The following remarks were delivered by the Leader of the Democratic Alliance, Mmusi Maimane, in Babs Madlakane Hall in KwaNobuhle today. The Leader addressed residents of Nelson Mandela Bay to highlight the DA’s successes under Mayor Athol Trollip ahead of the EFF’s motion of no confidence.
Fellow South Africans
We are here today to say: Nelson Mandela Bay can never go back to the looting and neglect it suffered under the ANC. We are here to put the people of this city first.
And we are not alone in this fight. This is confirmed by a letter signed by leaders from every major church group in NMB in which they say: “We do not support the current political initiative to remove the Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay. We believe it will have the catastrophic effect of seriously destabilising our metro at this critical juncture.”
The people of NMB want accountability from their government. They want service delivery, they want jobs and they want to feel safe in their communities. And they will not get this from the ANC.
For many years this great city of Nelson Mandela Bay was under attack. Not an attack from an outside force, but an attack from its very own government.
Under the ANC, every project, every tender, every procurement contract was simply a chance for someone connected to the government to make money. Everything had a double price tag – one price for the project and another for the profit of the corrupt official.
Billions of Rands meant for the poorest people of the city ended up in the pockets of cadres and their crooked cronies. In the process education, health, housing, infrastructure and basic service delivery were all left in ruin.
In the absence of law and order, violent crime skyrocketed and gangs took over large parts of the metro. Life for the people of NMB got worse here by the day.
The ANC had successfully carried out the most complete plunder of a city our country has ever seen.
When the DA campaigned here in 2016, this is what we promised to fix. We said: All we care about is returning this city to its people – improving services, making neighbourhoods safer and bringing back jobs.
We also said that whoever shared these priorities could be our partners in rebuilding Nelson Mandela Bay.
It turns out this is exactly what the people wanted here, as more people voted for the DA in 2016 than for any other party. The message was loud and clear: The days of the corrupt ANC here in NMB are done.
But it wasn’t just the people of NMB who showed the ANC the door. We had the support of most of the opposition parties too, and particularly the EFF.
Julius Malema made it very clear back then that his mission was to help save NMB from the ANC. This is what he said just after the election results were announced:
“We are the biggest enemy of the ANC. The ANC will not get a single vote from the EFF. We will vote for the opposition because the ANC must be removed from power.”
But now, barely 19 months later, Julius Malema has made another of his trademark flip-flops. He has forgotten everything he said about the ANC here in NMB, and he has made a deal with them to put them back into power.
Yes, the same ANC that bled this city dry is now being offered the keys to the money box by the man who claimed to be its biggest enemy.
Now if there was a reason for getting rid of the DA here, I could maybe understand this. If the DA had failed to deliver on its promise to the people, or if the DA had turned out to be corrupt like the ANC, I could understand why Julius Malema would consider this.
But there is no such reason. In Malema’s own words, he is doing this to get rid of Mayor Athol Trollip simply because he is white. He doesn’t even try to hide his racism any longer.
47% of the people here voted for the DA. Only 5% voted for the EFF. The vast majority of people here don’t care for Malema’s racist rants. They don’t care for his personal vendettas.
And the people certainly do not want the ANC back in charge here.
Yesterday the ANC councillor Andile Lungisa appeared in court on charges relating to violence in the Council Chamber, where he smashed a water jug over a Mayoral Committee Member’s head. That’s who the ANC and the EFF want to let back in here.
Fellow South Africans, 19 months is not a long time in government. But when you have a point to prove about serving the people, 19 months is more than enough. Since August 2016, this DA government under Mayor Athol Trollip has shown the previous ANC government up for the rotten, thieving mob it is.
Mayor Trollip’s effect is visible in every single aspect of governance in this city.
NMB now has, for the first time ever, a Metro Police Force with two satellite stations – one of them right here in Kwanobuhle. These Metro cops don’t only police routine law enforcement, they have also made arrests in significant crimes like murder and attempted murder.
The city also now has Shotspotter technology in several crime hotspots, which detects gunshots and dispatches police to the exact location. Seventeen gang-related arrests in recent months have been linked to information provided by this new technology.
Mayor Trollip has made it his mission to clean up this city – both in terms of rubbish on the street and corruption in its administration. He has authorised multiple investigations and prosecutions into money lost to corruption under the previous administration.
Projects that lay dormant for years under the ANC have been resurrected under the DA. Title deeds have been handed to residents, facilities like the Thusong Customer Care Centre in Motherwell have been completed and public spaces like Seyesi Square in KwaZakhele have been developed.
Here in Kwanobuhle this DA government has installed lighting along the main road, fixed water leaks and painted road markings. And that’s just the start.
In a very short space of time the DA has made a massive difference to the way this city operates. And all of this progress is now threatened by one racist demagogue on a power trip. Julius Malema doesn’t mind taking NMB back to the days of looting under the ANC as long as he and his 5% party get to win their personal power game.
Is this what the people of NMB want? Is this what the people of NMB deserve? Absolutely not!
The people of NMB want opportunities to get ahead in life. They want access to jobs and they want to own their land. They don’t want to become permanent tenants on land that belongs to the state, which is what the EFF and ANC want.
The DA will not take this lying down. We will fight this hostile takeover of NMB with everything we have. We will continue to say: Hands off Mayor Trollip! Let him serve the people!
And then, in next year’s election, we will put this matter beyond all doubt when we kick both the ANC and the EFF out of NMB for good.