Service delivery is key, Mayor Danny Jordaan says
The arc of the moral universe is long, but it always bends towards justice, newly elected Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Danny Jordaan said on Thursday.
"Justice means that we must deliver consistently to the people of this area," said Jordaan in his inauguration speech.
Jordaan was elected unopposed as the new Nelson Mandela Bay executive mayor, despite the absence of opposition parties.
And while Jordaan, who is also president of the South African Football Association (Safa) was being sworn in, the world was still reeling from news of the arrest of FIFA officials in relation to a corruption probe involving the word soccer body.
Jordaan is widely credited for helping to secure the hosting of the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa.
Dozens of soccer officials are in Switzerland this week for the FIFA congress and presidential election, and Jordaan was expected to fly out to join them shortly after his inauguration.
Hundreds witness inauguration
Speaker Maria Hermans, who led proceedings, said the council meeting had been moved to the Nangoza Jebe Hall in order to accommodate members of the public, who had requested to witness Jordaan being sworn in as mayor.
Hundreds of people, many clad in ANC regalia, filled the upper balcony while dignitaries, ANC heavyweights and councillors, along with a strong media contingent, filled the lower hall.
The absence of opposition parties - including the DA, Cope and UDM - was clearly evident, as row upon row of tables on the left hand side of the hall remained empty as proceedings got under way.
Proceedings kicked off shortly after 10:00, with the Nelson Mandela Bay choir singing the national anthem and performing another piece in honour of Africa month.
Hermans then began the council meeting, pointing out that it was a special meeting to address the issue of the draft budget and the integrated development plan, but that it would also address the appointment of a new executive mayor, deputy mayor and chief whip.
Hermans noted the absence of the opposition parties but said that, even though the parties had given notice of their absence, their apologies were not accepted as they had not been submitted at least 48 hours before the meeting.
She pointed out that, despite their absence, the ANC had achieved quorum and the meeting could proceed.
Hermans then proceeded to the issue of electing the new mayor, deputy mayor and chief whip.
Jordaan was then nominated by former chief whip, Joy Seale, for the position of mayor. His nomination was unopposed and he moved to the front of the hall as hundreds chanted “Danny! Danny! Danny!”
Bicks Ndoni was then nominated unopposed as deputy mayor and Litho Suka was nominated unopposed as chief whip. They too received a hearty welcome from the crowds.
'One of the poorest performing metros'
Jordaan then gave his first speech as the new mayor, saying more needed to be done to address the shortcomings in the metro.
He highlighted that Nelson Mandela Bay, despite bearing the name of an iconic statesman, was one of the poorest performing metros, with high unemployment and slow economic growth.
He also expressed concern over the fact that many young people, having graduated, left the metro to seek opportunity elsewhere.
Jordaan said the municipality needed to focus on improving service delivery.
With a veiled reference to the strife torn Northern Areas – an area where the ANC has been losing support – Jordaan said that the delivery of consistent services also included making environments safe for residents.
He commented on how residents did not sleep on their beds, but under them, because of gang wars and bullets flying around at night, and that children going to school were more concerned about gunshots than their schoolwork.
Jordaan also said he would be taking the council to the people, and would hold more meetings in the various communities.
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