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Fri Jul 31 23:28:06 SAST 2015

We pay, you deliver: The failed people's pact with the state

The Times Editorial | 07 February, 2013 00:40

The Times Editorial: Public funding of political parties took centre stage yesterday. The ANC resolved at its national conference in Mangaung in December that more public money be spent on subsidising political parties "to promote democracy".

As expected, opposition parties have raised their concerns, saying that an increase in the public funding of the parties represented in parliament would merely give the ANC a bigger advantage.

While political parties continue to argue about how much taxpayers' cash each is entitled too, it seems no one is prepared to argue for the man in the street who, though his taxes continue to rise, does not get the services he has paid for.

Our democracy must be funded, but not just by throwing more money at political parties - without tax- payers getting better service, especially from the municipalities.

There is a case before the Constitutional Court involving the Moqhaka municipality, in the Free State. Irate Moqhaka residents decided to withhold their rates payments until they see an improvement in the lives of those being governed.

On Tuesday, the court asked how municipalities could be expected to provide services if residents refused to pay their rates and taxes because of poor municipal services.

This case goes to the heart of the appalling state of affairs in our municipalities. The Moqhaka residents have had no alternative but to stop paying an institution that fails to deliver.

The effort taken by our ruling party to secure an increase in public funding should be extended to fixing municipal service delivery.

If the government continues to dither, the action taken by the Moqhaka ratepayers is likely to be emulated in other municipalities, which could lead to a total collapse of local government.

The debate on public funding of political parties should be part of a bigger debate about service delivery at all levels of government.

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