Minister in the presidency Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has warned the ANC will lose more support in the 2021 local elections if the party does not clamp down on infighting and corruption that has led to political killings in some instances.
In a confidential presentation to the ANC’s special national executive committee meeting on Friday, Dlamini-Zuma, who is responsible for planning, monitoring and evaluation, painted a grim picture of the state of local government.
She and Phumulo Masualle, the deputy minister of public enterprises, presented a paper titled “The state of local government and what is to be done”.
The document states that local government continues to be plagued by a culture of protection of individuals involved in corruption, “weakening governance systems and processes resulting in threats and killings”, and “business and criminal underlying interest with undue influence in internal processes resulting in threats, intimidation or murders”.
The political instability due to infighting in municipalities has resulted in many being dysfunctional and led to lack of accountability and transparency, the document states, adding that there was an emergence of rogue leaders who are “untouchables” and involved in wrongdoing.
“The ANC support has continued to decline in key municipalities, thereby reversing the developmental agenda. Indications
are that the majority of challenges of municipalities emanate from the ANC itself.
Infighting cited as a major challenge
“Unless the trend is reversed, there is a further threat of decline in the upcoming LG [local government] elections,” it adds. Service delivery was hampered by, among others, purging of senior managers, and high vacancy rates due to disagreements in the ANC over who should be appointed.
There was also a problem of a “factional approach” to service delivery in municipalities, whereby incumbents discontinue projects
of their predecessors. The fights between mayors, speakers and municipal managers due to ANC internal battles led to councils and their administrations being divided, resulting in paralysis in governance, unaccountable officials and a breakdown in service delivery, the two leaders wrote.
The political instability in municipalities also resulted in loss of confidence in the ANC by communities, loss of revenue, and high Eskom and water boards bills and court action.
Unless trend is reversed, there is a further risk of decline in local polls
There was also a culture of impunity in local government, with leaders abusing their power in appointments of people, leading to allegations of nepotism, fraud and corruption, the report states further.
“Political debates, analysis and engagement are fast disappearing and are replaced by politic of conflict and personalities, gossip-mongering, disinformation and character assassination instead of robust engagement on how to transform our people, our country and our economy to create jobs and eradicate poverty.”
By George Matlala