WAR TALK: Front from left, Nceba Ncwena of the Eastern Cape premier’s office, councillor Ray Schenk who was elected chairman of the Ward 10 war room, vice-chairman Zwelinzima Nkwinti and some of the members of the war room, back from left, Rick Pryce representing tourism, Dawie van Wyk and Ray Hicks representing Port Alfred Residents and Ratepayers Association and George Galbraith representing the community policing forum
FOLLOWING a national imperative to establish service delivery “war rooms” comprising experts to advise ward committees and the municipality, residents of Ward 10 elected a war room on Tuesday evening.
The premier’s office sent a consultant, Nceba Ncwena, to advise the ward as to the procedures to be followed.
Operation Masipathisane is an integrated service delivery model,” said Ncwena. “It literally means we hold hands and move on together.”
He thanked all the members of the community for attending the meeting and said that they were all leaders of their various communities.
As such, although they may not have had a mandate, they were eligible to represent their companies and organisations, with whom they could liaise at a later stage, Ward 10 councillor Ray Schenk said.
As ward councillor, Schenk was automatically chairman of the war room. Ncwena said the vice-chair did not have to be a politician nor should they belong to the ward committee. It was felt if this was the case they would be in the position of advising themselves.
Yet in spite of this, local entrepreneur Zwelinzima Nkwinti, who is on the Ward 10 committee, was elected as vice-chairman.
The municipality will appoint a secretary, said Ncwena, until such time as Ward 10 obtains a community development officer. Meanwhile Ncwena said the delegates had to elect a vice-secretary.
Angus Schlemmer objected that the members of the war room should be selected first, and then they could elect officers.
Sandy Birch was chosen as vice-secretary, however, and then Schenk asked the members of the community who wished to be on the war room to raise their hands, state their names and the communities they represented.
Colin Barnard said he had no mandate but represented the Port Alfred Bowling Club.
Hennie Marais said that he represented the media, although he too had no mandate. A Talk of the Town journalist will represent the print media while Marais represents digital media.
Rob Crothall said he represented the Kowie Museum as well as a residential complex.
Angus Schlemmer said he represented the Small Boat Harbour Company.
Ray Hicks and Dawie van Wyk represented Port Alfred Residents and Ratepayers Association (Parra).
George Galbraith represented the Port Alfred Community Police Forum (CPF).
Birch and Rick Pryce represented tourism, and Leon Coetzee said that he had been asked to represent the Port Alfred Soup Kitchen.
At a later stage, hospitals, schools, pensioners, business forums and engineers can join the war room.
Nkwinti appealed to the media to educate the community and encourage residents to attend open council meetings, instead of limiting themselves to Facebook discussions. He said that the Integrated Development Plan had failed due to non-attendance.
There will be a consultation on Thursday and all the war rooms will meet to elect a municipal structure to advise all the wards, on Friday at 5pm at the civic centre.
Meanwhile the municipality will be training people forming part of the war rooms, said Ncwena.