Replacing rot with results
MUCH hand-wringing and little action sums up the crisis of the country’s municipalities in recent days.
All the talking has done little to inspire confidence that President Jacob Zuma’s cabinet and the ANC have any answers.
There is general agreement effective local government is critical for the development of our country and democracy.
Daunting challenges include endemic corruption among councillors; political in-fighting linked to the scramble for the spoils of public office; and little concern for the plight of residents.
These councillors interfere in the work of officials, ignore the need to maintain infrastructure, have little idea of how to go about developing their towns and have poor financial management skills.
Disgracefully, many municipal officials are simply incompetent and lack the basic skills to do their jobs. We need civil engineers, town planners, and all the other expert staff taxpayers pay for.
Huge amounts have been wasted by political appointees on cars, perks and frivolous projects. Studies show many councils are bankrupt and incapable of delivering water, electricity or waste disposal services.
While Zuma lashed communities who burn down councillors’ homes and barricade streets, the ANC’s firing of Standerton’s mayor shows violent protest gets results. Now expectations have been raised that lives will change for the better. But if talking replaces delivery, the ANC will face a backlash.