Home South African Dlamini Zuma warns political figures not to meddle in municipal affairs

Dlamini Zuma warns political figures not to meddle in municipal affairs

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Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has warned about the dangers of political figures meddling in the administrative affairs at municipalities.

Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. File picture

DURBAN – Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has warned about the dangers of political figures meddling in the administrative affairs at municipalities.

Delivering the keynote address at the Local Government Indaba held at the Durban International Convention Centre on Tuesday, the minister said the interface between the administrative and political wings was leading to questionable appointments at councils and compromising service delivery in parts of the country because many officials were not suitably qualified.

The end result of this, Dlamini Zuma warned, were service-delivery protests by communities which underlined that public trust in municipalities had been eroded.

“There is room for interface between the political and administrative wings at municipalities, but there is a point when it becomes unhealthy when politicians insist on certain appointments.

“If you happen to like a candidate applying for the municipal manager (post) but know that such a candidate does not qualify, then do not appoint that person,” the minister advised delegates at the gathering.

Earlier this year, the issue of alleged political interference in the appointment of municipal managers came to the fore in eThekwini Municipality. The ANC in the province was accused of having a preferred candidate and the opposition parties voted against the candidate being appointed. The ANC denied allegations of interference. The search for a municipal manager for the city has started afresh.

Dlamini Zuma said on Tuesday that failures in governance and the lack of sound financial management at municipalities had emerged as some of the key challenges identified by the department last year.

The minister also conceded that while there was a general agreement that local government was the most important sphere of government because of its proximity to the people, this sentiment had not been matched by the support necessary to make municipalities work.

“We should be deploying the most highly skilled people and providing other resources to the local government sphere so that it works. And so the call for a relook of the funding model should be made to the appropriate minister,” she said.

She was referring to Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana after a representative from the SA Local Government Association (Salga) had asked her to review the funding model for municipalities, especially those in rural areas.

According to the minister it was important for municipalities to prioritise local economic development, because if it was implemented properly it would benefit local government and create opportunities for many.

Dlamini Zuma warned that without development, there was a danger of many people viewing the government as an employer.

“In countries where the government is the main employer we should be worried because that is not a sign of stability. That is why you have coups in many countries with such a reality.”

She appealed for greater co-operation between local government and traditional leadership, warning that working in silos would yield little benefit while creating room for community unrest over lack of services.

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