The matter of reducing the number of provinces to six to improve service delivery will again be in the spotlight at the ANC policy conference.
Johannesburg – The reduction in the number of provinces will again be in the spotlight when the ANC meets for its policy conference next month.

The matter of reducing the number of provinces from nine to six to improve service delivery has been on the ANC's agenda since its 52nd national conference in 2007.

It was decided in 2015 that President Jacob Zuma would set up a presidential commission, but this has still not been done.

The policy documents state that “the ongoing assessment of the configuration of the state, in most cases, points to the need for a review of key policy and constitutional issues. Among others, these include the allocation of powers and functions, planning across government, the two-tier system of local government, and the effectiveness and functionality of some provinces”.

The ANC Summit on Provinces and Local Government in 2010 endorsed a framework document to guide the review process. But since no presidential commission has been set up, not much has been achieved on the issue.

On Sunday, ANC legislature and governance subcommittee member Andries Nel said the matter was still on the cards.

He said that if established, the presidential commission would look at the question of provincial government to cover the number of provinces, their powers, and their capacity to govern and deliver services.

“Regrettably in the public sphere what has emerged mostly strongly is the question of the number of provinces."

"We want to emphasise that we are dealing with a complex issue - whether we should have nine or six or however many provinces."

However, the DA sees the plans to reduce the number of provinces as a ploy for the ruling party to change demarcations so that it doesn’t lose the upcoming elections in 2019.

“We are planning to win Gauteng in 2019. The ANC know they have declining support and want to maximise their chances of winning,” said DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s spokesperson Graham Charters.

Meanwhile, former Joburg mayor Parks Tau said the ANC was not weakened by being in the opposition benches in Joburg and Tshwane.

The Star