ANC ARROGANCE IN GAUTENG

Jack Bloom MPL DA Gauteng Caucus Leader Gauteng ANC Chairperson Paul Mashatile has warned the DA that his party is ready to defend its majority in the province. He said the ANC is aiming for a two-thirds majority so that it “can continue to bring about a better life for our people.” This is startling arrogance from a politician with an appalling record of failure in government. He was so bad that even the ANC dumped him as premier after the 2009 elections. Other former premiers received senior cabinet posts, but he was demoted to be deputy minister of arts and culture. There have been many allegations about his “Alex Mafia” of friends and associates who are favoured in getting tenders and high-level positions. When Nomvula Mokonyane became premier she painted a dire picture of the mess that she needed to fix. It is hard to credit Mashatile with anything positive in all the positions he has held in the provincial government. He once spent R96 000 on his government credit card for a dinner at a fancy restaurant. He made giant mistakes like wanting to bring the Formula 1 to Gauteng, which would have cost about R10 billion over 10 years. This was canned, and about R800 million was saved by cancelling motorsports contracts that he had promoted. Mokonyane has dismantled the Gauteng Shared Services Centre and other agencies that Mashatile mismanaged. She also had to deal with Mashatile’s cronies in the disastrously run Roads and Transport Department. But he clawed back to power in Gauteng by beating her to retain his position as provincial chairperson. He forced a cabinet reshuffle which included the appointment of Humphrey Mmemezi as MEC for Local Government and Housing. It didn’t take too long before Mmemezi was forced to resign after misspending on his government credit card. Another bad appointment was Ntombi Mekgwe to head the troubled health department. This department has now had three MECs and is still struggling to improve health services. There are all manner of failures and wasted expenditure in other departments. According to the Auditor-General, there has been more than R3 billion unauthorised expenditure since Mokonyane became premier. And payments to suppliers are often still not within the required 30 days. While quality of life has improved in Gauteng, this has a lot to do with its energetic and creative people. The provincial government has really under-performed badly. Things could have been so much better if it concentrated on doing basic things well. The ANC got 65% of the Gauteng vote in the national election in 2009, but only 60% in the local government elections in 2011. About 1.8 million people are unemployed in Gauteng, many living in informal settlements without services. There is little reason for them to support the ruling party. Mass anger over the e-tolling of Gauteng highways will also cost the ANC support. The ANC cannot rely forever on gratitude for its liberation history to insulate it from voter anger over poor governance. I predict a big shock for the ANC in Gauteng in the next elections.

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