Update on Wells Estate service delivery protests

JULY 2, 2015

The following statement was issued by Councillor Fikile Desi, Portfolio Councillor for Safety & Security in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality, with the regards to violent service delivery protests that occured on Wednesday in Wells Estate. 

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality prides itself on being a democratic institution, whose vision, decisions and actions are based on the will of the people. Indeed, we subscribe to and uphold the constitutional principle of participatory governance.

We fully understand that after twenty years of democracy, despite our best intentions, there are still many service delivery challenges. We understand further that such challenges will continue to frustrate our people, particularly the poor, who rely on local government for the provision of houses, sanitation, water, electricity, infrastructure, recreational facilities, emergency services, and to provide an environment that is conducive for economic growth and development, so that much-needed jobs are created and sustained.

Over the past two weeks, we have witnessed what is being termed as "service delivery protests" in Wells Estate.  The Chief Whip of Council, Cllr Litho Suka, together with other Councillors have visited the area and engaged with the people who had expressed their frustrations. We share in their frustrations as we are here to serve them.

We explained to the approximately 200 community members that we are working on a housing delivery programme that is metro-wide. Wells Estate is included in that programme. Over the past twenty years, housing, water, electricity, roads and recreational facilities have been delivered in Wells Estate and surrounding areas, not to mention the construction of the Port of Nqhura in addition to the investment of the FAW factory, right on its doorstep.

In the early hours of this morning, one of our municipal (Disaster Management) vehicles was set alight. Fortunately no one was hurt. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this act of arson. Whilst we acknowledge that people would want to express their frustrations at some of our service delivery challenges, there is no justification for breaking the law, for causing harm to others, and for creating havoc in our communities. We are confident that the majority of our communities appreciate the delivery of services that have taken place under our democratic governance since 1994. That community cannot be held to ransom by those who refuse to engage constructively with the Municipality.

Our doors are always open. We remain servants of the people. And we will always put the needs of the community of Nelson Mandela Bay first.

We emphatically state that anyone who breaks the law will be dealt with in accordance with the justice system of the country.

We ask that people constructively engage with us, whatever their concerns are; we will listen to them and we will respond to them. Most importantly, we will work together with them in bringing to fruition a better Nelson Mandela Bay.