Zuma promises major post-election reform in local government

2011-05-16 08:33

President Jacob Zuma has closed the party’s local government campaign with a promise of major post-election reform in local government in a bid to bolster the governing party’s bid to maintain control of the country’s municipalities.

In a massive show of strength, the party packed Johannesburg’s FNB stadium to the rafters with a rally of over 90 000 people yesterday, at which Zuma equated a vote for the major opposition party as a return to the evils of apartheid.

Zuma told the crowd that his administration would involve provincial and national government in major post-election changes to boost the capacity of local government and ensure effective service delivery from councillors.

He also promised that the ANC’s task team would continue to probe instances where councillors had ended up on the party’s list by “dubious means”.

“As undertaken, in areas where the problems relating to the fraudulent choice of candidates were not addressed, an ANC task team will investigate after the elections. We will remove people who found their way onto our lists through dubious means,’’ Zuma said.

He said it was “all systems go” regarding changing how local government worked and was run, promising  provincial and national government would be “far more active in supporting local government” without eroding its powers.

“We will work to ensure that municipalities have the resources, skills and capacity to meet the needs of our people.

In 2009 we introduced the performance monitoring and evaluation mechanism in government. We will ensure improved and strengthened monitoring and evaluation of municipalities so that we can detect problems much quicker,” he said.

Interventions would ensure that municipalities met the basic needs of communities; provide support and systems to improve service delivery tailored to the needs of each municipality; clean up local government and make it more accountable; improve anti-corruption initiatives and make municipalities more accountable to communities; improve municipal performance by employing experienced and qualified staff; improve national and provincial oversight to local government and strengthen partnerships between local government, communities and civil society.

Turning his attention to the opposition, Zuma said voting ANC was “defending” freedom and the end of apartheid.

“Each vote that we cast for the ANC in each election is a declaration that we do not want to go back to the era of racism, division, inequalities and the promotion of the privileges of one racial group over others,” Zuma said.

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