Mbete reads the riot act

2009-09-07 00:00

NATIONAL chair of the ANC and member of the national executive committee (NEC), Baleka Mbete, issued a stern warning to party members seeing themselves as more powerful than the organisation, saying that they will be recalled.

Speaking during a discussion session with councillors from eight municipalities under the leadership of the ANC’s Moses Mabhida branch, regarding the role of local government, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg campus yesterday, Mbete said infighting among ANC members is a cause for concern.

These and those involved in smearing other members’ names, said Mbete, and those that disregard the party’s resolutions taken at the Polo­kwane conference and those that think they are more powerful than the ANC, will be ejected from the party.

Councillors that were in the discussion were from uMgungundlovu District, Msunduzi, Mooi Mpofana, uMngeni, Impendle, Umshwati, Mkhambathini and Richmond municipalities. Present in the discussions were branch leaders, alliance partners, Women’s League and Youth League leaders.

Mbete said that the discussion was a prelude for an assessment of each and every councillor in these municipalities to determine the challenges they are faced with and come up with interactive solutions ahead of the 2011 local government elections.

“Each councillor will be assessed on whether they attend meetings, make contributions [to discussions] and whether they prepare for meetings,” said Mbete.

The assessment will look at whether the councillors consult with branches before council meetings.

The discussions, said Mbete, sought to identify specific challenges that hinder service delivery at local government level.

The party’s research, said Mbete, has revealed that first-time councillors are a majority, constituting about 65%, while experienced councillors serving third terms are merely five percent of the overall councillors deployed at municipalities by the ANC.

She said this could have impacted negatively on service delivery, but that does not mean the ANC wants experienced councillors to occupy the positions forever. Mbete also cautioned the councillors against employing unqualified officials on the basis of nepotism or with the aim of furthering councillors’ financial interests. She noted that councillors are insensitive to the electorate’s needs and there is too much infighting.

Party insiders, who spoke to The Witness on condition of anonymity, said that in some municipalities there has been no improvement in service delivery since the 2006 local government elections. They said the discussions were a step in the right direction to solve the disorder at municipalities, which has resulted in some community members losing faith in municipalities.


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