Church leaders in Nelson Mandela Bay today requested an urgent meeting with the Executive Mayor Ben Fihla following media reports of explosive tensions between the political leadership and administrative head of the metro.
The churchmens’ request is made in a letter to Fihla, who was summoned yesterday by the African National Congress (ANC) provincial executive to a meeting in King William’s Town, to explain claims by Municipal Manager, Lindiwe Msengana-Ndlela that he and Deputy Mayor, Chippa Ngcolomba were interfering in the administration of the city. The Deputy Mayor and the Municipal Manager were also at the meeting.
“We as the Church are adamant that respect for the rule of law, open management, ethical decision-making and transparency must guide the way our metro conducts its affairs. For us, this is non-negotiable. We will support all actions being taken true to these values and principles. It is the proven way to lead the city to the benefit of all its citizens,” says the letter signed by six city church leaders.
The letter continues: “We, honourable mayor, are also concerned about the reported fallout between your office and the office of the city manager. Unless speedily resolved, it will have a further detrimental effect on service delivery.
“We therefore request an urgent meeting with you and the deputy mayor of NMMM. We have appointed a delegation of five leaders to represent us in such a meeting.
“We are being asked by our membership about our prophetic stance and witness in this situation. We need to consult urgently with you in order to inform our constituency about the relevance and credibility of your actions to address this catastrophic state of affairs.
“We know that only urgent and effective action will turn us away from the brink of disaster.”
The letter is signed by Bishop Lunga Ka Siboto (Presiding Bishop: Ethiopian Episcopal Church); Bishop Nceba Bethlehem Nopece (Anglican Diocese); Archdeacon Zwelidumile Tom (Secretary SACC, Chairperson of NMBCCC); Pastor Mvusi Gwam (Deputy Secretary SACC, Chairperson TCN); Pastor Neville Goldman (Ebenezer Centre) and Reverend Danie Mouton (NG Kerk).
During 2012 a united front of church leaders in NMB repeately voiced concern at an ongoing power struggle between then ANC Regional Chairman Nceba Faku and Executive Mayor Zanaxolo Wayile, which led to a service delivery crisis in the city. Faku quit his post in March this year and Wayile was dismissed two days later by the ANC national leadership.