Mayor's call to action to divided political leadershipPublished: November 17, 2023
<< BACK TO NEWS
COUNCIL ADDRESS BY NELSON MANDELA
BAY MUNICIPALITY EXECUTIVE MAYOR GARY VAN NIEKERK ON THURSDAY, 16 NOVEMBER.
Speaker of Council,
Ladies and gentlemen.
We were born for a time such
as this. While others choose to leave crime to the South African
Police Services and govern an institution under siege from vandals and
corruption, we choose to stand up. Criminals walked these streets, long before
I became Executive Mayor. However, I am not turning a blind eye as the
residents of this city demand better of their leaders. They want us to
constantly remind those responsible for crime prevention, investigation and
prosecution, that we deserve better. They want us to play an active role in
bringing meaningful solutions to the table.
While our residents are
searching for answers, some among us are pulling publicity stunts, while they
should be held accountable for not fixing our surveillance systems to assist
the Police in fighting crime. Many innocent residents are caught in the
crosshairs of opportunistic criminals who saw a house divided, and systematically
expanded their territory. A fear of failure should never stop us from doing the
best we can, with what we have.
The family of young Chadwin
Witbooi is demanding justice for a son who should have written his exams today.
The family of those people brutally murdered in a shack in KwaDwesi on Sunday,
also yearn for justice. The same goes for the three people callously murdered
on Tuesday in Kariega. While we have a house divided, evil prospers.
National Assembly House Chairman of
Committees, Cedric Frolick, highlighted this very eloquently when we handed
over our ten-point plan on Friday. He said that while we are deliberately
focusing on votes of no-confidence and willful disruption, the bloodshed will
continue. We are part of an ecosystem that requires all hands on deck, to
restore peace and build a prosperous Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.
Deputy Executive Mayor, we are
facing a common enemy. While others are shouting across the aisle to serve
their personal interests, residents decried a life of fear and criminal mayhem
at a Crime Imbizo, held yesterday in Arcadia. With most of the top law enforcement
agencies and the National Prosecuting Authority represented, residents grasped
the opportunity to speak directly to those responsible for their safety and
We were born for a time such
as this, to show that true leadership is not about pointing fingers at other
spheres of government, but to stand up in the middle of battle and take charge.
The people under siege in Kamesh, Motherwell, KwaNobuhle, Zwide and the
Northern Areas have the same blood, that courses through our veins. Their pain
and helplessness should haunt us on a daily basis. A city under siege cannot
With cameras gathering dust in
storage, while surveillance systems were in total disrepair, we were told that
we had the best government ever. Corruption flourished, while they were
selectively addressing dishonesty, with those accused, of the most egregious of
crimes, sitting right beside them. We are not turning a blind eye.
Chief Whip, we were born for a
time such as this. Our Rapid Response
on Crime (RROC) initiative has been in place for about two months already. We
brought all those, who currently play a role in crime prevention, detection and
armed response, together to form a close collaboration. I am encouraged by the
support from private security companies, community policing forums, the South
African Police Services and our own Metro Police to tackle crime in our city.
collectively crafted this operational strategy and will continuously monitor it
to maximize our available resources.
Visible policing focused on identified crime hotspots.
South African Police Services Tactical Response Teams
must be deployed in the Northern Areas, Kariega and the townships.
An integrated Joint Operations Centre (JOC), manned by
law enforcement agencies, private security, community policing forums and
neighbourhood watches will be established in South End from next week.
CCTV video surveillance systems will be installed in
Identification of repeat offenders with a renewed
focus on cold cases and the issuing and execution of warrants of arrest.
A database of drug dens in every policing precinct
must be established, followed by actions of the Special Investigations Unit,
Asset Forfeiture Unit and the South African Revenue Services, amongst others.
The Organized Crime Unit must identify criminal
high-flyers and act by arresting and prosecuting them.
The establishment of specialized courts with dedicated
prosecutors, like during the 2010 Football World Cup, and a detectives unit that
specifically focuses on gang violence.
The establishment of a reward system aimed at
infiltrating criminal organizations by offering financial rewards to
Persistent compliance operations to stop the flow of
We were born for a time such as this.
Thank you to the MMC of Safety and Security, Cllr Stag Mitchell, and his team
for working tirelessly with top anti-crime specialists in our city to craft
this clear strategy. An implementation framework, with timeframes will now be
developed to ensure that it does not remain a plan and an impressive soundbite.
We were born to stand up in the face of
adversity and bring real change at the worst of times. We owe it to those
victims of the mass killings potentially linked to municipal tenders and financial
crimes. We owe it to the granny who prays for the safe return of her
grandchildren from school or the wellbeing of a son or daughter.
Gone are the days that politicians cover
up wrongdoing in order to point fingers after the fact.
Let us unite as men and women of
Thank you very much. Enkosi kakhulu.
Cllr Gary van