ANC blames deployment

2009-10-18 11:54

THE ANC is rethinking its deployment policy, which is a key reason

for the collapse of local government, according to a hard-hitting government

assessment of councils to be published next week.

Deployed cadres are perceived to have crippled service delivery in

many municipalities because they engage in faction fighting rather than service

delivery.

A high-level discussion in the ­ruling party’s powerful national

­executive committee (NEC) is considering an end to some aspects of its

unpopular deployment policies.

The party is considering barring elected officials from holding

senior ­admin­­­i­strative office in municipalities to prevent the kind of

tensions that ­con­tributed to the ­factionalism linked to violent protests over

slack ­service ­delivery.

The government will propose that ANC provincial and regional

executive committees be strip­ped of powers to deploy party officials rather

than professionals to municipal ­positions.

The proposal is contained in a hard-hitting Department of

Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs report, which Minister Sicelo

Shiceka will present at a two-day local government indaba to be held on the East

Rand on Wednesday.

The report blames “party political factionalism” and the emergence

of new “political alliances” in the ruling party for the deterioration of

service delivery in municipalities.

It claims that a culture of “patronage and nepotism” has ­become so

rife in municipalities that they have become inaccessible and unaccountable to

residents.

“The lack of values, principles or ethics ... indicates that there

are ­officials and public representatives for whom public service is not a

­concern but accruing wealth at the expense of poor communities is.

“There is now a lack of citizen confidence and trust in the system.

This has been publicly evidenced in the spate of community protests during the

course of the year. This is largely a symptom of alienation of citizens from

local government,” says the ­report.

Protests have become endemic and this week there was violent

­action in Sakhile in Mpumalanga, Palm Ridge in Gauteng and Ntabazwe in the Free

State.

“The protests emanating from such ­areas are consistent with the

experience of indignity, growing ­inequality and the marginalisation of

communities,” says the report.

“We must, as the ANC, discuss whether it is appropriate for a

person who holds a senior political office in the movement to ­also hold senior

administrative office in government, particularly at local government level, and

what effect this has on service delivery,” said ANC spokesperson Jackson

Mthembu.

“You find instances where the mayor, who is not holding any

political office in the ANC, is unable to instruct an employee of the

municipality who is holding a senior political office in the ANC. The employee,

instead, instructs the mayor.”

The document details how local government has collapsed, most

­notably in poor provinces, including Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern

Cape. Growing inequality, illegal connections and a high level of indigents mean

that local government can’t improve without grants from central

government.

“This renders the majority of ­local municipalities not financially

viable and unable to upgrade and maintain infrastructure,” says the

report.

The majority of municipalities do not produce credible budgets.

Shiceka’s report says that 35 municipalities overspent by R2.6?billion while 182

municipalities underspent by R19?billion. Almost one in three municipal

employees have been ­appointed to positions that aren’t supposed to

­exist.

Shiceka’s deputy, Yunis Carrim, said: “We have found that there are

people who are appointed to positions who don’t have the necessary experience or

qualifications nor are they interested in being trained.

“The ANC needs to discuss this further and shape a more mutually

reinforcing constructive relationship between regional executives and

municipalities,” he said.

Carrim said his department was considering setting up a special

inspectorate on local government ­corruption. He said the service ­delivery

protests signalled the failure of the ward committee system and other methods of

public participation in municipalities.

“They also convey that our local government model is not working

and that we need changes to it.”

City Press reporters visited ­municipalities in four provinces?–

Northern Cape, North West, Free State and Eastern Cape – and found that certain

communities were not getting service because their ward councillors were aligned

with the “wrong faction” in the ruling party.


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