Sunday Tribune

Replacing rot with results

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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.

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