The state of Mpumalanga municipalities: Premier reaps what he sowed

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

The DA welcomes premier David Mabuza’s appeal to national cooperative governance minister Lechesa Tsenoli to assist struggling municipalities, and hopes that this will finally lead to sustainable and financially viable local government.

According to reports, the premier all but admitted that municipalities have failed due to a lack of skills, financial mismanagement and corruption, and that his comrades in leadership positions lack the necessary leadership skills to counter it.

The DA believes that the premier is now realising the damage that his tenure in office has caused government and the ANC, and is now trying to use his last days in office to turn things around.

If he was indeed sincere about the poor state of governance in Mpumalanga’s municipalities, why did he not intervene when he took office in 2009? This would have built a legacy of decent service delivery, good governance and efficient administrative and financial management.

As chairperson of the provincial ANC the premier has much influence on who is elected and appointed to lead our municipalities, so if he knew how weak the leadership is, why did he not act earlier to intervene?

Furthermore, the premier and the ANC provincial executive, through their influence over the deployment committee, are so determined to prescribe to municipalities who must be elected and appointed, that they have not allowed the appointment of the best and most suitably qualified persons to do their jobs. So too have they not allowed mayors and municipal managers to spread their wings and develop their leadership skills, which ultimately led to the collapse of municipalities.

The DA believes that the request for national assistance, while welcome, is not only a massive indictment of the premier’s lack of leadership, but a desperate gamble by the provincial ANC to sway public opinion back into its favour.