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No law will stop deterioration of municipalities

(Debate in Parliament on Municipal Systems Amendment Bill)

Changes to the Municipal Systems Amendment Bill are long overdue and absolutely necessary to address shortcomings in the Act, like prohibiting officials from holding any political offices in political parties.

In 2017, the Constitutional Court ruled that the Bill is unconstitutional and invalid and it gave Parliament two years to rectify it. The deadline was 9 March 2019.

And yet no law or amendment can really stop the deterioration of our municipalities.

Local government has totally collapsed. This is as a result of dilapidated infrastructure, outstanding debt to Eskom and water boards, exorbitant salaries, little to no service delivery, the pollution of water sources, financial mismanagement, corruption and incompetence, to name but a few.

A welcome amendment is that officials on all levels will be banned from holding any kind of office in a political party. This will help to put an end to cadre deployment, which is one of the main reasons why local government is failing.

Individuals are appointed in positions because of their political ties and affiliations and not based on their skills, knowledge, experience and expertise.

The amendments to the Act must be complied with. If violating legislation and regulations does not have any consequences, then legislation will do nothing to solve the problem.

A shortcoming that must still be addressed is the re-deployment of incompetent or corrupt municipal officials who are often simply appointed somewhere else.

Legislation on this is vital because for the ANC, nepotism is stronger than logic and more important than the interests of the people of South Africa.

An example is Mangaung which is once again at loggerheads with a water board, Bloemwater, while the people who loyally pay their rates and taxes are suffering.

Furthermore, it is unacceptable that rates and taxes increase year after year while service delivery deteriorates.

A completely new model for local government is needed. One with smaller municipalities where there is the political will to provide proper service delivery and ensure that residents get value for their money.

The people who do not get what they pay for will eventually stop paying.

 

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