A tale of two towns - Helen Zille

DA leader compares record of DA-run Mossel Bay with ANC controlled Hessequa Municipality

Note to editors: This is an extract of a speech prepared for delivery today in Heidelberg, part of the ANC-governed Hessequa municipality. This municipality made national news recently when the Mayor sent letters to local companies that do business with the council requesting them to donate to the ANC's local election campaign

Fellow South Africans,

It is wonderful to here in Heidelberg, one of the most beautiful parts of the Western Cape. The election on May 18 offers you a fresh start. It offers you a chance to choose a party that delivers for all. It offers you a chance to reject poor service delivery and corruption here in the Hessequa municipality.

This could be one of the best municipalities in the Western Cape. It could join the ranks of the other municipalities in the region that regularly scoop up national awards for service delivery.

Instead, the municipality is running out of money. From 2012, the municipality will have exhausted its capital reserve that is used to fund major infrastructure projects. Why is it different here? It is different because the mayor and his cronies have no interest in serving the people of this area. They are interested only in themselves.

How else do you explain the fact that most of the people employed in the Mayor's Office are his friends and family members?

How else do you explain the fact that just last week an ANC councillor told people at a public meeting that only ANC members will get houses in the new Heidelberg Housing Project?

And how else do you explain the Mayor's letter requesting local companies that do business with the municipality to donate to the ANC's election campaign? We believe that is corruption. The implications of the Mayor's letter are clear. Businesses know that if they don't donate to the ANC, they will never again be awarded a tender while the ANC is in power. He wrote:

"As you currently have contracts with our municipality - which were made possible by this ANC-run council, I would like to make a friendly request that you contribute a donation to the ANC for the election campaign, in order to continue building on your good relations with this ANC-run council."

The Mayor has admitted that he wrote the letter, but insists that he did nothing wrong. Well, it is not up to the Mayor to proclaim himself innocent. This is why the DA took the matter to the Public Protector in February.

I have it on good authority that the Public Protector has now completed her investigation into the Mayor's conduct. The Mayor's office has received a draft report and he had until Friday (8 April) to respond. It is not clear whether the Mayor met the deadline. But it is likely that he will drag this out until after the election so that it does not hurt his chances of re-election.

We believe it is in the interests of all the people under the jurisdiction of the Hessequa municipality to know the outcome of the Public Protector's investigation. You have the right to know, before election day, whether the Mayor is innocent or guilty. And so we call on Mayor Taute to respond to the Public Protector immediately so that she can make her findings public. It doesn't have to be like this here in Hessequa. This morning I was in the DA-governed municipality of Mossel Bay. It is a municipality that works. For all the people.

In Mossel Bay, we run a tight ship. We pride ourselves on clean government, sound financial management and service delivery for all.

Last year, the municipality again received a clean bill of financial health from the Auditor-General. When the ANC was in power in 2005, only 75% of revenue was collected. Now, under the DA, 95% of revenue is collected.

This means that there is more money for service delivery in Mossel Bay.

In 2008, Mossel Bay was granted the national Cleanest Town award.

In 2009, the ratings agency ranked Mossel Bay number one in the Western Cape and number six in the country for service delivery.

In the same year, the national government put Mossel Bay on the list of best performing municipalities in South Africa.

Last year, Mossel Bay was hit by the worst drought to hit the region in 132 years. The municipality, in partnership with other spheres of government, averted the crisis by building a desalination plant to turn sea water into drinking water. The municipality also completed work on what is called a reverse osmosis effluent treatment plant to purify waste water. The municipality received a ‘visionary client' award from Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) for the project.

The municipality recently completed the electrification of houses in the Asazani/Isinyoka informal settlement and has installed solar heating in 800 poor households.

Of course, Mossel Bay is not perfect. There is still a huge housing backlog there. There are still ratepayers who do not pay what they owe. And there are still some residents without access to some services.

But we are on the right track. We are moving in the right direction. We are improving peoples' lives in Mossel Bay step by step.

We can do the same in Hessequa after this election. But it is up to you.

You can choose five more years of nepotism, cronyism and corruption.

Or you can choose the DA.

So, whatever you do on 18 May, make sure you go out and vote.

And vote DA.

Because the DA delivers for all!

Issued by the DA, April 11 2011

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