Bankrupt, dysfunctional municipalities: ANC can and must intervene

Opinion by FF Plus

Bankrupt, dysfunctional municipalities: ANC can and must intervene
Bankrupt, dysfunctional municipalities: ANC can and must intervene

The ANC government can no longer look the other way while local government is going to ruin. Seeing as all the problems occur at municipalities under ANC control, action can and must be taken to get rid of bad elements so as to get these municipalities back on the right track.

This cannot be put off any longer. Municipalities are in crisis as only 18 of the 257 municipalities across the country recently received clean audits from the Auditor-General (AG). A shocking 92% of municipalities do not comply with local government legislation.

And yet there are no consequences for those who violate rules and regulations. Over the last month, 113 municipal councils adopted budgets in an unlawful manner and without having any money. The municipalities that are already under Section 139 administration are in most cases merely deteriorating even further.

For example, a bailiff from the court on 9 July 2019, seized the bank accounts of the Mafube Local Municipality in the Free State, which has already been under administration for more than two years. The Municipality does not even have a bank account. It cannot deliver services nor pay salaries. How is this even possible?

There is no accountability and no political will to do something about the problem. The Department has numerous programmes supposedly aimed at supporting municipalities, but nothing comes of it. Five years ago, the so-called “Back to Basics” programme was implemented to find solutions, but nothing came of it either.

The Department cannot randomly take over the duties and responsibilities of local government, rightly so, but the reality is that the municipalities that are faring the worst are all under ANC control.

Senior officials, like the ministers and chairpersons of the relevant committees, must explain why this is the case. They criticise the municipalities and yet they take no action against the offenders who are ANC members. They take no action against the councils that appoint people and then allow them to abuse their power.

The municipalities in South Africa should be made smaller. The opposite is probably going to happen even though it is in contradiction with the recommendations of the financial and fiscal commission. Towns and cities are merged to form large municipalities and metro councils, but the only thing that improves is the salaries of councillors and other officials.

This crisis can only be defused by giving each town its own municipality with the best and aptly qualified staff, like local engineers. They are available. Whether this will happen or not remains to be seen as the ANC is misusing municipalities for cadre deployment.

The FF Plus’s message to the ANC government is clear: take decisive action and take action right now. That is the only way to resolve the crisis in which local government currently finds itself and which is seriously threatening South Africa’s future.

Read the original article in Afrikaans by Wouter Wessels on FF Plus

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