer the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality.
As its newly appointed mayor, the soccer boss will today unveil a budget that is aimed at stopping the decline of support for the ANC in the Eastern Cape metro.
It is expected to be one of the most contested municipalities in local government polls next year.
Support for the ANC there has declined from 51% in the 2011 local government elections to 48% in the May 2014 national poll.
The ANC has a shaky command in seven metros and is worried that losing Nelson Mandela Bay will be the start of more problems for the ruling party.
Jordaan — who is in the shadow of the Fifa corruption scandal and was last week accused of having not paid his home electricity account for seven years — is the trump card in the ANC‘s fight to win back voter support in the metro.
Today he will reveal his game plan, which will include:
ýNo more overseas travel for
ýLess spending on public holiday celebrations, conferences and car hire; and
ýNo hiring of non-essential staff.
Jordaan‘s proposed budget will bring the Nelson Mandela Bay
operating budget from a deficit of R430-million to a surplus of
Chief financial officer Trevor Harper said yesterday one of the biggest changes was that overseas travel had been completely slashed: “International travel has been cut 100%.”
This means that municipal officials or politicians can travel overseas only if the person or organisation inviting them pays.
“The budget for public holiday celebrations has been cut by 50%. Conferences, travel and vehicle hire have been cut by 50%. And the council agenda will no longer be couriered; it will be sent by
e-mail and if the councillors want a hard copy, they will have to collect it,” said Harper.
“Certain posts will not be filled. We‘ve cut the budget for filling of vacancies by R152-million,” he said.
Other expected major adjustments include:
ýNo budget for scarce skills allowances currently paid to staff, such as electricity employees;
ýThe budget for contract security services to be cut 40%;
ýNo budget for the position of executive director of special projects and programmes. The job will be incorporated into the chief operating officer‘s office; and
ýA 90% cut in the budget for furniture and office equipment.
The other metros where the ANC is losing support include Tshwane, the seat of government. In the 2014 election, votes for the ANC declined from 55.32% of the total in 2011 to 50.96%.
ANC votes in the Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Mangaung and Buffalo City metros have also decreased since 2011.
The DA and other opposition parties want to dethrone the ANC in Nelson Mandela Bay and Tshwane next year.
The DA‘s mayoral candidate for the Nelson Mandela metro, Athol Trollip, has called Jordaan‘s appointment “a new facade for the same problems”.
He said Jordaan would not be able to turn around the “chaotic ANC administration”.
Jordaan will have to convince the council of his reasons for cutting the infrastructure repairs and maintenance budget by R123-million.
The DA said it would not support the budget as it did not “adequately address the demands of an opportunity city”.
This article first appeared in The Times