The speech that got me physically removed by the Mayor’s bodyguards

STATEMENT

Speech to eThekwini Council 29 May 2013

Speaker, what we have seen today in this council is an example of the general malaise affecting this City government, and in this instance specifically, the process by which we review and amend our IDP.

This council is not genuinely interested in real public participation, instead imposing its view on the residents of this city. Mr Speaker, this approach is not altogether dissimilar to your own handling of these council meetings. The rule book is merely a rough guide and you use your majority to make your own rules as you go along.

Mr Speaker, let me provide a few examples.

First, the IDP 2011/12 states the vision of this City as follows:

“By 2020, eThekwini will enjoy the reputation of being Africa’s most caring and liveable city, where all citizens live in harmony.”

However, in 2012/13 something changed, rather surreptitiously, and by its repetition in this IDP confirms it was no error. The last two IDPs reflect a changed vision for our City, and I quote:

“By 2030, eThekwini will be Africa’s most caring and liveable city.”

Now, Mr Speaker, this is interesting for two reasons. First, speaker, the extension, without discussion or motivation of the timeline in our vision by a decade from 2020 to 2030. Clearly, Speaker the ANC realizes that it’s poor track record of delivery crippled by corruption and cronyism has made the achievement of this vision by 2020 impossible.

After all, Mr Speaker, the slums we have built in the form of unserviced transit camps hardly serve as the best example of “caring and liveable”.

Second, how is it that we unilaterally discard the vision of a City “where all citizens live in harmony.” Is this not something so crucial to the spirit of our democracy that we should debate in full the change to our vision to remove this aim? Instead, is it simply edited out.

Speaker, the extra decade is not what is needed to ensure the achievement of this vision. What is required is a change in the attitude of this government. Take, for example, the poor attitude demonstrated by Cllr Nigel Gumede today through his admission of deliberate selective delivery based on political affiliation.

Speaker, the second example draws on the community of Umbilo and the state of the Umbilo Congella Sports Club. This crucial community asset, and the only public hall in the ward, has experienced near destruction as a result of inaction and failure to deliver. If the people of Umbilo were fully and genuinely consulted in the process of establishing regional priorities in the IDP, I assure you that we wouldn’t be waiting until 2014/15 for action to be take in renovating this crucial public facility.

Lastly, Speaker, p178 of this IDP reflects the obligation on this City to ensure “Traffic regulation and supervision in public roads.” As a further demonstration of what I am talking about Mr Speaker, and in spite of community protests against speeding, like the one recently in KwaMashu where school children were being killed, we still have only one mobile speed timing device. Speaker I have brought this failure to deliver to this council’s attention on a repeated basis and the attitude has been to simply ignore what, in the end, is a statutory obligation on this council.

Speaker, the ANC has a 62% majority in this council yet behaves as if it has a 100% majority. Public participation and genuine, meaningful consultation is a crucial component of our democracy. By going through public participation as a check box exercise without any meaningful consultation taking place, the ANC simply wasting the time and money of its residents in what is currently a farce.

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