Bosman Grobler MPL
DA Provincial Spokesperson on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA)
Note: The following speech was delivered in the Mpumalanga Legislature today by the DA’s Provincial Spokesperson on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) during the budget vote debate on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA).
It is common cause the local government is the coal face of service delivery in the lives of ordinary South Africans. It is here where the perceptions of citizens regarding government delivery is formed and it is at local level that residents get angry most often at the ANC’s slacked attitude towards improving conditions within communities.
Over the past few years our province has witnessed an escalation of service delivery protests (some violent) as a result of governments delivery failure. It is most telling Hon Speaker, that while many ANC members will today stand before this house singing the praises of the MEC and the ANC government, when many of these very members raised concern during the committee deliberations about how municipal delivery failures was making it extremely difficult for the ANC to canvass votes in communities, which is evident Hon Speaker by the over 61000 voters who have abandoned the ANC since 2009.
Hon Speaker, no matter how we look at it, municipal governance in our province is in a state of crisis. Across the province, once flourishing towns are deteriorating to the point of collapse.
The examples of poor performance in local government is ample. Just to name a few:
- Three municipalities in Mpumalanga are amongst Eskom’s top 7 debtors. Lekwa municipality owes Eskom R140 million, Thaba Chweu owes R185 million and Emalahleni owes a whopping R300 million. This fact alone points to the extent to which the ANC government section 139 interventions have failed. All three these municipalities have been or are under administration.
- Despite being under administration three times, Thaba Chweu municipality remains financially unviable, infrastructure is collapsing and the municipality is unable to deliver the most basic of services.
- The ability to deliver clean potable water is set to become a massive humanitarian crisis in this province and urgent action is required. There is not one municipality in Mpumalanga, including the ANC’s so-called flag-ship municipality in Steve Tshwete, which has a clean record of delivering a continuous flow of clean, safe and potable water to residents. Lekwa municipality is currently facing a massive water crisis and the water nightmare of Msukaligwa, Emalahleni, Albert Luthuli and Bushbuckridge has been widely reported and documented.
- The inability of municipalities to bring about a better life for residents is exacerbated by the repeated appointment of incompetent and unsuitably qualified officials. It is a disgrace that throughout all municipalities in Mpumalanga only two Municipal Managers and three CFO’s comply with the National treasury minimum competency guidelines. Hon Speaker it is time the ANC realises that our municipalities are not an employment agency for ANC comrades.
Hon Speaker, Hon MEC
Running an efficient and effective municipality is not rocket science. It is about getting the basics right: Visionary and responsible political leadership,
the appointment of the right person for the job, sound financial management and outcomes driven delivery targets coupled with the political will to put
the interests of residents first. And it can be done, the DA has proven this everywhere where we govern.
But the truth is Hon Speaker, under the ANC the situation will not improve. The reason for this is ARROGANCE. Despite all the evidence indicative of an
imminent governance crisis, the ANC is obsessed to stand here and say: “We have a good story to tell”; “Look at the progress we have made”., all the
while burying their heads in the sands to the realities that surround us.
Hon Speaker, the best advice I can give the ANC, is by means of the old saying: “A new broom sweeps clean”.
The MEC has an opportunity to use her newly bestowed mandate to turn our ailing municipalities around. Through executing your department’s mandate
of supporting and guiding municipalities, you must ensure that people employed in the administration of municipalities are competent, willing and able to
do the jobs they have been appointed to do.
Hon Speaker, it is the lives of our provinces people that must come first. A renewed commitment to that better life to which we all yearn must come first,
and not the selfish interest of individuals, the ANC or any other tender seeking fat cats.
We can and must make local government in Mpumalanga work.
I thank you.