Luthuli House boss Fikile Mbalula decries failures in local government

10 February 2023 - 19:28
By Mawande AmaShabalala
ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula. File photo.
Image: Supplied ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula. File photo.

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula believes that local government in the country is on its knees due to coalition governments.

Mbalula said this during an engagement with members of the media in Cape Town on Friday after Thursday's  state of the nation address (Sona) .

Mbalula said the governing party was pleased with interventions announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa to save local government from total collapse.

In his Sona speech, Ramaphosa lamented that “163 out of 257 [municipalities], are dysfunctional or in distress due to poor governance, ineffective and sometimes corrupt financial and administrative management and poor service delivery”.

Mbalula said at the centre of the mess were unstable coalition governments that do not include the ANC.

He believed  Nelson Mandela Bay was one metropolitan municipality that was on the rise until 2016 when the ANC was unseated.

Coalitions, he said, had given credence to parties that did not have an interest to serve but to advance the personal agendas of the leaders.

“Local government is in a total state of distress. The problems of local government are political in the main. First there is instability at the political level and second it is the coalition arrangement which has not worked in many of our big municipalities and it undermines service delivery,” said Mbalula.

“Then there are narrow political interests, selfishness for power. In this instance, even small political parties want to rule over big political parties when it comes to coalition governments.”

Mbalula however admitted that the ANC cannot completely insulate itself from the crisis in local government.

He blamed factionalism in local ANC structures that spills over into municipal councils.

He said the ANC must relook at how it selects managers in local government.

“Some of the problems are because of our own making as a political party, the ANC. We in the ANC admit that some of our public representatives have undermined the mandate of the people and the mandate of the party and brought about instability.”

Mbalula said it was for this reason that the party has established a service delivery monitoring team in Luthuli House to hold its councillors accountable.

The members of this body will be announced soon, he said. 


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