Parties must mediate service delivery conflicts - former IEC chair

2015-07-14 19:06
(Tammy Petersen, News24)

(Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - Political parties have the responsibility to mediate in areas where service delivery is poor, former Independent Electoral Commission chairperson Brigalia Bam said on Tuesday.

She was speaking at the Cape Town Press Club about her book Democracy, More than Just Elections, which focuses on her tenure as the IEC chairperson as well as her experience in observing elections in the rest of Africa. 

Bam argued that parties had the obligation to mediate conflict where service delivery is suffering, as they were the ones who appointed the candidate, she said.

“The people are the ones who must monitor and support a candidate they have chosen. Currently, the representatives are accountable to [their employers, which is] the party, but they should be accountable to the voters.”

Constituents don’t know who their councillors are, she said, and underperforming representatives were not being reported to their employers.

“We are not able to deal with conflict at a local level,” Bam pointed out.

According to an online questionnaire published by News24 last week, 2 010 of the 3 120 participants did not know who their ward councillor was.

A total of 2 473 readers said their ward councillor had never assisted them in solving municipal problems, while 466 said they had. A total of 181 readers did not answer the question.

The SA Local Government Association, which represents thousands of councillors across the country, recently called for greater equality between the payment of municipal councillors, MPs and MPLs.

Readers were asked if they thought councillors deserved the suggested R1.3m annual salary.

The majority - 2 716 out of 3 120 - said no.

Read more on:    cape town press club  |  brigalia bam  |  cape town  |  local government  |  service delivery
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