Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties not em­ploy­ment agen­cies

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - ZO OPINION -

KZN MEC for Co­op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs, No­musa Dube-Ncube, re­cently made the ‘star­tling’ dis­cov­ery that more than 200 coun­cil­lors across the province do not pos­sess ma­tric qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

Who is to blame for that?

Surely coun­cil­lors can’t be blamed for not hav­ing ma­tric or any other qual­i­fi­ca­tion, since there is no clause re­quir­ing them to have cer­tain qual­i­fi­ca­tions be­fore mak­ing them­selves avail­able for mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions.

Coun­cil­lors are firstly elected by their po­lit­i­cal par­ties be­fore be­ing elected by their con­stituen­cies.

They have been elected on the ba­sis of cham­pi­oning the in­ter­est of the peo­ple they lead, with spe­cial fo­cus on en­sur­ing ser­vice de­liv­ery in their com­mu­ni­ties.

There has been no em­pha­sis on ed­u­ca­tion as a cri­te­ria to be elected as a coun­cil­lor.

Pre­sent­ing her bud­get speech last week, DubeNcube said of the 1 846 coun­cil­lors, 234 have some school­ing but with no ma­tric, four do not have any school­ing, while 322 only have ma­tric.

There is gen­eral agree­ment with the MEC that there is an ur­gent need to build ca­pac­ity at lo­cal gov­ern­ment level.

This is the most im­por­tant sphere of gov­ern­ment where bread and but­ter is­sues mat­ter the most.

This is the only sphere of gov­ern­ment that is close to the peo­ple on the ground.

It is also a fact that coun­cil­lors lack­ing ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion of­ten com­pro­mise the func­tion­ing of mu­nic­i­pal coun­cils to a cer­tain point.

This is preva­lent in es­pe­cially ru­ral mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties where il­lit­er­acy lev­els are at a peak.

While the MEC made a valid point, the ques­tion re­mains when first did she re­alise the neg­a­tive im­pact of hav­ing coun­cil­lors with­out ma­tric qual­i­fi­ca­tions?

Why has this is­sue taken so long to be brought in the open?

I think all po­lit­i­cal par­ties need to take the flak for this dis­as­ter.

Col­lec­tively they have failed to make noise about coun­cil­lors’ lack of ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion in re­la­tion to the com­pe­tence re­quired for the de­liv­ery of ba­sic ser­vices.

His­tory has taught us that the many po­lit­i­cal killings we have wit­nessed in the province are linked to coun­cil­lors fight­ing for po­si­tions.

I’m now con­vinced that had the is­sue of qual­i­fi­ca­tions been made a re­quire­ment from the word go, we would not have so much ten­sion linked to the po­si­tion of be­ing a coun­cil­lor.

In po­lit­i­cal cir­cles, be­com­ing a coun­cil­lor has be­come one of the most sought after po­si­tions.

The sad re­al­ity is that many politi­cians tend to use mu­nic­i­pal ‘de­ploy­ment’ as an ‘em­ploy­ment agency’.

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