"Mayor Trollip and his team inherited a metro in critical condition [after the August 3, 2016 municipal elections]. From housing lists, to the roll-out of services, to corruption and unemployment, Nelson Mandela Bay was handed over in a terrible state," Maimane told the DA's Eastern Cape elective congress in East London.
"It is now our job to fix it – to build a metro that can offer a better life for all the people who live there. Our job is to waste no time in undoing the damage caused by decades of corrupt, uncaring government in Nelson Mandela Bay. Eight months into the job it feels like Athol Trollip and his team have been at it for years. The result is an incredible list of achievements in a very short space of time," he said.
For years Nelson Mandela Bay was the only city without a metro police force.
"Well, now they have one. The DA-led government there has recruited 100 new officers to fight crime and drugs on the city streets. We’ve already improved the lives of the poorest residents of the city. There is a long way to go, but already 30km of gravel roads have been tarred and R100 million has been budgeted for more road improvements. We’ve launched a brand new anti-corruption hotline that has already led to 38 investigations," Maimane said.
Trollip’s administration had vowed to root out corruption in the city and he had already frozen suspicious contracts, launched forensic investigations into others, and opened mayoral and committee meetings to the public and the media.
"Something I am very proud of: we have already found, processed, and handed over more than 500 title deeds to poor residents, so that they can finally own their homes. That means so much to me! While the rest of the country is talking about empowering poor, mainly black South Africans, we are the only ones actually doing it. We are putting real assets in the hands of the people.
"Why, I ask, has the [African National Congress] government built houses for people but never allowed them to own those homes by giving them title? It is insulting. It says we cannot trust someone with their own home. We are putting that right." Nationally, DA government had already handed over more than 75,000 title deeds, and was "just getting started". He was sure it would hit 100 000 soon, Maimane said.
"Talk is cheap. Lots of people can shout and scream about 'radical economic what what', as President [Jacob] Zuma calls it. But if you want to see real empowerment happening in the lives of real South Africans look at what the DA is doing. That is real empowerment.
"But we have not stopped there. Hundreds of bay residents have already graduated from basic skills development programmes. We are trying to help them get into the job market. It is hard work and there is much, much more to do. But we are committed to giving people the best chance possible of getting a job," Maimane said.