ANC at risk of losing Mandela Bay – Zuma
President Jacob Zuma has warned that the ANC runs the risk of losing the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality if it doesn’t reconnect with people on the ground.
In what sources called “damage control” after the ANC lost a crucial ward in the city, Zuma and Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane launched their War on Water Leaks programme at the Dan Qeqe Stadium in Zwide on Friday.
The stadium is close to Veeplaas, which is part of the ward the ANC lost to the United Democratic Movement last week.
Zuma also walked around the area fixing leaking taps.
Later in the evening, Zuma took to the podium at a gala dinner at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
He told the largely ANC audience that if the party did not take drastic steps, it would lose the metro.
A councillor who attended the dinner, but asked not to be named, told City Press: “He said the party could not afford to lose the metro as it was historically an ANC stronghold, where the likes of Govan Mbeki are buried.”
ANC Eastern Cape chairperson and Premier Phumulo Masualle and a number of his MECs were at the event. Also there was Charles Nqakula, who chairs the task team that is temporarily running the ANC in the Nelson Mandela Bay region.
Four independent sources said Zuma, who planned to remain in Port Elizabeth until today to take stock of the ANC’s problems in the region, was concerned, along with the national leadership of the ruling party, about how they would perform next year.
He has instructed party operatives to reconnect with people in an effort to win them back.
“The president said all ANC members must defend the party and go back to basics.
“They must go door to door and make sure people vote ANC next year,” said a source, who did not want to be named because he was not authorised to speak on party matters.
About 15 000 people, most of them bused in from outside the area, packed Dan Qeqe Stadium in what looked more like an ANC rally than a government event.
The crowd, some wearing ANC colours, sang proZuma songs and chanted ANC slogans.
Zuma told the crowd government would act to speed up service delivery in the metro.
“As part of the measures to improve service delivery in Nelson Mandela Bay, national government, through the minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs, has presented a support package to council and this has been formally adopted,” said Zuma.
The president said he was confident that Port Elizabeth Mayor Danny Jordaan, with whom he shared the stage, would help to turn the municipality around. “I want to assure you government will do everything possible to ensure this city is revitalised and returns to its former glory,” he said. Jordaan has already started to act. Reports indicate he is negotiating an exit package for the city manager.
Government efforts to boost service delivery in the Nelson Mandela Bay area have intensified over the past few months. In May, Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu announced that about R1 billion had been set aside to assist the city’s human settlements department to improve the provision of housing to those in need.
ANC Eastern Cape spokesperson Mlibo Qoboshiyane said the president and national leadership of the party were naturally worried about the possibility of losing the metro to other parties.
He said the ANC would soon launch an election strategy specifically for the Nelson Mandela Bay metro region.
MR FIX-IT President Jacob Zuma replaces a tap while Water Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane looks on. This week the president launched the government’s War on Water Leaks programme, designed to train 15 000 young people nationally. Water losses cost the country R7 billion each year