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'We will fight this hostile takeover of the Bay with everything we got': Maimane

By Afikile Lugunya - Mar 20, 2018
'We will fight this hostile takeover of the Bay with everything we got': Maimane

With a special Council meeting set for next week Thursday to decide the fate of Athol Trollip as Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader, Mmusi Maimane, accompanied by DA Eastern Cape Provincial Leader, Nqaba Bhanga, Provincial Chairperson, Andrew Whitfield, on Tuesday led a 'HandsOffMayorTrollip' campaign in Uitenhage.

It's not just Trollip facing chop, but also members of his Mayoral Committee as well as Council Speaker, Jonathan Lawack, and Chief Whip, Werner Senekal.

Maimane's visit was meant to remind Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality residents of the "great work" that Trollip has done “trying to fix ANC’s corruption and mistakes” since assuming the position of Executive Mayor following the 2016 Local Government Elections.

Addressing supporters, Trollip said that when the DA-led coalition government came into office in 2016, they stopped corruption, and determined to grow the local economy and create as many jobs as possible.

He added that service delivery has improved in the Bay in only 18 months after they "inherited hunger and less job opportunities" from the then African National Congress (ANC) led administration.

Trollip’s speech was, however, interrupted by ANC members, who came and made loud noises every time Trollip tried to engage with those gathered.

In his address Bhanga said that the DA should be applauded for its values adding that if it were other parties that had been interrupted during their rally, there would have been chaos.

Bhanga said that Trollip was chosen by the DA to lead the Nelson Mandela Bay because of his leadership skills not because of the colour of his skin.

“We are not scared [of the coming motions] because leadership is the goodwill of the DA and is not going to be defeated,” he added.

Maimane said that he was also intrigued by the ANC members, who had joined the rally and told them to go back to their councillors with a massage: “Tell them enough is enough!”

He said that the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Julius Malema, together with the ANC have "colluded in becoming the enemies of the people".

“I will not be united with thieves, but I will be united with people, who are for the people,” Maimane added.

He said the DA is for everyone and does not pick its leaders because of the colour of their skin.

Maimane said that they have a letter signed by leaders from every major church group in Nelson Mandela Bay 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.”

He said that the people of the Metro want accountability "... 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," he said.

"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."

He said that when the DA won the Bay, it 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.',” he described.

"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."

Maimane said that 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," he added.

"And the people certainly do not want the ANC back in charge here.

"[On Monday], 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."

Maimane said that Trollip’s effect is visible in every single aspect of governance in the Bay.

"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," he said.

"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."

He said that the DA-led colition has installed lighting along the main road, fixed water leaks and painted road markings in townships like Kwanobuhle.

"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!" Maimane said.

"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!"