The signing ceremony today between mayors in the Eastern Cape and the MEC for Local Government, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, is a step in the right direction but this will only be a meaningful exercise if enforced.
Lack of accountability lies at the heart of the problems of the Eastern Cape: until the axe falls with regularity on non-performers the problems of the current ANC-led government will remain.
The Democratic Alliance believes that accountability needs to run a lot deeper. We suggest that the performance agreements should be municipality-specific rather than general and that similar undertakings need to be sighed with the respective political parties. The MEC does not have real powers to dismiss mayors who don’t perform. It is political parties that have the power. The ANC needs to give a public undertaking that non-performing mayors will be fired.
Secondly, the DA believes that individual MECs need to sign performance agreements with the Premier. This will ensure that they are held accountable for their performance particularly so where it impacts on local government.
There are a number of areas where the capacity of the departments to deliver services impacts on local government. Locals Government often battle to get environmental impact assessments approved. This makes it difficult to utilise infrastructure funding or apply for it. Local governments often battle to get funds out of provincial government that are owed to them. This creates havoc with their cash flows.
Similarly with road maintenance, health issues and libraries the MECs need to ensure that the departments deliver these services at municipal level.
The DA has signed initial performance agreements with mayors of DA-run municipalities and by the end of October will sign tailor-made specific performance agreements with each individual mayor.