Roles blurred at local level - Zuma
Kimberley - The blurring of political and administrative roles hampered delivery at local level, ANC president Jacob Zuma said on Saturday.
“We are of the view that municipal employees should not hold leadership positions in political parties,” Zuma said, addressing a packed stadium of ANC supporters at the GWK stadium in Kimberley.
The party would also “tighten its deployment procedures” to make it more “objective and transparent”.
“…We will tighten our deployment procedures to ensure that we deploy comrades with political integrity and professional competence,” he said.
The ANC has long conceded that there were problems at local government level. These came to a head in 2009 when many communities protested against poor service delivery a short while into Zuma’s term as president.
The ANC had to intervene in a protest in Standerton, Mpumalanga with residents calling for their local councillors and mayor to be axed.
Corruption, factionalism, nepotism and poor delivery were at the root of many of the violent protests occurring across the country. The party had conducted an audit of the country’s municipality’s, due to be released early this year.
Zuma said the ANC-led government intended to make local government a key focus for service provision.
“A strong and disciplined ANC with capacity on the ground is a necessary condition to make local government more effective and efficient.
“This includes the implementation of the ANC Councillor’s Code of Conduct, and the creation of standards and requirements for councillors in preparation for the 2011 local government elections,” he said.
Zuma also sounded a warning with regard to public servants.
“Where people are found to be incapable of performing the tasks assigned to them, we must work with speed to either capacitate such people or replace them with more capable people.
“We have to study our public service regulations and ensure that they enable, and not hinder us in our drive to achieve these goals.”
On the country’s energy woes, which are due to come under the spotlight again as the National Energy Regulator of SA is set to hold public hearings on Eskom’s 45% per annum for the next three years tariff hike application, Zuma said “comprehensive solutions” were required. The problem ran deeper than tariff hikes, he said.
“There are issues of our energy mix, environmental sustainability, distribution mechanisms, surcharges by local municipalities and the role of the private sector. We will intensify our work in this area this year.
"The ANC’s ten-point plan to boost the country’s ailing health system would hit high gear in 2010. Zuma said the ruling party was determined to “press ahead” with the establishment of a national health insurance.
“We will ensure that all stakeholders are consulted before the passing of NHI legislation,” he added.
The leadership of the SA Communist Party and Congress of SA Trade Union reiterated their commitment to the ANC.
“Cosatu is here with you,” said the labour federation president Sidumo Dlamini. Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi was not present on the stage.
“Msholozi (referring to ANC president Jacob Zuma by his clan name), you have got dependable allies," SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande said. Zuma said the unity of the alliance was paramount.
After his address, Zuma broke into song getting the crowd on their feet dancing and singing along. He then sang his “trademark” struggle song, Umshini Wam'. Grinning broadly, Zuma danced along as his singing mingled with that of the crowd. He appeared to be enjoying himself immensely.
He then cut a massive cake flanked by the leaders of the ANC and the alliance. As the cake – smothered in gold, green and black icing - was cut, music blared in the background gearing revellers for the massive party which lay ahead.
Zuma was then whisked off to the Kimberley municipal offices where he unveiled a statue of legendary writer and activist, Sol Plaatjie.