Melanie Veness: PCB CEO
The lead up to elections is always quite a disconcerting time for those of us that simply want to get the job done. People are tetchy and suspicious, motives are questioned and the atmosphere is screeching chalk on blackboard.
Cloak and dagger politicians take cheap shots in order to reassure those with “the say” of their power and undying faithfulness and new alliances are formed.
Oh yes, the waters are definitely getting murkier. You can almost hear the do-do-do-do-do-do Jaws music as the loyalty realignment goes on behind the scenes.
Somehow it seems more appropriate to celebrate Halloween as mistrust hangs humid in the air and the spider webs of paranoia are stretched in all directions.
Sensible people stay out of the fray and keep their heads down, and I intend to do just that, straight after I make this appeal.
Before I do, let me make some stuff clear. I have no particular political affiliation and I do not belong to any camp. I have no conflict of interest, because I have no personal business interests. All I’m interested in, is playing a role in stimulating positive economic change for a better South Africa. And I am no politician.
That being said, I have worked quite closely with our local municipality for the past 15 years, and I have to say, that I have never worked with management that are more receptive or responsive. The relationship between the city leadership and organised business in Pietermaritzburg is a very healthy one and although we don’t always agree (we respect each other’s positions and agree to disagree) we’ve done some pretty incredible work together, like the development of our load shedding mitigation plan.
The looming election fills my heart with trepidation, because if the past is anything to go on, we’re likely to face a leadership change. I realise that succession discussions are probably going on right now, which is what has driven me to stick my neck out.
I’m not saying that we can’t work with other leaders (of course we can), just that it is going to take time to get to the easy working relationship that we now enjoy and that it doesn’t make sense to change things that are not broken at a time when the economy is so fragile and when we’ve just stabilized after coming out of administration.
The value of stability cannot be overstated. So, my, somewhat naïve appeal to those with “the say” is as follows: please consider what is working and what is not working when decisions are made to change city leadership and please consider the effect that change is likely to have economically.