Help! Our city is failing, church leaders plead with Ramaphosa and Maimane
Church leaders in Port Elizabeth have written to president Cyril Ramaphosa and DA leader Mmusi Maimane expressing concerns about the “failing state" of the city.
"As the church leadership of this metro, it pains us to bring to your attention as the national leaders of the two strongest local parties, the collapse of the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, and the suffering it is causing among our parishioners and wider constituency – who are also your voters," the letter reads.
The issues the leaders say they are concerned about include a decline of systems and service delivery caused by corruption and “petty" political warfare, which they claim have reached “alarming" proportions.
"Daily, we as church leaders helplessly witness the political infighting and corruption which lead to unfulfilled promises, job losses and administrative embarrassments.
"Without your urgent intervention, the economy of this metro will collapse," they write.
The letter also cites concerns about the increasing number of unemployed people in Nelson Mandela Bay, and the persisting water crisis.
"Sadly, we are rated as the worst-performing metro in terms of revenue collection and spending. Further, R500m from Treasury was withheld due to the failure to appoint a permanent chief financial officer.
"The issue of suspended officials continues, and cases of corruption are dying in our commercial courts. These are signs of the failure of the legal department," the letter reads.
The leaders also complain of not seeing "maturity" in the coalition governance of the metro.
"There is a continual struggle for power. Council took a seven-week recess despite the National Treasury having gone on record as warning that the failure to appoint a permanent chief financial officer before the end of August 2019 would negatively impact and affect the approval of any rollover applications for unspent conditional grants," the leaders lament.
They also expressed serious concerns about poor performance of the internal audit and legal services divisions - and irregular expenditure.
"Dirty roads, unsupervised digging up of roads and pavements for fibre cables, unfixed leaking water pipes, sub-stations shorting out, and increased levels of crime are just a few of the other signs that we are in crisis."
They also raised concern about the murder and abuse of women and children.
"We call on you, as our nationally elected leaders, to bring discipline into your respective party structures in the metro, and to instruct your members to work together in order to save the city. The time for party politics and the scoring of political points at the expense of the people living in the metro must cease," reads the letter.
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