Mthatha chaos ‘making us laughing stock’
Tough-talking Eastern Cape finance MEC Oscar Mabuyane has blasted city bosses for allowing Mthatha to degenerate into chaos.
Addressing an Eastern Cape Chamber of Business gala dinner at the Savoy Hotel in Mthatha on Thursday night, a visibly unimpressed Mabuyane bemoaned the fact that a city once regarded as the economic hub of the eastern side of the province, had been allowed to descend into disorder.
Among those also in attendance were the mayors of OR Tambo and King Sabata Dalindyebo (KSD) municipalities, Nomakhosazana Meth and Dumani Zozo.
“This [chaos] is making us a laughing stock,” said Mabuyane.
“People of Mthatha, we cannot allow our city to degenerate into this state.”
Mabuyane was speaking at a time when the city is marred by potholes and municipal workers recently went on strike demanding to know the criteria used for what workers claimed was an irrational and uneven payout of salaries and wages.
The payout, based on a stalled task grade salary system, was meant to catch up with back pay which went as far back as 2009. Millions were spent on the exercise.
In stark conrast, prior to Mabuyane’s address, Zozo had taken to the podium to welcome guests and had declared KSD ready for outside investments.
The mayor, who said his municipality, the third-biggest in the province after the Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City metros, had managed to resolve most of the land claims that had beset the city in recent years.
“KSD is one place to invest in. We are inviting businesses to come into KSD and present investment plans,” he enthused.
But the MEC and provincial ANC boss said that while Mthatha catered for a population of three million, it was fast becoming the crime capital of the country with some of the highest crime statistics.
The Daily Dispatch reported recently that Meth and Zozo had officially launched the #CleanMyMthatha campaign which is aimed at beautifying the city and restoring it to its former glory.
The initiative is a joint collaboration between the twoMthatha-based municipalities.
During the launch, Meth said 46 district municipal employees and two trucks had joined the campaign to clean up Mthatha.
Mabuyane also took a swipe at dodgy business deals in Bhisho.
He told the business and political guests that he had discovered a trend in Bhisho where some service providers doing business with the state had to “cough up” what was called a “release fee” to be able to get paid for their work.
“In Bhisho we need to fire someone who has not paid service providers. When you fail to pay SMMEs within 30 days, you are killing that business. Some companies end up folding.”