“A fierce battle is looming between the African National Congress (ANC) and its allies in the labour movement over the ruling party’s attempt to depoliticise local government in order to improve service delivery.

The Municipal Systems Amendment Bill, which will prohibit office bearers in political parties from being appointed to senior management positions in municipalities, is heading to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), where the government and labour are expected to clash over the bill”.

These are extracts from an article by Sibongakonke Shoba Municipal managers face a choice appearing in Business Day today where the point is made that “Some office bearers do not have the qualifications and skills to get work in the private sector”.

Scrap political appointees

“The ANC-led government wants to do away with political appointees in a bid to improve service delivery, the tardiness of which has for several years sparked sporadic violent protest.   Party patronage has been blamed for the problems of municipalities as many political appointees lack the required skills and expertise for their posts.   Many municipalities have become dysfunctional and some have been put under provincial administration”.

ANC national general council supports bill

“Co-operative Governance Minister Sicelo Shiceka told Business Day yesterday some in the ANC opposed the bill because they were “benefiting” from having their people controlling municipal resources.   However “about 95%” of the ANC delegates who attended the party’s national general council in Durban last week were in full support of the bill”.

Balancing improved service delivery with rewarding activists

“Mcebisi Ndletyana, a senior research specialist with the Human Sciences Research Council, says the bill is a “thorny issue” because the ANC has to balance improving service delivery with rewarding party activists.

‘Party activists have been employed in government as some kind of reward.   This bill will limit the source of employment because some of these office bearers do not have the qualifications and the skills to get employment in the private sector…   and some tend to be corrupt,’ he says”.