‘ANC clonflicts harming councils’

2009-10-22 00:00

A SIGNIFICANT number of municipalities are unstable because of conflicts between different factions of the ANC, the Deputy Minister of Co-operative Governance, Yunus Carrim, told the Midi City Summit yesterday.

“Relations between mayors, speakers, chief whips and municipal managers are often strained,” he added.

Carrim was at a Local Government indaba called by President Jacob Zuma. His speech, delivered by his technical adviser, Mohammed Bhabha, touched on conflicts within municipalities, a scenario that is seen to be occurring locally.

He said there is a blurring of the distinction between the roles of councillors and administrators. In some councils, the municipal managers are senior regional leaders in the ANC who are reluctant to answer to mayors, who are ordinary members of the ANC.

The deputy minister said there is a need to review the relationship between political party structures and municipal structures.

“In many municipalities, there is an inappropriate relationship between the ANC regional executive committees and municipal structures. Power struggles within the party are translated to municipalities and serve to undermine good governance and service delivery … But also, power struggles within municipalities get transferred to party structures and serve to weaken the party …

“It’s not for the party structures to micro-manage councillors — especially as this has sometimes less to do with ensuring that councillors perform effectively and more to do with influencing tenders and narrowly interfering in appointment of staff.”

Carrim said there needs to be a debate about the relationship between the party and municipal structures — and more broadly the state. “But it’s reasonable to suggest that no matter how good a model of local government we shape, unless the party structures are strong and effective and develop an appropriate relationship with municipal structures, the model will not succeed,” he said.

On the metro issue, Carrim said that at this stage it is not clear whether Msunduzi will be a metro in 2011 as submissions on the issue have been re-opened by the Municipal Demarcation Board.

Muncipal manager Rob Haswell argued that there is no reason why a large Midlands metro cannot be “readily” demarcated. A submission to this effect, to be submittted to the board in the next 21 days, was presented to the summit.

 

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