Buyeye: Service delivery our priority
The deputy mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, Thsonono Buyeye, has cited the “transformation agenda” as one of his key priorities in his new role.
Buyeye who is the African Independent Congress’s only councillor in the Bay, said meetings with senior managers had revealed that the city’s top management was a boys’ choir.
In an interview with Weekend Post, Buyeye admitted that he had hoped to head up a service delivery-orientated department during the negotiations leading up to the August 27 council meeting where he was elected along with the other new leadership.
Buyeye said becoming deputy mayor had not been part of the plan and had come as a surprise.
However, he felt he could make an even bigger contribution to Bay communities.
“Being in government did not come as a surprise; we always knew that it was just a matter of time.
“Assuming the position of deputy mayor wasn’t part of the plan.
“It’s something that just came out of the negotiations but the situation changed and here we are now.”
Buyeye said his party had hoped to be visible to residents in solving service delivery-related matters.
“My party wanted me to focus on making sure that service goes to people and people need to see us there among them, not just sitting in some office.”
He said the platform would, however, give him the opportunity to contribute to more than one department.
“Initially I thought the position of deputy mayor was ceremonial, which entails cutting ribbons and stepping in when the mayor is not there.
“I had to dig and find out what the position is about. But I learnt that this is a strategic position.”
He said that his other duties included ensuring that all competencies that fell under the chief operating officer ran smoothly.
These include the Integrated Development Plan and budget review meetings.
Asked if the work he had gained from joining the new coalition in the Bay had taken time away from his causes, including the AIC’s intention to have Matatiele incorporated into KwaZulu-Natal, Buyeye said they would use other methods to achieve their goal.
“We felt like we had to compromise and we understand that the issue of Matatiele can be won even without including Nelson Mandela Bay.
“That is why we have the full endorsement of the AIC about our position but we have not changed our stance on Matatiele,” Buyeye said.
Public health portfolio head Yolisa Pali, economic development political head Queeni Pink, sports recreation, arts & culture portfolio head Lehlohonolo Mfana declined to be interviewed, while speaker Buyelwa Mafaya, head of safety & security, and roads & transport portfolio head Rose Daaminds were unavailable.
REACHING OUT: Deputy mayor Thsonono Buyeye