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Makana after the elections - time to deliver

Date Released: Tue, 20 May 2014 08:00 +0200

The dust has settled after the 2014 National Elections and the African National Congress (ANC) has been voted into power for the next five years both nationally and provincially, in the Eastern Cape.

The talk must stop and it is time to deliver on the mandate that citizens exercised by voting for their respective parties to represent their interests in the National elections.

In Grahamstown, the ANC won the majority of the vote with two-thirds of the vote at 68.5%, while the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) where second and third respectively with 21.92% of the vote for the former and 3.69% for the latter.

Before the National Elections, Makana Municipality faced a number of challenges, which are also common at a national level, including: quality provision of water and sanitation; housing; decaying/poor infrastructure; financial challenges; and human resource challenges.

Just before the Elections, Makana Municipality had made some headway in at least addressing the human resource challenges, by the appointment of an acting Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and a new Acting Municipal Manager.

Makana Municipality also released the Draft Budget and Integrated Development Plan (IDP) for 2014/2015.These two documents serve as a guide as to how Makana Municipality, over the next year or so, plans to deliver on its mandate to ensure quality service delivery for all citizens.

When one goes through the 2014/2015 IDP for Makana Municipality there are two things that stand out for me with regards to ensuring quality and efficient service delivery for all citizens.

Firstly, is that in its core values, Makana Municipality promises to ensure transparency, quality, honesty, participatory democracy, accountability and professionalism in delivering its mandate.

Secondly, the IDP for 2014/2015 points out that there are six, key municipal development priorities which include:

  • Basis Service Delivery and Infrastructure Development;
  • Community Development and Social Cohesion;
  • Local Economic Development;
  • Institutional Development and Financial Development;
  • Good Governance and Public Participation; and
  • Rural Development and support to vulnerable groups.

On paper it seems Makana Municipality ticks all the right boxes with regards to its development priorities and in ensuring effective and quality service delivery for Grahamstown residents.

The problem is, however, implementation on these plans and values. Certainly questions can be asked as to whether Makana Municipality is encouraging participatory democracy - and if so, how?

How transparent has been Makana Municipality been in the disciplinary procedures and in communicating to the public key issues that are matters of concern to the general public, such as the dismissal of the former municipal manager Dr. Pravine Naidoo, the current suspension of the Strategic Manager in the Mayor’s Office, Mncedisi Boma and some of the financial challenges the municipality faces?

How much professionalism and accountability has Makana Municipality shown in the rendering of services such as water provision, sanitation and housing delivery and was this service of a high standard or quality?

It is these questions and many other issues to which there are not definitive answers. They require Makana Municipality officials to stand up and deliver, as we approach the new financial year in Makana, and ahead of local government elections in 2016.
Citizens have made their voice known by exercising their right to vote. It is now time that these elected officials deliver on this mandate.3

Story byThabani Mdlongwa

Thabani Mdlongwa is Local Government Researcher for the Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM) at Rhodes University

Source:Grocotts Mail