The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber president, Mr Mandla Madwara, and CEO, Mr Kevin Hustler, today issued an open call for the urgent reconsideration of the proposed one percent hike that would see rate payers in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro pay towards the costs of a Metro police force.
This is an urgent call for the City to apply its mind to the alternatives that organised business believes exist within the budgeting process of the forthcoming financial year.
As the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber, we do not believe that the proposal of an additional one percent increase towards the funding of a Metro police force is a priority. We call for strategic leadership that reflects an understanding of the socio-economic challenges faced by the citizens of this Metro to restore business confidence, and to encourage confidence in our city’s long-term growth.
As the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber, we view the call by the city of an additional one percent increase as counter-productive and in conflict with the required understanding of the strain business and the ordinary citizens are under.
We acknowledge that crime is an inhibitor to an enabling environment for business, and that it impacts directly on citizens’ way of life.
Organised business makes a call for the urgent reconsideration of the proposed one percent hike that would see rate payers in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro pay towards the costs of a Metro police force.
Until infrastructure development and service delivery are demonstrable priorities, and the needs of the people of Nelson Mandela Bay are acted upon and effective solutions implemented, we say: This far, and no further.
Together, as Apex stakeholders and citizens of all persuasions, we can chart a new economic and social trajectory by accepting that without a clear business plan, our city will fall into further decline. Our city faces major challenges. Introspection is needed, as well as firm and decisive leadership to the benefit of all in Nelson Mandela Bay.
While there may be a strategic requirement for the need for the Metro Police Force, we call on the city leadership to find common ground and put ideologies aside in the spirit of transparency and consultation.
The IDP consultation process should be used to unlock and develop new alternatives in funding.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber objects to the proposal on behalf of organised business, and believes strongly that:
- In light of service delivery protests, it is unacceptable to divert funding in such a way.
- Departments should not be asked to scale back on what is already inefficient spending in a number of key areas.
- The lack of ring-fencing of funds meant for electricity infrastructure upgrades and maintenance is an indictment on the Metro.
- Rate payers in this Metro cannot be further penalised, as they already suffer under a significant lack of service delivery.
- An increase such as the one proposed would be unsustainable, and is a slap in the face of business owners and rate payers who have accommodated increased costs on all fronts.
- The Metro should set about making better use of its current and existing resources before exploring an increase in rates. Positive actions steps could include the collection of the massive debt owed in traffic fines.
- Organised business cannot support the proposed one percent hike as long as there are alternatives that will better service the city and its people.
The core business of the Metro should, for the foreseeable future, focus on the building and maintenance of current infrastructure as it relates to vital service delivery, mainly in the spheres of critical water and electricity infrastructure.
If the City is unable to oversee the running of an effective and efficient Traffic Department that upholds the rule of law in our Metropole, then how will a Municipal Police Force be any different?
We as business have not been consulted on this proposal. We request that the business plan be tabled and that council adequately justify why this is now a priority.
Business implores the Metro to cut its cloth according to its existing budget. The Goose that lays the golden egg – the rate payers – can no longer afford to carry unwarranted additional burdens.
We believe that business has a substantial case regarding the urgent provision of water and electricity infrastructure, and that the citizens of this Metro deserve priority attention regarding the housing backlog, the eradication of the bucket system, and road infrastructure.
Organised business can no longer condone throwing good money after bad.
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