Chris Hattingh MPL
DA Leader in North West
NW Premier Thandi Modise’s latest rant about the regressive NW Municipalities, as once again highlighted by the Auditor General, this time puts the blame on “municipalities in the province not taking action against those responsible for poor performance and transgressions.”
The Premier, increasingly more vociferous about and apparently involved in North West issues since she was relieved of her Luthuli House obligations in December, has yet to acknowledge the core findings of the Auditor General about governance in NW Municipalities:
- “leadership does not set the appropriate tone at the top”
- “a significant increase in irregular expenditure” and that
- “key officials lack the required competencies and skills.”
Modise’s unhappiness about municipalities that are not taking action against those responsible for poor performance and transgressions is an indictment against herself as the NW Premier and the ANC. The implicated officials are almost exclusively ANC cadres deployed into positions way beyond their capacity, qualification and experience levels, are protected with the accompanying cadre protection system allowing them to act almost with impunity.
The Premier’s statement about the lack of a political will to act against “officials found guilty of corruption and mismanagement of funds” is another indictment against herself in her role as the most senior political official in the NW and perhaps an acknowledgement of the devastating effects of having two competing centres of power within the NW ANC.
The Premier base some of her statements on “several forensic reports” touching on another serious facet of the NW governance crisis: not a single forensic report has been tabled in the North West Provincial Legislature by Premier Modise or her predecessors for more than a decade. These forensic reports never see the light of day and are closely guarded secrets presumably to protect deployed cadres in a milieu of impunity.
Unless Premier Thandi Modise is prepared to move from speeches and statements to visible action and a real clean-up of corrupt officials and practices NW governance at both provincial and municipal level will continue its downward trend.
A good start would be for the Premier to table the stacks of NW forensic reports and to start a capacity audit of NW officials at both provincial and municipal level – a fraction of the amounts spent annually on consultants appointed to do the work of incompetent cadres will be sufficient to fund such an audit.