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Changes at MBDA already producing the fruits

Statement by MBDA board chairperson: Mputumi Goduka.

The Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA), an entity of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM), established nearly 15 years ago, today announced important and strategic changes at senior management that the agency says are aimed at propelling the agency to the achievement of its strategic goals. The MBDA has become synonymous with some of the major socio-economic development and transformative projects that have revived the Bay's tourism and infrastructure landscape.

Top of the list of interventions by the MBDA include the popular Route 67 that turned a barren colonial space into a contemporary, new democracy and all-inclusive space that celebrates South Africa's struggle for freedom.

In 2014, after several tactical interventions in Walmer Township and Veeplaas, the MBDA ventured into Singaphi Street in New Brighton, a strategic corridor that links the city to the heritage rich Red Location precinct. It is here that the MBDA pioneered what many have labelled as a new and creative model for township redevelopment. The Singaphi Street project, though not without challenges, has proven that communities can play a crucial and integral role in the development of their own neighbourhoods. It is here that the MBDA ventured into new approaches in project design and small medium micro enterprise (SMME) development programming.

In the end, the conceptual design of the Singaphi Street project was a product of community participation, and a significant portion of the R40 million budget was implemented through a mentored SMME programme.

Since inception, the MBDA has received successive unqualified audit outcomes from the Auditor General of South Africa, a testament to the agency's robust financial management and reporting protocols. It is this performance that has attracted several funders and partners to the MBDA, including the Industrial Development Corporation, Eastern Cape Development Corporation and international funder KfW Bank of Germany.

Early in 2017, the MBDA started to experience delivery challenges that started to impact on the agency's performance targets partly due to scope creep and the lack of adequate capacity. What compounded the challenges of the MBDA was the departure of then founding CEO, Pierre Voges, as well as the additional mandate to manage the iconic Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

A significant amount of work and stakeholder consultation has been done since early 2017, with the intention being to reorganise, restructure and capacitate the MBDA as an agile, responsive, innovative and creative entity to solve current and future challenges. The restructuring process is still ongoing, but already the agency is starting to see an improvement in its institutional performance and budget expenditure.

Changes at top management

Now almost two years since the restructuring process started and a year into the new organisational structure, the agency is announcing the final phase of senior management changes aimed at further improving the entity's performance and service delivery.

Ashwin Daya steps down after 15 years of service

The MBDA and Ashwin Daya wish to announce that Daya will be stepping down as at the end of May 2019.

Board Chairperson Mputumi Goduka says: "The MBDA wishes to express its gratitude to Mr Daya for his contribution to the MBDA and the city over the past almost 15 years, notably as the MBDA Chief Financial Officer, with distinction. Daya was responsible for achieving three clean and 11 unqualified audit outcomes during his tenure as CFO, with the agency receiving a commendation from the Auditor General for this achievement.

"The MBDA wishes to express its sincere thanks and appreciation to Mr Daya for his many years of dedicated service. Mr Daya has indicated that he intends pursuing other professional and business interests and the MBDA wishes his well in his future endeavors," concluded Goduka.

Debbie Hendricks steps up to Operations Executive

Hendricks is no stranger to the MBDA, having been part of the initial Helenvale Urban Renewal Programme (HURP), which later evolved into the German KfW Bank funded Safety and Peace through Urban Upgrading (SPUU) Programme. Hendricks brings a wealth of experience in various aspects of city planning, community development and project management, and returns to the MBDA after spending time at the NMBM's Human Settlements Directorate as a Senior Town Planner. Hendricks assumed her new role as Operations Executive on 1 April 2019, where she will oversee the engine room of the MBDA, which includes the Infrastructure Planning & Implementation, Research & Innovation, Psycho-Social Programmes, Creative Arts and Culture Programmes, as well as area-based Urban Management.

Confirming the changes, MBDA Chief Executive Office Ashraf Adam says: "With all the planned senior positions in place, the MBDA is well poised to deliver on its mission, which is to become a knowledge-based developmental agency that seeks to achieve social, spatial and economic transformation in Nelson Mandela Bay."

The MBDA's top management comprises the following:

Ashraf Adam: Chief Executive OfficerKholiswa Mgijima: Chief Financial OfficerMpho Mokonyama: NMB Stadium ManagerDebbie Hendricks: Operations ExecutiveThe Corporate Services Executive and Chief Risk and Compliance Officer roles are under review.