Dysfunctional local government is ANC’s biggest failure

Opinion by FF Plus

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Dysfunctional local government is ANC’s biggest failure
Dysfunctional local government is ANC’s biggest failure

The biggest of the ANC government’s failures is surely the terrible state of South Africa’s municipalities. Service delivery has collapsed and most municipalities are dysfunctional, unsustainable and some are even bankrupt.The drastic increase in the number of violent protest actions against poor service delivery is an indication of the fact that after 25 years, the public has lost faith in the ANC to deliver on its promises.

One of the main causes of the deterioration in local government is an utter lack of accountability, as the Auditor-General (AG) pointed out in his report on the last financial year. Municipalities are slow to implement the AG’s recommendations, or the recommendations are simply ignored.

Only 18 out of the country’s 257 municipalities received a clean audit in the most recent report.

Another cause for concern is the amount of R907 million that municipalities spent on consultants who supposedly helped to prepare their financial statements. It shows that many municipalities are employing officials who are not competent to do the work; this is the result of Affirmative Action (AA) and cadre deployment.

In the light of extensive fraud, corruption, poor debt collection from non-payers and poor management of the supply chain, it is easy to see why municipalities do not have any money left for service delivery.

Nothing comes of the ANC’s promises to address these problems and the cadres who are guilty of various abuses are simple re-deployed. An example is North West’s former Premier. Under his leadership, service delivery collapsed and the province was placed under administration. He was, however, ‘awarded’ with a position as Member of Parliament and chairperson of a Portfolio Committee.

The FF Plus is keeping to its conviction that every town should have its own municipality. Mergers do not work and only make the problem worse.

The FF Plus has real and relevant solutions to the problems that local government faces at present:

• Abolish race-based AA and appoint officials based solely on merit.
• Use socio-economic circumstances as a condition for empowerment and promote equal opportunities for all.
• Create a government system that is smaller and more local.
• Give provinces greater autonomy.
• Cut back on state expenditure, privatise state institutions, increase state revenue by stimulating growth, offering tax relief and establishing a fiscal commission.
• Prioritise infrastructure development and upkeep.

South Africa is at a crossroads. The path that we have been walking on is heading for disaster and the country will end in total destruction if we continue down it any further.

Read the original article in Afrikaans by Fanie du Toit on FF Plus

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