ANC must sort out internal issues or consistently face problems: ANC MP on North West governance failures
ANC MP Yunus Carrim says while the state may try to resolve governance issues in struggling provinces, this would be in vain if the governing party did not address internal issues as these spilt over into government.
Carrim was speaking at a meeting of the National Council of Provinces' ad hoc committee on the section 100 intervention in the North West.
The committee heard there were some improvements since the national government put the entire provincial government under administration in May 2018.
These included improvements towards achieving budget credibility and increased funding for social sector departments like health and slight reductions in the annual recording of irregular, unauthorised and fruitless and wasteful expenditure by provincial departments.
The National Treasury and auditor-general raised concerns about poor performance on conditional grant spending by some departments and the need to improve infrastructure governance structures and capacitate supply chain management units.
Carrim emphasised the importance of having a two-pronged approach — a state approach and a political one — in addressing failures of municipalities and provincial governments that were placed under administration.
“The state can do what it can but if the party that is leading, our party, is not sorting out its internal issues, we will consistently have this problem,” he said.
The problems within the ANC reinforced problems in provincial government and vice versa.
“We all know that there are huge political problems in our party [and] so we've got a state approach to an intervention,” he said.
While ministers and deputy ministers who were part of the interministerial task team overseeing the intervention could try to sort out technical issues, other issues of governance, including who was deployed in key positions, the professionalism and suitability of elected MPs — or MPs appointed in the case of the executive — needed to be addressed by a political strategy to complement the state strategy.
“We have to raise these issues. Otherwise we are like an ostrich. You can't separate the state interventions or the need for political resolutions from the ruling party which is our party,” he said.
Deputy finance minister David Masondo, who was leading a National Treasury team in the meeting, agreed that ANC politics played a role in some of the challenges faced by the North West especially with regards to municipalities.
He said an analysis of different factors that contributed to challenges in municipalities in that province would show that 80% of the problems were due to governance, politics and political leadership.
“Political leadership is also about exercising of power and in exercising this power, we have seen the appointment of incompetent officials,” he said.
This was among the reasons for an inability to spend conditional grants and general poor expenditure. There were competent officials able to do the work but they would be kicked out, frustrated or forced to comply with corrupt interests of political leadership at different levels.
“It's a mixture of many things, but at the end, it boils down to the question of political leadership,” said Masondo.
The ANC was addressing some of these issues, he added.