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Public can help curb municipal decline by requesting access to municipal service contracts and their contents

It is important that the public know they have the right to inspect municipal contracts, and their contents, with service providers.

Municipal legislation stipulates that all municipal service contracts must be made available for public scrutiny. In this way, the public can help to expose corruption and fraud, and prevent the utter decline of municipalities countrywide.

Not all municipalities are willing to make this information readily available and that creates a fertile breeding ground for mismanagement, corruption and fraud.

In response to a parliamentary question by the FF Plus, the Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana, confirmed that municipal legislation determines that the public have the right to gain access to all municipal service contracts.

It includes service delivery agreements with municipal providers.

The FF Plus enquired about it from the Minister after numerous incidents countrywide where municipalities refused to disclose contracts and agreements.

This is especially true for cases where service providers are clearly underperforming or abandoned unfinished projects after having already received their compensation, or at least a large portion of it.

The FF Plus is calling on all interested parties and organisations, businesspeople and the public across the country to exercise their right to access this information at municipalities.

In this way, they can determine which ANC tenderpreneurs are to blame for poor service delivery and the looting of municipal resources.

It is no secret that the same tenderpreneurs are repeatedly rewarded with tenders in ANC municipalities, despite having poor track records.

In this regard, the FF Plus's councillors are also doing their part by acting as watchdogs and demanding access to this information, which has in some cases even been withheld from municipal councillors.

Wide public insistence on access to the details of contracts and agreements could bring about a turning point in eradicating irregularities.

It can also contribute to breaking the power and influence of those who have, over time, gained a stranglehold over municipal resources, at the public's expense.

An example of such civil pressure is Sakeliga bringing an application before the High Court in Polokwane to have the acting municipal manager of the Mogalakwena Local Municipality in Limpopo found guilty of contempt of court.

According to Sakeliga, this application follows a court order, which was obtained on the 18th of January this year, to compel the municipal manager to disclose information in terms of a PAIA application.

The FF Plus has created a dedicated e-mail address (Cornetvt@vfplus.org.za) where the details of cases where information is being withheld can be sent.

The FF Plus will use this information to put further pressure on municipalities, and to take action against irregularities.

The party will continue to fight against corruption and the decline of service delivery on all levels of government. The people of South Africa deserve better than the ANC.

 

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