ANC reviews three-tier set-up

2010-12-04 00:00

REDUCE South Africa’s nine provinces rather than scrapping, downscaling or leaving them as they are.

This is the position that seems most favoured by delegates at the ANC’s three-day provincial and local government summit at Gallager Estate, Midrand.

The summit, which ends today, launches a process to explore and review the structures of local and provincial government. The ANC has said that the review is aimed at addressing shortcomings, inefficiencies and duplications in service delivery or simply a lack of it.

Deputy Minister for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Yunus Carrim said the process has a long way to go and whatever decision the party reaches will only be mooted at the mid-2012 policy conference of the ANC and adopted at the national conference in 2012.

Carrim said the idea of reviewing the three-tier government structure has always been on the cards as the government tries to find the most effective ways to operate.

“Now that we are established, the matter has come up.”

He said this was not an ideological decision as has been argued by the oppostion parties but is based on practical reasons. The Democratic Alliance has argued that the ANC wants to do away with the opposition-led Western Cape and move to centralise power.

Carrim said the ANC is mindful that the decision to have a provincial tier of government was decided through a process of negotiation. He said whatever position is adopted will be canvassed through a widely consultative process.

A discussion document at the summit proposed the following four options:

• Retain the present system as it is because it allows for continuity and stability.

• Scrap the system of provincial government. Both KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize and Free State party chairperson Ace Magashule argued against this position, saying it would be more feasible to reduce the number of provinces. Mkhize said provinces were crucial for co-ordinating government programmes.

• Reduce the number of provinces. There is no formal proposal about which provinces should remain, but over the years suggestions by ANC members have included merging the Western Cape with the Eastern or Northern Cape.

• Move away from a geographically based system and look to functional attributes of provincial government. This would involve a radically downscaled administration.







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