While the ANC government is boasting about good local government, the country is burning in many places because of poor service delivery, says Dr. Pieter Groenewald, leader of the FF Plus.
Dr. Groenewald said today with the budget vote debate of the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs that almost all the violent protest marches in South Africa begins as a protest march against poor service delivery.
He said that a further consequence of these marches is that criminal elements abuse the situation to plunder, burn and loot.
"The minister (Des van Rooyen) paints a picture that is not true. He boasts how many jobs have been created. Could he rather say why there is such a large shortage of officials and why there are so many unqualified officials in local government?
"The report of the Auditor-General (OG) states that 42% of workers in financial departments are insufficiently qualified while 13% of municipal managers are not qualified at all. About a third of all municipalities do not even have a qualified chief engineer.
"Against this background, the ANC should not wonder why people are angry about a lack of service delivery.
"With regards to vacancies, there are 43 000 posts in the water management directorates of local governments that are not filled. On financial management, the OG's report states that 92% of municipalities' finances are extremely worrying, and that 25% is technically bankrupt.
"Outstanding debts to municipalities by non-payers amount to more than R110 billion. A municipality cannot function if people do not pay for services, and this culture of non-payment was created by the ANC itself.
"It is clear that the ANC does not have the ability or the will to turn this culture around because they do not want to go to their voters and tell them to start paying.
"What the government is doing now is to force those who are paying to pay more, and to subsidize those who refuse to pay.
"Some municipalities almost cannot afford to pay salaries. In other cases, tax and pension deductions are not paid over but are used for infrastructure development.
"This is the real picture of local government, not the utopia that the ANC tries to paint to voters," said Dr. Groenewald.
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