We need woema, not Vuna

Troubled Sterkspruit gets top award

THE DA notes with shock the department of local government’s Vuna Awards last Wednesday evening where the Senqu Municipality, which includes the violence-torn town of Sterkspruit, was bestowed the “best overall performance” award. Awards were also given to other municipalities, despite not one of the 45 municipalities in the province receiving a clean audit in the last financial year.

What we need is woema in our municipalities, not Vuna. This province cannot tolerate the ANC turning a blind eye to the failing local government. Local government MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane has chosen to reward mediocrity, rather than addressing the very genuine complaints and needs of the province’s people.

The awards are supposed to give support to deserving municipalities, who fulfill their mandates in key performance areas of good governance and public participation, institutional transformation and organisational development, service delivery, local economic development and financial management and viability.

The continued impasse in Sterkspruit stems from claims by the Sterkspruit Civic Association over alleged skewed service delivery and rampant looting by municipal officials. Alfred Nzo and Ingquza Hill were rewarded for spending 100% of their Municipal Infrastructure Grants. Surely this is what municipalities are supposed to do anyway? Why are we rewarding mediocre performance?

The award to Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality for best performance in revenue collection is of concern. The metro’s revenue continues to drop, affecting budget and, ultimately, service delivery. Many communities in the Eastern Cape are the victims of failing local government. The ANC of President Jacob Zuma is simply not helping to improve their hopeless lot. All the time the faceless poor wallow in the despair of poverty and broken promises.

We cannot allow municipal officials to be paid huge salaries with taxpayer’s money, while they fail to perform their core duties. What we need is accountability and action against non-performance and mismanagement.

Dacre Haddon, MPL & Shadow MEC for Local Government, Bhisho