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.