For Mboweni's growth plan to succeed the ANC has to give up certain dogmatic positions that were formulated when 7% growth was the status quo, writes Adriaan Basson.
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How are we, as a City, supposed to effectively and accurately plan and budget, when we do not know who is even in our city, asks Herman Mashaba.
of frustration and obfuscation from numerous ministers and state law
enforcement agencies, it would appear that a multi-party Parliament stands as
the City of Joburg's second-last resort in assisting to resolve issues which
threaten to bring chaos to South Africa's economic hub.
The last resort
will be the courts – but I hope that is a terrain we will not have to traverse
any time soon. This is largely
because the issues which I have now elevated to Parliament have become issues
of national importance as a result of recent events.
In any case, our
laws make provisions for disputes between different spheres of government to be
settled amicably. The courts, as we've come to know, are wary to entertain
disputes between different spheres of government – unless dispute resolution
mechanisms contained in law have proven ineffectual.
In the case of my
decision to write to Parliament's Portfolio Committees for Home Affairs as well
as Justice and Correctional Services, after numerous failed attempts to engage
five home affairs ministers and various leaders of South Africa's national criminal
justice system, it would appear that these dispute resolution mechanisms are in
But this shouldn't
be the case.
Constitution – through the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act –
instructs the three spheres of government to work together, where necessary,
for the betterment of the lives of our people.
READ: Herman Mashaba –
this act, the authors of our Constitution must have had a vision of a South
African state that is supportive of interaction and co-operation among the
three spheres of government on a continuous basis.
is seen in the provision of a set of principles to direct the manner and
quality of those interactions.
co-operative governance and intergovernmental relations both recognise the
interdependence of the three spheres of government in South Africa, placing
heavy responsibility upon each to respect the other's powers and functions.
politicians take advantage of this constitutional provision by claiming
barriers between local, provincial and national government spheres – even where
result is that these spheres of government often operate in silos.
politicians never forget to tell each other to back off or resort to acting
without any sense of urgency when the other makes fairly reasonable demands
about important matters, such as repeated pleas by the City of Joburg, to the
NPA, to prosecute winnable criminal matters brought to their attention by us.
these politicians and senior bureaucrats need to understand is that the
distinctiveness of the various spheres of government in South Africa refers to
the legislative and executive autonomy of each sphere.
framework I am relying on to advance my argument was clearly intended to foster
frequent collaboration between local, provincial and national spheres of
government – not give powerful politicians and bureaucrats license to regard
each sphere as their own fiefdom.
law in fact requires these spheres of government to empower each other.
has the effect of ensuring that any stumbling blocks encountered are easily
dealt with, allowing the work of government to continue to the betterment of
the lives of all South Africans.
when I refer to the interrelatedness of the three spheres of government, I am actually
referring to the responsibility placed on us to co-operate with one another and
to avoid political gamesmanship.
am I raising such an issue, you may be asking yourself?
I do so to demonstrate how, more often than not, the spirit of collaboration,
as espoused in the Constitution via the Intergovernmental Relations Framework
Act, has not always been acted upon, causing the City of Joburg to take
extraordinary measures to get things moving on issues of common interest.
It is without doubt
that the challenge of illegal immigration in Johannesburg has reached crisis
levels and my calls for intervention from the department and the ministers of home
affairs have fallen on deaf ears. The issue of migration is one that cannot be
dealt with at municipal level comprehensively, instead it requires the willing participation
of the national government, which participation has not been forthcoming.
It is abundantly
clear that I made every attempt to engage with all five previous ministers. I
did so in the spirit of cooperative governance as espoused in the constitution,
and said spirit requires that the different spheres of government work together
in good faith for the betterment of the people of South Africa. These values,
as advocated in the Constitution, appear not to be ones that the ministers
How are we, as a
City, supposed to effectively and accurately plan and budget, when we do not
know who is even in our city?
The City's health department is one such victim of this inability to
plan and budget accurately.
A report by the health department outlining their struggle to cope with
the additional pressure brought about by undocumented migrants, highlighted
that between 15-39% of patients accessing health care from the City's clinics
were undocumented migrants.
That is why I have
decided to write to the home affairs portfolio committee, to brief its members
on the dysfunctional state of that department.
Likewise with the portfolio
committee for justice, I have sought to provide a briefing on a number of
winnable cases we have forwarded to the police and the NPA but which have since
A case in point is
a matter relating to fraud and corruption at the Eldorado Park and Hopefield
power substations, where R88m was paid to the contractor for work that had
allegedly been completed, in 28 separate payments between July 2015 and
However, during an
inspection, it was discovered that little to no work had been done. It was also
discovered that the contractor who won the tender to build and upgrade the
substations relied on a fraudulent bank guarantee to secure the contract.
investigation, which was undertaken by the City's Group Forensic and
Investigating Services (GFIS), was supported by a forensic report and despite
this, the matter was withdrawn in court.
In all these cases,
we've displayed maximum patience with the relevant departments and law
enforcement agencies but have been rewarded with obfuscation.
We now look to a
multi-party Parliament to wade through the fog of political gamesmanship and
ensure that the departments of home affairs and justice do their jobs, as
required by law.
While it may not
be desirable to involve the courts in matters that should, by law, be resolved
politically and in an amicable fashion, the City of Joburg reserves its rights
and will not hesitate to seek recourse in court especially if it that action
results in the vast improvement of the conditions of our residents.
Litigation by the
City against another sphere of government is especially undesirable given that
there will have to be collaboration at some point in the near future on other
matters of common interest. However, undesirability of court action must be
weighed against repeated inaction by national government departments and
agencies who do not seem to appreciate the seriousness of the matters that the
City of Joburg has brought to their attention.
In this regard, if
Parliament fails to deal decisively and satisfactorily with our requests, we
will have no choice but to approach the courts.
- Mashaba is the Executive Mayor of the City of
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