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Mixed reviews for Hill-Lewis’ Mayco changes as political parties get first look at new team

Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis announced his Mayoral Committee at a press conference at the Council Chambers, Civic Centre on Monday. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis announced his Mayoral Committee at a press conference at the Council Chambers, Civic Centre on Monday. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Nov 23, 2021

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Cape Town - Political parties in the City have given mixed reviews to mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis’ mayoral committee (Mayco) announced on Monday which not only saw some old familiar faces exit to be replaced by new ones, but also the retention of some long serving members of previous teams.

Announcing his selection, which on Saturday received the nod from the DA’s Federal Executive (FedEx), Hill-Lewis said they had been chosen for their combination of experience, skills, fresh energy and thinking and they had his full support.

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“I am excited for the future of Cape Town and all that we are going to achieve together.

“I made it clear in my inauguration speech that good governance is and will remain non-negotiable in Cape Town precisely because we are committed to serving the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society,” Hill-Lewis said.

Opposition parties on the council were upset but resigned to the retention of Mayco member for Safety and Security JP Smith, who has held the post since 2009, but they seemed cheered by the exit of Mayco member for Water and Waste Xanthea Limberg.

ANC caucus leader Xolani Sotashe said while the ANC felt the team was weak, they understood that Hill-Lewis had no choice but to work with what he had.

“The mayor believes this is the team that is going to help him roll out the grand plan that he presented to the council. We disagree with him because what we see here is the old guard with some new faces.

“If you look at the new faces, most of them have no experience of any kind or track record even in the portfolio committees which they chaired or served in.

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“Nevertheless, we must appreciate the bold step that Hill-Lewis has taken in getting rid of Ian Neilson and Xanthea Limberg. However we do not understand why he retained JP Smith or Malusi Booi, who we feel has failed the people of Cape Town in terms of human settlements delivery,” said Sotashe.

EFF whip Mzubanzi Dambuza said they had been happy with how councillor Zahid Badroodien had performed in the community services and health post and would give him time to see if he does better in water and sanitation than his predecessor.

“As for JP Smith we know things are simmering between him and the new mayor. We feel it is time for change in Cape Town and we are surprised councillor Mzwakhe Nqavashe, who has chaired the safety and security portfolio committee, did not get the nod to succeed Smith,” Dambuza said.

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Former DA councillor Suzette Little, who was returned to council on a Good party ticket, said: “We hope councillor Roberto Quintas, as the new Mayco member responsible for transport, is able to reverse the collapse of MyCiTi passenger trips, which have declined from 18 million trips per year in 2017/18 to just 13 million in 2019/20.

“Under the political leadership of alderman Ian Neilson, the spending on maintenance declined from 99.5% in 2017/18 to just 93.3% in 2019/20. We hope the new leadership will also reverse this decline in maintenance of city infrastructure as a matter of urgency,” Little said.

ACDP City caucus leader Marvin Christians said: “We were really expecting some new blood which would potentially have boosted performance due to new ideas, plans and strategies.

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“The Human Settlements portfolio struggled to deliver in the last term. Even when it did deliver, it came with endless excuses.

“Regarding safety and security, we’ve been facing the same problem for the past 15 years where crime has done nothing but increase. We’re now going to appeal to the same person for the next five years.

“This is the definition of insanity: doing the same thing but expecting a different result,” said Christians.

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