Like most South Africans I was excited at the winds of change that swept through the various cities and metros won by the Democratic Alliance (DA). They achieved this ofcourse with support from other opposition parties (shout-out the the Economic Freedom Fighters). Many an article has already been written about the political maneuvering and coalition talks that went into allowing the DA to win, especially in the key Metro’s of Nelson Mandela Bay, Tshwane (Pretoria), and Johannesburg. So mine isn’t to try offer any insight into that. Rather, I want to discuss what the DA’s ascendancy into governance positions should mean for residents of these cities, especially the poor people.
DA governance should distinguish itself from that of the ANC through the DA insisting on putting people, as individuals and their families, first. The time of the connected cadre and leeching tenderprenuer is over. Local government should seek to provide the best platform for individuals and families to pursue their own separate interests, and prosper. This means clean, well-lit and safe city streets. This means a public transport network that connects the city and gets people to opportunities. This means reliable electricity, water, sanitation and refuse removal. This means the provision and protect of secure property-rights for all residents of the city.
These are the things that a DA municipality must deliver on consistently. These are the things that’ll see the people under DA-run municipalities, prosper. Thankfully we have reason to believe the DA can and will deliver on these things, because they’ve proven at the City of Cape town (since 2006) that where they govern, they govern really well. Let Gauteng metro’s and municipalities be no different.
South Africans want liberty and the freedom to use their knowledge, skills, abilities and talents to seek opportunity and prosper.
So, what should the first 100 days of these administrations look like? I have a wishlist, and so should you..especially if you live in any of the Metro’s newly governed by the DA. Here are 5 things I’d like to see the new municipalities run by the DA to do;
- Cut corruption. Send a clear signal early on that the corrupt and kleptocratic ways of the past, are over. Initiate forensic audits on suspect deals. Conduct extensive skills audits. Analyse the administration, with the view of streamlining it for delivery.
- Cut unnecessary and wasteful spending. Eliminate useless government programmes, and channel that money into service delivery.
- Strengthen the basics. Paint street markings correctly, fix street signs, fix traffic lights, cut grass and maintain public spaces, fix pot-holes, clean streets and pick up refuse, fix broken infrastructure (pipes, sewers, drains etc).
- Hasten land reform through property-rights. A clearly pro-poor campaign of giving title-deed ownership of serviced sites in informal settlements must begin. Let people own their piece of Jozi/Pretoria/PE.
- Strengthen revenue collection. This is crucial for many metro or municipality. People must pay for the services they use, and a culture of paying must be established early. It is the poor who benefit the most from this, as boosted local government coffers allow for the provision of free and subsidized services for the poorest.
It’s early days, but make no mistake, the DA must hit the ground running. Right now as we speak, presuming its experience in Cape Town and the Western Cape is anything to go by, the ANC and its ally, Cosatu, are already planning how to best sabotage these DA governments. We’re likely to see and hear rhetoric, as we did in the Cape, about campaigns of rendering DA-run areas “ungovernable”. The ANC are sore and rather dangerous losers.
The DA must crack on. Under the leadership of their party leader Mmusi Maimane, I have every belief that the era of freedom, fairness and opportunity for all will happen. Goodbye crooked cadres and corrupt tenderpreneurs, hello liberty and progress!
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