Nelson Mandela Bay has been sabotaged by its corrupt and incompetent African National Congress local government, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said on Saturday.
Speaking during the unveiling of the DA “youth bus” in Port Elizabeth, Maimane said local government determined how a city was run.
“They look after the money and decide where to spend it. If they do this well the city works. And if the city works then businesses want to be there and jobs are created. But if they don’t do it well – if they waste money, lose money, steal money – then businesses go elsewhere. Then the local economy shrinks and the city loses jobs.
“I don’t have to tell you this, but this local government – the City of Nelson Mandela Bay under [mayor] Danny Jordaan and the ANC – does not run this city well. In fact, this metro is run extremely poorly.
“When Danny Jordaan and his government are asked about their poor performance they always have a hundred excuses,” Maimane said.
The reality was, the city had everything it could possibly ask for to stimulate investment and growth. The region had two big harbours, a large Industrial Development Zone, road and rail networks, an airport, wind farms, universities, and miles and miles of beautiful coastline.
It also had thousands of unemployed people just waiting for opportunities to work. Why then was Nelson Mandela Bay not a thriving hub of industry and tourism?
“I’ll tell you why. It is because this city has been sabotaged by its corrupt and incompetent local government. They have taken a city that has so much to offer and they have destroyed its economy,” he said.
According to the latest auditor general’s report (2014/15), unauthorised, fruitless, and wasteful expenditure in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro was R457 million.
“That’s almost half-a-billion rand that should have gone towards better services, better infrastructure, and better maintenance. In other words, half-a-billion rand that belonged to the people of this city,” Maimane said.
To put this into perspective, in the DA-run City of Cape Town the figure for unauthorised, fruitless, and wasteful expenditure for the same financial year was zero.
“And that’s the difference between a DA-run city and an ANC–run city. We respect public money, and we spend it where we should. But we’re here today to talk about youth opportunities and jobs. So what does this waste and corruption do to a city’s ability to create jobs?
“Again, I’ll let the numbers speak. Unemployment in the City of Cape Town is at 23 percent. Which, for us in the DA is too high, and we are working hard at bringing that number down.
“But here in Nelson Mandela Bay, unemployment is more than 10 percent higher, at 33.3 percent. And when you look at people under the age of 35, that percentage jumps all the way up to 47 percent. Almost half the young people in this city can’t find jobs,” he said.
“And that is a direct result of a city that is run so poorly that it cannot attract the investment that creates jobs. It is time to change that. It is time to say to this local government that has sabotaged your dreams of a better future: ‘Enough. You had your chance and you blew it’. And it is time to vote [on August 3] for a local government that will turn Nelson Mandela Bay into the city it was meant to be,” Maimane said.