On Monday, South Africa will go to the polls in what will be the sixth local government elections since 1996. For a country emerging from a conflict as intense as South Africa’s prior to 1994, this is yet another milestone in the consolidation of democracy.
As one of the councillor candidates for the African National Congress (ANC) and incumbent mayor of Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, one has been reflecting on the experience of the past five years and pondering the next half a decade.
Overall, the team of dedicated men and women in the political and administrative leadership of the city has done immense work to develop the metro, improve service delivery and deepen democracy at a local level. There is undoubtedly much more to be done and I have no doubt that the team the ANC will deploy to the metro government after the November 1 local government elections will discharge its responsibilities with distinction.
It is worth sharing a few but significant achievements we have registered during the past five years. One of our critical focal areas has been building the economy so as to impact positively on people’s lives. In a move that signalled a strong vote of confidence in our country and metro as a worthy investment destination, Mercedes Benz South Africa is investing no less than R13 billion to expand its factory and build a new plant to produce the C class model in our city between 2021 and 2027.
The investment also brings more than 30 motor vehicle component suppliers. This augers well for development, employment and social stability in our metro.
During this period, the East London Industrial Development Zone (ELIDZ) rose from a 30 percent occupancy rate in 2016 to 75 percent today. This exponential increase is evidence of a growing local economy. With the country gradually returning to pre-Covid conditions, it should be possible to record further improvement in the next five years
Apartheid spatial patterns remain one of the thorny issues for post-apartheid local governance. One of the ways through which we have been addressing this is by increased densification, equalisation of access to services and facilities, opening up new land for development close to economic nodes and developing transit-oriented corridors between economic nodes and marginalised residential areas. This is a work in progress which is also a function of the larger socio-economic transformation of the country.
Our track record speaks of a team single-mindedly focused on improving the living conditions of the people in Buffalo City. Our improved governance systems will facilitate greater progress in the next five years.
The ANC’s central policy concern has been and will, for a long time remain the resolution of the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality. We in Buffalo City have internalised the advice: “…Always bear in mind that the people are not fighting for ideas, for the things in anyone’s head. They are fighting to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, to guarantee the future of their children.
In other news – Government working on bettering domestic workers’ lives, says Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa says regulatory changes will soon improve the wages and working conditions of domestic workers.
Speaking at a Cosatu event, Ramaphosa cited a 26 percent decline in the employment of domestic workers in the first half of last year. Learn more