New Mandela Metro Mayor vows to make job creation a priority

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The newly-elected mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, Retief Odendaal says he will make the creation of jobs, the alleviation of poverty and dealing with the current drought his priority.

The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Odendaal was elected as a new mayor in a marathon council meeting that continued into the early hours of Thursday morning in Gqeberha.

He replaces the African National Congress’ (ANC) Eugene Johnson who was ousted through a motion of no confidence in the same council meeting on Wednesday.

The Abantu Integrity Movement’s (AIM) Mkhuseli Jack and Freedom Front Plus’  (FF+) Bill Harrington were elected unopposed as deputy mayor and Chief Whip respectively.

Odendaal says the delivery of basic services is his priority.

He says, “We need to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, unemployment is our biggest problem in the city. Second to that, we’ve got a massive water crisis in the city, one of the longest drought on record and because of this drought, there is no water security in the base. No business wants to invest in the city that has got no water security. And thirdly we’ve got a massive housing backlog about 110 000 houses need to be delivered.”

The metro’s ANC regional secretary, Luyolo Nqakula, says they accept the outcomes of the council meeting.

Nqakula says, “We’ve got no qualms about the outcome, we’ve got no dispute about the outcome as the ANC it’s three in the morning and we are still here. We are continuing with the meeting because we had said that our priority as the organisation is still held accountable by the communities with the majority of wards in this particular municipality which are ANC-led. There are issues of service delivery which are critical items of which this particular council must dispense of.”

VIDEO | Mandela Bay Mayor Eugene Johnson removed: