There was heated discussion at the second meeting of the newly launched Ndlambe Black Business Forum at the Port Alfred Civic Centre recently, where members vowed to hold the municipality accountable.
The forum represents small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs).
“Comrades, comrades we must know that we have declared a war against these officials who have two tanks in their cars, tanks of fuel and tanks for money,” one of the members, Onele Msesiwa said.
Mishandling of municipal projects was a matter of concern, and the forum requested an urgent appointment with mayor Khululwa Ncamiso and council speaker Vivian Maphaphu.
Hinting on their intended meeting with Ncamiso and Maphaphu, chairperson of the forum Mzuvukile Cinywa said: “We need to make a follow up on what happened to the geysers project. That project was approved by the council and we heard that it was rejected by the current mayor. It was also announced on radio (Ndlambe FM) but we were never told as to why it was declined.”
According to the discussions of the meeting the project was from the Department of Energy in 2019 and was approved by the council. Mayor Ncamiso’s unexpected U-turn perplexed forum members.
The issue of trucks delivering water appeared to be another burning issue to be attended to by the forum. According to Vuyisile Mnyani, when local SMMEs apply to supply the water they are required to produce documents proving that the trucks to deliver water belong to them, but this is apparently not the case with some companies from outside the area, because they “know some officials” within the municipality.
The forum vowed to stop any truck delivering water which does not belong to a local SMME. They went as far as saying would they challenge outside companies employed by the municipality which do not work together with the local SMMEs.
Lamenting his point Mnyani said: “It has become law for these officials to benefit. We are business people here and they are not. They are politicians.”
Forum members further complained about the inconsistency of advertisements of tenders, saying some of the advertisements which are placed in the newspaper are not always uploaded on the municipality’s website, and when they are they have contradicting details.
Forum public relations officer Zache Ngxingo said: “Local Economic Development is a dead unit with no initiatives and no interventions, maimed to the core and gagged by the council. In these most corrupt conditions where our development is arrested by the authorities deployed to distribute resources, we are going nowhere.
“They literally engage in killing us for their own selfish and corrupt interests. We are now entering the war zone against their evil and we will not lose this one.”
The Ndlambe Business Forum vowed to represent all local SMMEs as an attempt to prevent the mushrooming of multiple forums. They said their assignment would be starting from Bathurst to Marselle, finding every entrepreneur to be part of the forum.
Mnyani appealed to his fellow representatives to make caterers feel represented. “We really need to care of these mothers, their issues bother me,” he said.
In closure, deputy chairperson of the forum Chris Gidana said: “Thank you so much for your time, it might look like we are playing but we mean business here. Some of us are breadwinners. Brothers and sister let us support one another. If you have bid for a tender let us know.”