By CARY CLARK, Democratic Alliance (DA) candidate for Wards 1 and 8
The Democratic Alliance is one of only three political parties that can claim any governance track record in South Africa. At a municipal level, the DA has consistently far outperformed every other party.
The auditor-general has for years pointed to the DA-run municipalities as the most financially well-managed, with regular clean and unqualified audits. StatSA in the latest Non-Financial Census of Municipalities identifies DA municipalities as providing the best basket of services to indigent residents and having the highest availability of water, sanitation and electricity. News24’s Out of Order index, published last week, rates DA-run municipalities as the best performing. StatsSA again highlights that DA run municipalities have the lowest levels of unemployment.
Perhaps that last point needs to be unpacked: Businesses invest where they know the power works, the water flows (and is drinkable) and the roads are maintained. In short, they seek out well-run municipalities because they can rely on the basics being done correctly, and their businesses can operate without fear of service delivery interruption. Tourists are attracted (apart from the sights, events and activities) to towns where they feel safe and where the streets are clean and well-lit. Where laws are upheld. All of this leads to investment and job creation.
Midvaal Municipality, in Gauteng, is one such place. It has the lowest unemployment in Gauteng. Things just work. But that’s to be expected from a DA-run municipality. It’s a quiet place, where the only real noise is the sound of municipal workers trimming the verges. Another is Kouga Municipality, recently identified as the top-performing municipality in the Eastern Cape and number 9 in the country. Kouga had been mismanaged for several years because of small parties and unaccountable independents, keen to play power-mongers, who kept the ANC in government. In 2016, the DA took over with an outright majority, and Kouga’s fortunes changed for the better.
Our commitments to Makana are not rocket science. They are common-sense, practical solutions that fall within the mandate of local government – not the pie in the sky promises some other parties and individuals have made in this election. Underlying all our commitments is a promise of clean, accountable government. One where municipal posts are filled on merit rather than political affiliation or personal friendship. Where disciplinary processes are concluded speedily. Where the municipal manager accounts to Council and is held responsible for the actions of the administration. Where residents’ issues are logged, tracked, resolved, and reported upon.
Makana needs to resolve its financial issues, but it also needs to urgently pay attention to its infrastructure. It is unthinkable that ten years after the first Makana water crisis, the municipality is still not able to supply potable water consistently to all its residents. It is crazy that it drills boreholes in Riebeek East (at the cost of millions!) but then cannot provide electricity to power them due to their incompetence. It is utter madness that the metal irrigation pipes that provide what little water the residents of Alicedale receive every second day leak like sieves – in an area where every drop counts! It is reprehensible that children have died from this municipality’s sheer incompetence – a child on broken playground equipment in Riebeek East and another in an unprotected drainage ditch in Zolani, and still not one municipal official has been held responsible.
More than anything, Makana needs a competent, stable government that isn’t subject to the whims of individuals on any particular day. It requires leadership from a political party with an unparalleled track record in government. The DA delivers on this everywhere that it governs, something no one else can claim. Of course, there is always room for improvement, but on any purely objective measure, the DA gets things done!