Ward elections are a mockery

2017-03-29 06:03

Tumo oa ha Mapitse, Bloemfontein:

One would have thought that the government, at municipal level, would seize the opportunity of ward committee elections as means of ensu­ring public participation.

Communities would have been afforded the power to elect candidates of their choice.

Ward committee nominations, culminating into elections, where not to be based on political lines where only members of a particular party were elected to serve in the committees.

Sadly, the ANC in Ward 15 made a mockery of what would have given credence to governance. The shortlisting process, that was supposed to be conducted on 17 February, was done on 16 February without notifying candidates, either than those whom they had identified to be members of their party.

Candidates were supposed to have been informed telephonically that they have been shortlisted. This would have afforded all of them enough time to remind the people who had nominated them to go cast their votes. Such information should come from the office of the speaker where matters relating to ward committees are handled. The councillor was then supposed to call a community meeting to inform them about the dates earmarked for the election.

The ward committee election was not fair, credible and transparent. It is evident that there was political interfe­rence – either from the office of the speaker, or the councillor in her personal capacity.

If the latter is the cause of the unfortunate event, the councillor should take heed of the fact that communities do not take kindly to leaders being imposed on them.

Protests that erupted in some areas before the muni­cipal election should be a constant reminder.

Councillors should learn. Learning and leadership are inseparable. Mistakes of the past should not be repeated. If mistakes constantly happen, they are no longer mistakes, but deliberate attempts to undermine governance.

This was done to ensure that any job opportunities becoming available, either in the ward or elsewhere in the municipality, will be reserved for those “loyal comrades” who voted on 16 February. Political tactics of this nature will always come to haunt the ruling party, courtesy of the head-strong councillors.

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