Monday, 24 January 2022

ANC Convenes Local Government Summit in De Aar

ANC STATEMENT ON THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT CONVENED FROM 11-12 OCTOBER 2019 IN DE AAR, PIXLEY KA SEME

The African National Congress in the Northern Cape convened a two-day Local Government Summit in De Aar over the weekend under the theme ’Building modern and growing local economies through sustainable, responsive and people centered municipalities”. The Summit was composed of various categories of ANC Deployees and political leadership, including regional executive committees as well as cadres with definitive interest in Local Government Finance, Local Economic Development , Municipal Services, Institutional capacity and Public participation who deliberated extensively and robustly on municipal governance and political leadership. Amongst others, the summit was the genesis of a comprehensive review of local government performance in the Northern Cape and the respective Deployees of the ANC.

Detailed reports were received on all the above aspects on each of the municipalities in the province. This enabled the summit to undertake informed discussions on issues.

Setting the tone, the Provincial Chairperson, Dr Zamani Saul opened the Summit with bold assertions, stating that, as the ANC we need to move away from a culture of holding summits and Makgotla in order to comply with ticking the boxes. Consequently, further cementing that the outcomes of the summit must respond to the betterment of the modalities of service delivery. This assertion effects our resolve as the ANC of regaining the confidence of the people of the Northern Cape as asserting the political hegemony of the ANC in transforming local government for the betterment of local communities. Comrade Chairperson emphasized the need for the summit to critically address issues relating to Fraud and Corruption prevalent in our municipalities without fear. This view is premised on the findings of the Auditor General’s report which portrays a grim reminder that some of our municipalities have become havens for corruption and maladministration. Poor financial management remains a concern for the ANC and as such the summit resolved on immediate stringent consequences for municipalities who consistently are regressing in respect of their audit performances. The summit took a particularly dim view of those municipalities that are failing to submit financial statements to the Auditor General. This gives the impression that they do not know how and were they spent their budgets. The summit has resolved that the different spheres of leadership and cadres of the movement must assert and exemplify conscientious and ethical leadership based on the values of the movement.

The summit critically discussed consequence management in non- performing municipal councils and administrations, we emerged with a stringed resolve that there should be a monitoring and evaluation unit in the office of the Provincial Secretary to deal specifically with matters relating to Local Government. This unit will be set up before 30 November 2019.

The summit further resolved that there is a need for Provincial Treasury to be involved in the municipal budget processes and for Provincial Treasury to guide the budgeting process. This will help curtail the phenomenon of “unfunded budgets” and poor collection of revenue by municipalities. The focus of ANC led municipalities must be particularly on huge consumers of municipal services. ANC study groups shall be convened for political leaders before the process of the budget, this in an effort to give political direction and capacitate councilors and also assist struggling municipalities.

The Department of COGHSTA should also assist municipalities in developing and implementing audit action plans. The Summit also resolved on the fast-tracking the work of the inter-ministerial task team into Eskom debt and that Municipalities to develop debt redemption plans to supplement and implement debt recovery plans.

Local Economic Development was top on the agenda of the summit, the ANC considered various methodologies which can create better opportunities to improve our local economies for increased sustainable and inclusive growth. The summit resolved that whilst there are municipalities where there is more than a semblance of work taking place there is a need for district municipalities to make a thorough study of the resource base they have and use such to grow local economies. The Summit resolved that the study should be developed and processed before 31 November 2019 to addres the high unemployment rate in our Province. There should be a deliberate effort from municipalities to capacitate informal sectors, furthermore the municipality needs to identify the stifling blocks to growth and address them in accordance to their key economic drivers.

The summit resolved on a targeted approach of engaging with big business in order to help create opportunities for SMME’s. The summit resolved that we should by the 2019/2020 financial year have formalized the informal and rural SMME’s, furthermore that District Municipalities must work together with the Department of Economic Development

Municipalities must hold annual Funding symposiums at least twice in a year to ensure that we deliberately make available access to funding. Community engagements need to be prioritized in key planning processes.

On Municipal Services and Spatial Planning, the summit resolved that the issue of land in our municipalities should not hinder development. The issue of lack of serviced land for development and residential purposes contributes to the worrying trend of land grabs. This curtails the potential for spatial planning and development. The ANC led municipalities will broaden the scope of available housing options thereby respond to the demand for rental housing and many of our people who yearn for affordable and serviced land to build their own homes.

The summit also resolved to improve the planning and coordination of district growth & development plans and Spatial Development Plans of municipalities. In line with the Draft Provincial Growth and Development Plans it is pivotal that all municipalities develop their growth plans.

The ANC in the Northern Cape remains steadfast on the implementation of the resolutions of its provincial conference and the pronouncement made in the State of the Province Address that seek to advance accelerated economic development. We further resolved to develop infrastructure master plans per District and also augment electricity supply through renewable energy investments. The ANC remains committed to the use of technologies that will aid in providing affordable energy and use these as avenues for new opportunities for small and emerging local businesses.

On improving the public participation and transparency at local government through planned and improved communication the summit resolved that there is a need for our councilors to go back to basics and regularly consult with communities in their specific wards. The summited noted challenges and resolved on the following,

• that the ANC embarks on a vigorous programme of reviving branches and ensuring that our branches are united

• the ANC through its branches and councilors needs to find ways of communicating with communities

• the ANC needs to capacitate councilors on requisite communication skills, eg. Public speaking, social media by 31 November 2019.

There is a need to strengthen the capacity of communicators in our municipalities where there are communicators and urgently look into the appointment of qualified communicators in municipalities where there are no communicators . Municipalities need to ensure that they fully utilize digital platforms to communicate to communities.

Finally, the process of the review of the performance of all ANC municipalities and councils will inevitably result in significant changes to strengthen governance and service delivery. The ongoing process of assessing municipalities and by implication our deployees has already provided sufficient information on the basis of which the PEC has been mandated to make necessary changes. These will be dully announced once the PEC has applied its mind and taken the necessary resolutions in the interests of the people. Simultaneously, we remain conscious of undue political interference in local government by some of our structures which contributes to governance malfeasance and paralysis. The summit in all its deliberations called for an obviation of these tendencies and the related regressive actions of obsessions with tenders and deployments that lack the requisite skill and are devoid of meritocracy.

Issued by the African National Congress-Northern Cape

Deshi Ngxanga

Provincial Secretary

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Naledi Gaosekwe

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info@ancnortherncape.org.za

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