ANC: Administration team cost us votes in Limpopo

2014-07-13 15:00

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The ANC in Limpopo blames the administration team sent in to fix the province for costing it votes during the May 7 elections.

At a provincial executive committee lekgotla in Polokwane late last month, some delegates complained during an election postmortem that the administrators’ work had upset civil servants, unions and businesspeople so much that it cost the governing party at the ballot box.

Relations between the ANC and head administrator Monde Tom are frosty.

On July 1, Premier and ANC chairperson Stan Mathabatha waited more than an hour for Tom to arrive at a scheduled meeting.

“The premier brought with him MECs from five departments under administration and wanted to verify outstanding issues in those departments between administrators and MECs,” Mathabatha’s spokesperson Kenny Mathivha told City Press.

“[Tom] called and told the premier that he had been informed that he was with other people (the MECs) and so he wouldn’t be coming,” said Mathivha.

Tom did not respond to repeated requests for comment about the lekgotla and his alleged snub of Mathabatha.

The ANC secured 78.6% of the provincial vote this year, down from 85.27% in the 2009 national polls.

Two people who attended the lekgotla told City Press that delegates discussed their growing dissatisfaction with the administrators, who were sent in by National Treasury in December 2011 to rescue the bankrupt province.

Local businesspeople are particularly unhappy that purse strings have been tightened, tenders have been put on ice and service delivery has allegedly stalled.

Nocks Seabi, the ANC’s Limpopo secretary, said the party was taking these complaints seriously because they “reflect badly on the ANC”.

“I don’t want to go into details because I don’t want the headquarters to read about things that are still under discussion.

“I can only confirm that a number of issues were raised with us and we’re now discussing them with Luthuli House,” Seabi said.

“Furthermore, our position on the administrators is that they have done good work for the province and they must now hand over the reins to the provincial administration. We can’t be under administration forever.”

The provincial treasury, education department, department of roads and transport, public works department and department of health and social development are all under administration.

“Administrators are the ultimate powers. Nothing can be implemented without their signature of approval and they don’t even take MECs and HODs seriously because they have unlimited powers, rendering other officials and ANC deployees useless,” a source in the premier’s office said.

“Administrators have the purse strings and have become hindrances to a number of departmental programmes. Not even the premier can tell them what to do,” he said.

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) and the South African Teachers’ Democratic Union (Sadtu) in the province are also fed up.

For the past week and a half, members of Nehawu have picketed outside the department of roads and transport’s offices in Polokwane, calling for the administrators to leave the province.

These protests are set to spread to Mathabatha’s office and other departments this week.

The unions say that service delivery has taken a knock – in schools, repairs and renovations are almost “nonexistent”, Sadtu alleges, and children are walking to school because scholar transport operators’ bills haven’t been paid.

“Government is not a money-making organisation and we should not be impressed by a fat bank balance while the masses are suffering out there.

“Money should be spent on the public as per government programmes,” said Sadtu’s provincial secretary Matome Raphasha.

“They seem to be afraid that once they start spending money their bank balance will drop and there’s nothing wrong with that because the money is there for the public’s benefit.”

Tom came out fighting last month at a press conference during which he said people were just unhappy because Limpopo’s spending spree was over.

“We have stopped the illegal awarding of tenders where we could and a number of people are unhappy. They are now using the media to impugn the reputation of officials sent to clean up the mess,” he said then.

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