FF+ leader Pieter Groenewald says state of municipalities biggest government failure
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Pretoria - The biggest government failure is the state of the municipalities in the country, according to Freedom Front Plus leader Dr Pieter Groenewald, who spoke yesterday ahead of the November 1 local government elections.
He was speaking at his party's hybrid manifesto launch in Pretoria on Saturday, where he said the FF+ had almost tripled its membership of MPs from the May 2019 local elections.
The party currently boasts 83 councillors across the country, and is confident that they will grow in the upcoming polls.
Groenewalt said: "Most of South Africa’s municipalities are in total chaos. Service delivery is poor, infrastructure is not maintained, and a large number of municipalities are bankrupt. Every voter must understand the future is in their hands and a very strong message must be sent that the decay will no longer be tolerated.
"The state of municipalities is the biggest failure of the ANC government.“
Service delivery had failed, and most municipalities were on the brink of bankruptcy and unsustainability.
“Towns have been joined to form large municipalities or metro councils, with the only improvement the salaries of councillors and top officials,” said Groenewalt.
He said, according to the Department of Water and Sanitation, 56% of the 1 150 sanitation purification plants meant to service people were in a bad condition.
"There is a shortage of officials with the required skills and qualifications. More than 43% of municipal officials do not comply with the required minimum skill set, and 48% of chief financial officers of municipalities are not sufficiently qualified. There are many key positions not filled, whilst R4.5 billion has been spent on salaries for officials in financial directorates.
“An additional R1bn has been spent on consultants to do the work for which officials are being paid.”
Groenewalt decried the municipal water shortages.
"More than 1.7 million households do not have access to tap water, and some towns have been experiencing constant water shortages for more than five years running. Only 44% of municipalities have infrastructure maintenance plans, of which only 12 of them implemented them fully.
"Out of 257 municipalities, only six spent the adequate amount on repairs and maintenance as a percentage (8%) of their property, plant and equipment."
Some of the party's plans to intervene in municipality's, according to the party's manifesto, include stopping the appointment of officials who are not appointed on merit, and appointing the best person for the job, irrespective of skin colour. They also want to stop racial discrimination and focus on a better future for all, and decentralise local government and devolve power to as near as possible to the community through sub-councils and smaller municipalities.
Raising fair rates and taxes and stop unfair increases; creating a favourable environment for the private sector to stimulate economic growth, and creating sustainable job creation was also on their plan.
They also want to act as a power balance within multiparty governments and fight for the rights of FF+ voters in these governments; and act as an effective watchdog against mismanagement, corruption and incompetence and fulfil a dynamic, structured opposition role; prioritise infrastructure maintenance, comply with relevant legislation and effective policing and promote a culture of recycling.
“We will also stop the loss of water due to burst pipes and leakages; protect heritage, and respect diversity; stop the unnecessary changes to place and street names and promote multilingualism,” the manifesto added.