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Mon May 30 18:28:12 SAST 2016

Don't let power plays distract us from nuts and bolts

The Times Editorial | 15 March, 2016 00:38

The intense public focus on the economy, on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and on the Gupta family is helping to stall a much-needed overhaul of our local government systems.

The attention of the ruling party and of the government has been diverted by the political battle, an unseemly brawl that also distracts Gordhan from his noble task.

Although the police have every right to investigate without fear or favour, they, too, operate in a space dominated by politics. Surely the Hawks could diligently pursue their investigation into the affairs of the SA Revenue Service without leaking information that damages the country's image and sends a message to investors that we are in chaos.

The ANC yesterday convened a briefing on its local government strategy. There was a little talk about the need to turn municipalities around but more attention was devoted to the national hullabaloo.

As local council elections approach, we expect serious attention to be devoted to this area of government, one that has a direct daily effect on us.

Local government is with us every minute of our lives.

The influence of the Guptas and allegations of state capture must be confronted, but just as important is delivery of services. The quality of water, lighting and roads defines the quality of local leadership.

Politicians need to spend less time watching fireworks on the national political stage and more time removing dead wood - those who draw a salary but are of zero benefit to the people.

As ratepayers we must spend more time campaigning and a little less time grumbling about the disaster in the Presidency.

As the Moody's Investors' Service team comes to town, let's focus on saving South Africa from a credit downgrade and not obsess about shenanigans in the corridors of power.

The quality of all our lives should be our priority - not the emperor's new clothes.


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