The African National Congress (ANC) plans to crack the whip on its Free State leaders who did not inform the party that the Moqhaka municipality — which includes Kroonstad — had built open toilets, secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said on Friday.
Mantashe said the local government elections had served to remind the party of the need to resuscitate the debate on whether all the three spheres of government should be retained as they are. Many smaller municipalities were burdened with a broad range of duties but were unable to raise revenue, he said.
Last week, the ANC was embarrassed by news of unenclosed toilets built by a municipality it controls. The revelations emerged at a time when the party was taking the Democratic Alliance to task for its open toilets in Cape Town.
Mantashe said the ANC was let down by those running the party in the Fezile Dabi region.
A disciplinary inquiry would be held, he said. Blaming Free State local government MEC Mamiki Qabathe for the toilet saga, he said she should have known about the toilets.
Amid further revelations that a company owned by Moqhaka mayor Mantebu Mokgosi was involved in the erection of the toilets, Mantashe said: “That is even worse. That is scandalous…. If you ask me, you should never do business with the company you are in.”
Officials and politicians had to be banned from doing business with the bodies they were part of. But he did not think a law was necessary to enforce this.
“Political ethics cannot be legislated. It is a function of consciousness. If you loot, there is something wrong with your consciousness … something is rotten with your consciousness,” he said.
Mantashe echoed Congress of South African Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi’s call last week for the debate on the levels of government to be reopened. Vavi said provincial governments were blocking the fast delivery of services, and should be done away with in order to embolden municipalities.
The ANC has been re-evaluating the three tiers of government. A conference in December recommended that a presidential review investigate ways of structuring the administration. Possible options included abolishing or reducing the number of provinces to allow for the strengthening of municipalities. But abolishing provincial government was not popular with the ANC’s rank and file as provincial governments and legislatures provided jobs, and were used by regional power brokers to dole out patronage.
Another option is the abolition of district municipalities. The duties of smaller municipalities should be reduced, leaving district municipalities to fulfil the rest of the mandate, said Mantashe. However, he said the state of municipalities was not all gloomy, as many were doing sterling work. “We are underselling what we have done in the last 17 years.”
The debate on the structure of government should be raised during the party’s policy conference, to be held in June next year, he said.
Credit to: The Business Day