Durban – The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal wants the provinces to be scrapped because it believes they are a waste of government resources.
The ANC will lobby for this position at the ruling party’s national policy conference in Gauteng in June.
Cosatu has said it will back the call.
The ANC provincial executive committee said the functions of the provinces should either be transferred to national or local governments.
ANC provincial secretary Super Zuma told Independent Media on Thursday that the province would raise the issue of provinces to be debated at the policy conference.
“The ANC believes that we should rather have a strong national government, and strong local government, which is the sphere of government closer to the people,” said Zuma.
He said making certain MECs mayors would strengthen the capacity of the local government because MECs were more experienced political leaders.
“For now we want this proposal to be discussed at branch level before we lobby other provinces to back us. We want this opened for discussion.”
He said the party in KwaZulu-Natal would not determine the time-frame.
“Once it is adopted by the party we will propose the time-frame,” Zuma said.
About the job security of the current employees of the provincial governments, Zuma said they should be absorbed by other spheres of government “because they are employees of the national government”.
Cosatu has been lobbying for the scrapping of the provinces since 2011 as it feels that “instead of facilitating development, they have just been guzzling resources needed to build strong local government”.
Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini said the Struggle for freedom had been aimed at creating a unitary state. He said provinces had been created as a compromise to accommodate the bantustans.
He said creating provinces was not what the liberation Struggle was about. “It is quite expensive to run one country with different governments – national and nine provinces, which are autonomous.”
He said provinces impacted on service delivery because the policies were not all aligned with the national government.
IFP national chairperson Blessed Gwala said South Africa would have been more organised than it is today if it had adopted its idea of a federal state.
“What they (KwaZulu-Natal ANC and Cosatu) are proposing is that powers be moved from the people to be centralised in Pretoria,” he said.
Transferring the functions of the provinces to the local government was impractical.
“How can the council take functions of the province? Right now the municipalities are struggling to function, and if you give them more responsibilities, they will collapse,” said Gwala.
Political analyst Protas Madlala said it would make sense if the ANC was proposing that the number of provinces be reduced instead of scrapping them.
“It would be a clever idea to rationalise and cut them down. There was such an argument that there were too many provinces. It would make sense in terms of reducing costs and saving money,” he said.