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ANC says DA coalition has brought nothing but misery to the Bay one year on

Aug 18, 2017
ANC says DA coalition has brought nothing but misery to the Bay one year on

While reflecting on Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip's, maiden State of the Metro Address, the African National Congress (ANC) in the Bay on Thursday said that the Democratic Alliance (DA)-led Coalition has brought nothing but "blues in the Metro".

The party, which is now the official opposition after being booted out by a coalition of parties in the 2016 Local Government Elections, said that it has prepared a 30-page performance assessment report, which will be provided to the residents of Nelson Mandela Bay highlighting the coalition's failure to move the region forward one year into its administration. 

Accordingt to Gift Ngqondi, ANC Nelson Mandela Bay Region Spokesperson, the ANC is concerned that over the last 365 days after taking office with "lofty promises":

  • The DA has introduced no new mechanisms, systems and or promises to bring local government close to our people.
  • No entrepreneurship centres or job zones have been launched.
  • No infrastructure upgrade detection and monitoring team exist. 
  • There are no Anti-Drug and Anti-Gangsterism Units.
  • The Coalition has launched few forensic audits, but essentially is relying on previously commissioned ones.
  • The IPTS system is still dormant.

Ngqondi said that Planning for the Nelson Mandela Bay for the next five years particularly in terms of economic development and job creation is woefully inadequate.

"Refuse removal and cleansing appear to be at all-time low," he added.

"The Electricity account is in an acknowledged financial crisis.

"The Integrated Public Transport System is plunging on, with no financial model that have been presented to Council. We believe this could lead to an unplanned Operating Expense of between R50 to R75 million in the 2017/18 financial year.

"The Housing Revolving Fund is rising in an uncontrolled manner, which could necessitate a write-off of up to R100 million."

He added that the focus of catalytic project spending has moved away from the poor areas to the wealthiest suburbs.

"The free wi-fi distribution project has disappeared; Forced removals are back in vogue: justified now by the twin reasons of legality and public order (exactly the justification used by the Nationalist Party government in the 1970/80’s), they are unnecessary and cruel attack to our poorest citizens. To spend R2,2 million on legal fees to destroy poor people’s properties in order to justify your policy failures is disgusting and disgraceful," described Ngqondi.

"The Helenvale development project is lurching from disaster to disaster and appears to be unfunded in the budget 2017/18 financial year."

BUDGET

The ANC in the Bay said that the 2017/18 Budget has multiple short comings.

According to Ngqondi; "The deficit on the Operating Account (originally a surplus was aspired to) has risen from R34 million (1st April 2017) to R125 million (the Budget the DA Led Coalition passed) to R150 million (when the Electricity tariffs were finally agreed. We strongly believe significant expenses have not been accounted for, and that the deficit in 2017/18 financial year will end up between R350 and R500 million."

He said that cash holdings in the 2016/17 year dropped by R120 million (year on year) or by R171 million (Budget Projection to Actual).

"Cash holdings on 30 June 2017 exceeded the required reserves by only R160 million. While the 2017/18 budget predicts a large cash surplus, again we don’t believe that projection," he added.

"The 2017/18 Budget is presented as a Pro-Poor Budget,based on no analysis of what 'Pro Poor' means ,and on a flawed analysis of the figures (see previous ) .It is in fact the least Pro-Poor budget since democracy. The entire lack of funding for new community facilities in poor areas over a three (3) year period is appalling.

"Tariffs, particularly property rates have risen by too large a percentage and will result in increased bad debt. The determination to withdraw the Assistance to The Poor benefits from many poor households in the African townships and Northern Areas is cruel and unnecessary."

ARE WE HEADING FOR A FINANCIAL CRISIS?

Ngqondi quoted Rudiger Dornbusch,the German Economist who was for many years a revered Professor at MIT wrote that: A financial crisis takes a much longer time to come than you think, but then it happens much faster than you would have thought.

"We are not in a crisis yet, but three worrying trends have emerged:

• The drop-in cash holdings in 2016/17 financial year;
• The unqualified budget deficit for 2017/18; and 
• The lack of adequate modelling and controls on specific Directorates and projects," he said.

"If cash holdings drop below the total of dedicated reserves (sometimes built over years) we will be using dedicated reserves to fund working capital -and this is the road to hell. 

"And if the quality of financial modelling does not catch up with Directorates/projects mentioned in this assessment report, we will rapidly get there. We want National Treasury to conduct an analysis of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality 2017/18 Budget."

Ngqondi emphasized that the coalition has brought nothing but misery for the residents of the Bay.

"In our view as the African National Congress – the DA Led Coalition is the least democratic institution we have ever seen," he described.

"Rather it is the despotic autocracy of one man. Coalition partners are wooed, wed, used, chewed up and spat on.

"Caucus members of this Coalition repeatedly tell us that the must shut up and do as they are told and instructed."

Ngqondi, quoting Jeffrey Sachs, a renowned Columbia University Economist, said that the psychological characteristics needed for constructive governance are honesty, dignity, competence, empathy, relevant experience and capacity to plan.

"We believe that the DA leadership, making policy in a 'say -as-you-go' manner, with no intention or capacity to follow through; and with a 'stranger-to-the-truth' attitude to the facts is driving Nelson Mandela Bay down the road to instability and eventually chaos. It is no way approaches Sach’s description above," he further said.

"Coalition partners are rebelling, Council meetings are postponed, senior appointments crash and need expensive re-scheduling, and on and on.

"The DA’s management style is in our view, leading to poorer and wealthier communities pulling apart, the seeds of a disaster this Metro does not deserve. Truly, the DA Led Coalition is plan less and clueless as it now is, stumbles on, bringing the blues to Nelson Mandela Bay."