Deployment, provinces, soldiers and ... Swaziland

2010-09-24 15:23

The ANC has resolved to refine the proposed bill to ban political office bearers from holding top municipal management jobs. The move comes despite the fact that Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Sicelo Shiceka has already submitted a bill to Parliament to amend the Municipal Systems Act to effect that proposal.

In his political overview of the five-day national general council (NGC), President Jacob Zuma emphasised that political office bearers should not hold top municipal management jobs.

“We reiterate the view that senior municipal officials should not hold full-time leadership positions in political parties as this causes tensions that hinder service delivery,” Zuma said.

However, reporting back on what plenary decided on the issue during its closed session, ANC national executive committee (NEC) member and governance subcommittee chair NomaIndia Mfeketo said there was an agreement in principle that officials in municipalities should not hold positions in political parties. “(Delegates) were asking does one need to legislate such, or do we make it internal,” she said. “It is central to the question of accountability. The question is does one need to legislate that or is it something we can handle as a party?”
The ANC was not clear though on what would happen to the Municipal Systems Amendment Bill that is currently before Parliament.

Mathole Motshekga, another ANC NEC member who serves on the same committee as Mfeketo, said the proposal would not be made law because “it is an internal (ANC) matter”.

When pressed to clarify whether or not the bill would be withdrawn, Motshekga said Parliament was awaiting the processes at the National Economic Development and Labour Council where it had been referred for discussion.

“We don’t want to pre-empt the outcome of those processes,” he said.

Another issue that came up for discussion at the NGC was whether the existing provinces should be rationalised.

“It was agreed that before December we will have a summit to look at the review of provinces and local government legislation, a 10-year term of local government and what needs to be changed there, and the question of demarcation boards. Review of the single public service and single election got a nod, but obviously we can’t say we have come up with a concrete decision because these are things that will need to be looked at by a separate forum,” he said.

General Siphiwe Nyanda, who chairs the peace and stability subcommittee of the NEC, said the thorny issue of whether or not soldiers should be allowed to join trade unions had not come up for discussion.

However, he stressed that Cabinet had already taken a position on the matter, which was that the army should not be unionised.

The decision follows an ugly scene last year when angry soldiers clashed with the police as they marched to the Union Buildings to protest against poor working conditions and low wages.

Turning to the issue of integrating foreign nationals in the country to combat xenophobia and crime, Nyanda added that ANC branches would be required to play an important role in that process.

As part of the discussions on the transformation of the judiciary, Nyanda said there was a resolution to extend community service to newly qualified law graduates to expand the accessibility of legal services in the country.

Meanwhile, the International Relations subcomittee said although the issue of South Africa’s attitude towards the political situation in Swaziland had come up for discussion at the commission, subcommittee member Sue van der Merwe said there was an agreement that there should be a full discussion within the party with regards to the political situation in that country so that the party could have an “approach” to it.

ANC NEC member Collins Chabane said this did not suggest that there was now a change in government’s foreign policy towards Swaziland as the discussion was merely happening within the party.

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