Gordhan to clean up metros

2014-06-22 10:30
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. (Sapa)

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. (Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The new minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs, Pravin Gordhan, has said he wants to put the right people, with the right skills and qualifications, in charge of service delivery.

According to the Sunday Times, Gordhan aims to professionalise local government and also plans to tackle political party structures that compromise efficient service delivery by employing unqualified or incompetent people.

Gordhan said he would prioritise improved service delivery in the county’s eight metropolitan municipalities.

This comes after the ANC’s support fell in these areas in last month's elections. However, President Jacob Zuma seemed to be reacting to this decline when he appointed Gordhan, the former finance minister, to the position - a position that will see him lead a task team of ministers to improve service delivery at municipal level.

As such, Gordhan is now being tasked with heading up the department that tackles South Africa’s local government.

The department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs is in charge of developing national policies and legislation with regard to provinces, municipalities and local government. It is also responsible for overseeing the traditional leadership of South Africa’s indigenous communities.

As a less high profile department than the finance ministry, some have deemed the appointment a demotion. Some experts have gone as far as saying Gordhan is now in charge of "a tiny ministry with little power".

But, others say that despite its size, Gordhan has been moved to a critical post.

One economist said the sustainable growth and development of municipalities is critical to growth and service delivery, and Gordhan's experience and discipline is exactly what is needed.

Nazmeera Moola, economist and strategist at Investec Asset Management, agreed that Gordhan’s "positive influence" would be "hugely welcome" at the department. She added: "He could help bring some sanity to the finances of the provinces."

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