Shape up or ship out

Finweek English Edition - - Thefinweek -

A NUM­BER OF South Africa’s mu­nic­i­pal bu­reau­crats could get the boot if no tan­gi­ble im­prove­ment in gov­er­nance is shown soon. Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma sum­monsed the coun­try’s 283 may­ors to a meet­ing in Cape Town, where he blamed them and their of­fi­cials for the “deep cri­sis of gov­er­nance” lo­cal gov­ern­ment found it­self in.

Zuma’s scathing as­sess­ment of SA’s ail­ing towns and cities – which ad­dressed the is­sue of ram­pant cor­rup­tion head on – in­cluded a warn­ing that mu­nic­i­pal politi­cians and bu­reau­crats could ex­pect sweep­ing changes.

Flanked by 15 Cab­i­net min­is­ters, pre­miers as well as direc­tors-gen­eral, Zuma also crit­i­cised the fact many mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties had ef­fec­tively be­come per­sonal cash cows for politi­cians and of­fi­cials. “Th­ese bat­tles for con­trol over re­sources ren­der the af­fected mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties ef­fec­tively dys­func­tional,” said Zuma, who also ques­tioned how fi­nan­cial man­age­ment and co-op­er­a­tion be­tween the three tiers of gov­ern­ment could be so poor that na­tional and pro­vin­cial de­part­ments cur­rently owed mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties around R53m for ser­vices.

The tough talk and prom­ise to get to grips with the prob­lem fol­low the release of a hard-hit­ting Gov­ern­ment re­port that detailed how po­lit­i­cal med­dling and in­fight­ing have brought many mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to the brink of col­lapse. The re­port – com­mis­sioned by Min­is­ter of Co-op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance & Tra­di­tional Af­fairs Sicelo Shiceka – is a crit­i­cal as­sess­ment car­ried out in all SA’s prov­inces be­tween April and Au­gust this year. The key pro­pos­als in the re­port, which is ex­pected to lay the foun­da­tion for a turn­around strat­egy in lo­cal gov­ern­ment, in­clude strip­ping re­gional and pro­vin­cial ANC struc­tures of their pow­ers to put peo­ple in top mu­nic­i­pal jobs. It also calls for po­lit­i­cal in­ter­ven­tion to deal with ten­sions and mis­trust be­tween of­fi­cials and coun­cil­lors and calls for a more com­mit­ted ap­proach to fir­ing the cor­rupt and in­com­pe­tent.

SA Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent

deny­ing plans to re­place coach Joel San­tana with for­mer coach Par­reira.

SA Rev­enue Ser­vice Com­mis­sioner

an­nounc­ing plans to crack down on de­fault­ing tax­pay­ers, in­clud­ing de­duct­ing money di­rectly from bank ac­counts.

ANC MP ad­dress­ing shocked mourn­ers at Kekana’s fu­neral af­ter she’d been shot by po­lice who mis­took the car she was in for a hi­jacked one. Drug lord tes­ti­fy­ing against his for­mer friend and po­lice com­mis­sioner Jackie Selebi.

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