DA opposes ANC’s plan for dysfunctional municipalities

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Timothy Bernard African News Agency (ANA)

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Timothy Bernard African News Agency (ANA)

Published Feb 3, 2023


Pretoria - The DA has vowed to challenge the ANC on deploying some of its key national executive committee (NEC) members to dysfunctional municipalities to allow them to ensure speedy service delivery to communities.

The announcement to deploy NEC members to struggling municipalities was made by ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula this week, following the party’s two-day extended lekgotla, which ended on Monday.

Mbalula said, in considering the improvement in the delivery of basic services and maintaining infrastructure, the lekgotla recalled that the ANC had adopted the district development model to enhance the speed and quality of service delivery. He said the model would be complemented by the re-establishment of local government forums.

He said the ANC in providing political oversight to service delivery, the lekgotla had directed him to establish a delivery command centre in the secretary-general’s office.

“The NEC further identified 42 priority municipalities, which require urgent action where, among others, service delivery interventions must be expedited. To support this, the NEC will deploy NEC members to districts and strategic municipalities, in line with the model.

“In supporting these and other municipalities, the ANC will adopt a 15-month local government resuscitated strategy which will, among others, focus on a skills audit as well as accelerated delivery in water and sanitation, integrated transport, and an expanded social safety net (which includes the National Health Insurance),” he said.

Mbalula also said that given that such a programme would require resourcing, the NEC had directed the government to review the municipal fiscal model, including the division of revenue between national, provincial and local spheres of government.

The lekgotla’s outcome, however, has irked the DA’s spokesperson for co-operative governance and traditional affairs, Cilliers Brink.

Brink said yesterday that his party would keep a close eye on the members of the ANC NEC who the party has now decided to “deploy” to dysfunctional municipalities, saying the state does not belong to the ANC, and their leaders must respect the separation between party and state.

“If members of the party’s discredited NEC will be deployed … to 42 struggling municipalities across the country to keep check on its members who have failed to govern local councils, will they be interfering in municipal council decisions, appointments in the administration, and tender awards?” Brink asked.

He said if the ANC and the national government were serious about fixing the dysfunctional municipalities under ANC control, they should concede to the DA’s high court case against cadre deployment, not oppose it.

The court case was heard in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, last week but judgment is still pending.

Brink reiterated that the primary cause of governance failure in ANC-run municipalities was the deployment of connected cadres to political and senior administrative positions, often with no qualifications to do the job.

He said that had not only politicised the administrative function in municipalities, but it had also resulted in undue interference with procurement processes to benefit ANC networks, wasteful spending, financial ruin and collapse in service delivery.

“In contrast, DA-run municipalities are among the best-run in the country because of, among other factors, prioritising meritorious appointment of senior managers, transparent procurement processes and a laser focus on high service delivery spending when measured per resident on an annual basis.

“Given the ANC’s track record, we simply don’t believe that this will be the work which deployed NEC members will seek to do in municipalities already destroyed by the party’s corruption and mismanagement,” Brink said.

Pretoria News