For any meaningful service delivery to take place we need a breed of administrators that are creative, developmental orientated, inspired and supported by strategic thinking and class conscious political leadership. Particularly those that are at the helm of council executive and in other spheres of government.
Similarly for the same to effectively and meaningfully take place will be when political and administrative leadership realize that household and communities constituting this Metro are not immune from the triple societal ills of poverty, unemployment and inequality which is among the key challenges facing the formerly disadvantaged people and communities of the NMB Metro.
To this end the kind of administrators required are those that realize that the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is a developmental Metro and therefore cannot unleash its developmental plans and programs in a monotonous manner or a typical municipal manner by only focusing on the provision of water and sanitation, roads maintenance, fire and disaster management, roads construction and maintenance.
Whilst it is true that aggrieved communities continue to express themselves around the indicated services, including the need for houses and other community amenities. Often politicians and administrators ignore the associated facts around service delivery unrest which comprise the underlying challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
This then poses a challenge to politicians and administrators for a paradigm shift in planning so that you have service delivery plans of departments and directorates being crafted in a manner that also respond to the indicated triple socio-economic challenges. Therefore this implies that whilst we are already in the first quarter of the municipal financial year, an vigorous and uncompromising paradigm shift is required in terms of reviewing the implementation plans to include a social component.
Similarly that paradigm shift will be incomplete for as long as there is no systematic and concrete integrated plan that talks to sector or other sphere departments plans in ensuring that delivery needs relevant to their competencies are addressed. However for some unexplained reasons there are still no indicated concrete plans to respond to this service delivery challenge except that municipalities continue to be owed huge sums of money by provincial government – a matter that in itself defeats the cooperative governance and as a consequence compromises service delivery to the deserving people of this NMB Metro.
As pioneers of the soon to be hosted service delivery summit which has been embraced by the Metro Municipality, we remain convinced that it is through reciprocating the indicated gaps and mishap that meaningful and effective service delivery can be enhanced. Indeed over and above reciprocating the indicated mishap, there are also certain pre-determinants that have to be observed or complied with to ensure that efforts of state to deliver are supported or enabled viz:
- Through which the local state is transformed in terms of which it ensures that it employs and/or engages such senior personnel that have among other qualifications and attributes a developmental competence, so that we have a breed of officials that are able to mobilize and maneuver resource to meet developmental needs,
- The appointed or deployed line politicians are able to discharge and provide effective oversight to their line departments/directorates as opposed to what is being experienced now when we have some line portfolio councilors that appear to be pay-cheque collectors,
- A municipality that is able to utilize its public participation and conduct its constituent service and processes on a consistent basis, so that through those processes it is able to dispel certain distortion about its mandates and programs,
- So that also it should be compulsory that ward councilors are compelled to convene sessions that are utilised as platforms for a community profile survey, so that going into IDP/BUDGET 2013/14 we do experience a recycling of the IDP. This approach will help to address and or minimize the service delivery unrest as communities would have been appraised of the extent to which their submission or needs would be attended,
- Installation of ward developmental forums and for the relevant office to ensure effective utilization of Community Development Officers, who are supposed to be a conduit for developmental needs so that when they are effective they are able to sense issues of aggrieved communities,
- Through active civil society organs, able to attend council and standing committee meetings to monitor proceedings in these meetings, literally keeping our politicians under constant check when they deliberate on issues that matter most to the communities,
Like the saying goes for this NMB Metro to discharge on its constitutional mandate and live up to its status of being a developmental local state, it requires an active and organized civil society which is able to work with all other organs to bring about some normality during the recent political anarchy. The underlying factor contributing to the recent political anarchy and to the laxity in state happened because civil society abdicated its responsibility to politicians whose credibility is now dented. It is then important that those who have not joined processes of reviving the non-state or civil society forums do so as the benefit associated with a strong civil society is what is required by our communities, whose gains will not be subjected to anti-social and economic development forces born-out of the ugly neo-liberal system,
And to conclude it is my view that political instability was and still is a factor that deters state ability to discharge its role of delivering to the citizen, however it is not the reason for monotonous and ill-advise planning and non-cooperation between spheres of governance. It is against this background that a challenge has to be posed at the desk of the Executive Mayor and Municipal Manager to exercise their fiduciary and executive duties so that the Executive Mayor working with his leadership collective deal with those that fail the electorate and for the Municipal Manager to harshly deal with those that fail to execute their duties of implementing change programs to the communities of this NMB Metro.
Hence the call is also made to organized and unorganized formations to rise to the occasion so that political instability is not used as an excuse by some incompetent and lazy politicians and officials.
Mongameli “Monga” Peter
Convener of SANGOCO Led Civil Society Formations
Article source: http://mype.co.za/new/2012/10/service-delivery-in-the-metro/