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ANC reiterates call for reduction of number of provinces
12 December 2017, 6:22 PM

The African National Congress (ANC) has once again called for the establishment of a Presidential Commission to investigate the viability of the reduction of the number of provinces in the country. Since 2015 the governing party has been mulling over the reduction of provinces from the current nine to six.

However, the suggestion has been met with fierce criticism from the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), which has accused the ANC of trying to consolidate its power base where it was losing influence and voter support.

Currently the DA is a governing party in the Western Cape, and has entered into coalitions to wrestle control of key Metros of Nelson Mandela Bay in Port Elizabeth, and Johannesburg and the capital Tshwane in Gauteng province from the ANC.  Addressing the media in Johannesburg, the member of the ANC’s sub-committee on Legislature and Governance, Andre Nel, dismissed claims that the party’s move to reduce the number of provinces was opportunistic.

“What we need to get right is the configuration of powers and functions of the three spheres of government.  Are those functions not over-lapping and inhibit service delivery.  That would constitute the task of the President’s Commission to look at those matters thoroughly,” says Nel.

Meanwhile, the review of the ANC cadre deployment policy will come under scrutiny during the party’s national leadership elective conference this weekend. Opposition parties have attributed poor service delivery and the collapse of governance systems at State Owned Enterprises to the deployment of unqualified political lackeys.

ANC critics have accused the party of using its deployment policy to reward those who have political connections to the ruling elite.  Chairperson of the sub-committee on Legislation and Governance, Ayanda Dlodlo stressed that there is an urgent need to review its policy on cadre development, to ensure that people with requisite capacity are deployed to fulfill the party’s mandate in all three-spheres of government.

“On cadre deployment policy, there are several challenges of weak execution, accountability and effective governance points to the lack of and inadequacies in our cadre development policy. The thrust of the policy will be to emphasise accountability, effectiveness, support and development. ANC elected representatives and deployees must be appointed with a clear mandate to execute specific ANC policies and tasks, and as such must be held accountable. This policy must be coupled with a clear accountability framework, which applies to all cadres deployed to lead the state at its various levels.”

The ANC has also expressed concern over lack of coherence in the implementation of the governing party’s policies and legislation.  This is amid concerns that the recurring tensions and animosity amongst politicians and top civil servants were hampering delivery of basic services to the people.  Since they past twenty-years, there has been high turnover of senior government officials, as a result of alleged interference of politicians on administrative and government procurement processes.  Dlodlo, has expressed concerns over lack of proper implementation and enforcement of government policies and laws.

“There is growing evidence of weaknesses on the part of government to execute policy and legislation. This challenge is due to numerous factors, among others, the absence of accountability and consequences for non-delivery, lack of political will, weak or poor administration capacity, rather than lack of financial resources. Unfortunately this compromises the ability of the ANC government to deliver and denies our people better and quality services.”

The ANC’s weekend national conference will also examine the relationship between the party and the state. This is aimed at mitigating the negative impact of party’s ideological and factional battles spilling into government and risking the capacity of the state to serve all citizens.

‘Congregants negatively affected by Doom’: Court hears
12 December 2017, 4:32 PM

Two congregants who were sprayed with the insecticide, Doom, during a church service in Mookgophong in November 2016, say their health has been negatively affected. The pair has been testifying in the assault trial of self-proclaimed prophet, Lethebo Rabalago.

Rabalago faces five counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and two of contravening the Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act of 1947.

A 17-year-old, who cannot be named, told court that he started experiencing flu-like symptoms after being sprayed with Doom.

He told the court that he even asked to be excused from school in order to go to the clinic.

Another, witness, Thabiso Chavalala, has told the court that she immediately became dizzy after being sprayed with Doom as she had inhaled it.

Chavalala says she coughed for 7 months after being sprayed with the insecticide, adding she even requested for several tuberculosis tests which came back negative.

She says her eyes have been teary and painful since.

The trial continues.

ANC factions in Mpumalanga withdraw their case
12 December 2017, 3:44 PM

The African National Congress (ANC) factions in Mpumalanga have agreed to withdraw their case brought before the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg earlier on Tuesday.

A faction led by Mathews Phosa approached the court to nullify the nominations process of the ANC Mpumalanga Provincial General Council.

He wanted to stop the over 200 branches that nominated “unity” for the ANC’s top six positions from attending this party’s National Elective Conference in Johannesburg this weekend.

However, his lawyer Advocate Dali Mpofu says both parties have since agreed to settle the matter out of court.

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Liquor outlets in Gauteng won’t extend hours during ANC conference
12 December 2017, 2:35 PM

The Gauteng government says it will not grant any liquor outlets or alcohol-selling venues permission to extend their trading hours to cater for the African National Congress Conference in Nasrec, Johannesburg this weekend.

It has warned any outlet that will sell liquor illegally during the duration of the conference that the law will take its course. The conference to be held at the Nasrec Expo Centre is expected attract thousands of guests and ANC members.

“We want to warn them that they must comply with their licensing conditions. Failure to do so, their licenses will be suspended. Working closely with the police, we’ll be conducting impromptu raids in some of the areas,” says Gauteng Economic Development Department spokesperson Castro Ngobese.

UN peacekeepers from Tanzania killed in DRC
9 December 2017, 9:31 AM

The United Nations (UN) say at least 12 UN peacekeepers from Tanzania have been killed in an overnight attack in the Democratic Republic of Congress’ central North Kivu province.

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