Weak leadership in the Department of Local Government has resulted in municipal managers simply ignoring a 2007 Treasury regulation that they obtain minimum qualifications within a five-year period, by 1 January 2013.
The inability by municipal managers to obtain skills and qualifications have a direct impact on the quality (or lack) of municipal services received by the citizens of this province.
The department and the citizens of this province are being held to ransom by the refusal of senior municipal managers to attain the necessary qualifications to satisfactorily perform their jobs.
Furthermore, the department has no clue of how many such managers have the required qualifications to perform their duties.
In a parliamentary question submitted to the MEC for Local Government and Traditional Affairs, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, I asked what the total number of section 54A and 56 Managers were that had the requisite qualifications to perform their jobs?
In addition I asked how many such managers had acquired these qualifications by 1 January 2013 and in which municipalities these incumbents were working.
These questions were not answered. It shows how out of touch the department is with these managers and their municipalities.
The answers received gave an alarming diatribe of the challenges the department faces in enforcing the newly enacted Municipal Systems Amendment Act no 7 of 2011.
From the reply the following emerged:
- There is reluctance by senior managers in municipalities to renew their contracts and they ignore departmental circulars in this regard;
- Municipalities are not signing or are deliberately holding back signed employment contracts for new appointments; and
- New challenges in the enactment of the Municipal Systems Amendment Act with regards to recruitment had been met with resistance by municipalities to enforce these provisions on their senior staff.
The jellyfish leadership by MEC Qoboshiyane and his department paints a clear picture that political loyalty to the governing party and cadre deployment continue to trump capability and qualification in our municipalities. Our citizens continue to be at the receiving end of shocking service delivery from ill-qualified cadres.
This weak leadership shown by the MEC and his colleagues is evidence of a lack of political will to invoke section 139 (c) of the Constitution which empowers the MEC to dissolve the councils of poorly performing municipalities.
The provincial department is too scared to face these challenges for fear of reprisals from colleagues in the ruling party.
Reluctance by the MEC and his department to dismiss poor performing staff remains a matter of great concern.
I will be taking the MEC and the department head-on over this issue during our portfolio committee budget meetings and speeches in the Legislature in June.
Our municipal leadership cannot be allowed to rule the roost with corrupt, inept and sub-standard service to the citizens of this province who pay the salaries of these officials.