By PHILIP MACHANICK
This is no time for supine opposition in the Makana Council. Things are rapidly getting worse, not better:
- It is not normal to have rapidly escalating unemployment, as much as 70%.
- It is not normal to have frequent water outages and pipe bursts.
- It is not normal for most streets to be riddled with potholes.
- It is not normal for sewers to flow like rivers.
- It is not normal for large parts of a city to look like a trash heap.
- It is not normal for road upgrades to grind to a halt as soon as the pressure is off the government to perform.
- It is not normal for an Eskom debt payment plan to be abandoned at the last payment, with the Eskom debt since ballooning to R39-million.
- It is not normal for a senior manager to be murdered for exposing crimes.
A question no one is asking: why did Jeff Budaza need to be a whistleblower? Shouldn’t his director and the municipal manager have acted on any criminality he uncovered? If they did not, they were complicit.
That takes me to the extremely dodgy appointment of a new Chief Financial Officer, a crony of the MM, who has been charged with corruption. Placing this item before Council at the last minute is absolutely classical ambush tactics.
With this background in mind, I reflect on the Special Council Meeting that approved the Integrated Development Plan. An IDP is meant to reflect a new council, with a plan for the next five years to be refined over the lifetime of the Council. Yet this IDP is a cut-and-paste job, mainly derived from previous failed IDPs. It is as if we did not have a new council, radically different in composition from the previous Council, reflecting anger at past failures.
The ANC was returned with a paper-thin majority of less than 1%. If they lost one by-election, they would lose their majority. While they have a mandate to govern, it is a very narrow mandate that could vanish overnight.
In these circumstances, they have even less right to the arrogance of power than when their majority was 60%-plus.
Yet, at the Special Council Meeting, there was no reflection on whether this IDP was fit for purpose. Some councillors raised errors to correct, and a few asked polite questions.
This for an IDP that would be unprofessional and shoddy even if the past IDP had not been a failure.
Then an ANC councillor proposed adoption (as you would expect), and DA councillor Brian Jackson seconded that.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, DA councillor Xolani Madyo proposed making acting MPAC chair Jezi permanent. The Municipal Public Accounts Committee is one of the most important council committees, and it is an issue that the originally elected chair stepped down and was not immediately replaced. But for once, the Speaker was correct. Electing the MPAC chair should go before Council and be adequately debated. Why is a DA councillor proposing a shortcut for such an important matter?
MCF went into this election with two slogans: “Dissolve corruption!” and “Zizojika izinto!” MCF was founded because residents were disgusted with corruption and service delivery failure. We won 18.1% of the vote based on that disgust and our promise to be different. We did not get a mandate to be a mini-ANC and not oppose anything.
I invite residents to read our manifesto. It was based on inputs from all our ward campaigns, with a separate list of priorities for each ward and an overarching manifesto for the Makana-wide issues. Our top issues were:
- rebuilding our city from the ruins of corruption
- bad governance
- incompetent officials
- nepotism and jobs for friends and politically connected
- infrastructure decay
- paralysis by ANC internal rot
- service delivery collapse
- crisis of waste and quality deficiency of leadership
- crisis of water
- sewerage spillages
- rising unemployment.
Most of this list is nowhere to be found in the IDP – particularly the issues of leadership deficiency. There is much more than this; the manifesto represents our commitment to you, and you should hold MCF to it.
The lawfully-elected MCF councillors, Lungile Mxube, Philip Machanick, Jane Bradshaw, Kungeka Mashiane and Jonathan Walton, remain committed to the manifesto and its core values of honesty, integrity, transparency, and we remain opposed to racial polarisation and gender inequality.
Our manifesto can be found here https://makana-citizens-front.org.za/sitepad-data/uploads/2021/10/MCF-MANIFESTO-2021-final.pdf