Challenges presented by change in power in muncipalities and metros

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Whenever new political leadership takes over in a municipality, citizens are warned that there could be delays or disruptions as power changes hands. Independent Analyst, Dr Dale Mckinley, says in some instances, the incoming administration could have new people who have no previous experience and may need time to learn the ropes.

Another challenge may be blockages and barriers put in place by the previous administration. When the dust settles from the local government elections, power will change hands in some municipalities and metros.

In some instances, the changes in political leadership may present disruptions or delays in service delivery. Especially in cases where the new administration familiarises itself with the business of running a local government.

McKinley says in some instances, lack of experience may create challenges for the incoming administration, while in other scenarios, it may be that the outgoing guard is unwilling to let go.

“We can already see in the City of Johannesburg where I  live when there was a change from the ANC to the DA and back again, you saw quite a number of problems with regards to service delivery because as we know at a local government level there are all sorts of tenders. There are all sorts of business relationships that have to be changed, guys bringing in their own people and their own companies, the answer is, yes, absolutely it will definitely have whether is positive or negative, will be up to the political party and the implementation of their policies. I certainly think there will be a delay and there could be some disruption in the handovers,” says McKinley.

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While council resolutions that were taken by the previous council are binding – parties may choose not to prioritise or implement them as they may not align with their manifestos.

“Parties have their own interests, they may not pursue these things, they might decide for instance to bring in new guys and with new guys, things take time to be implemented so in terms of the system, it is meant to be permanent to ensure continuity, but the new guys depending on their interest and other things might prioritise some things over others,” says University of Johannesburg Professor Mcebisi Ndletyana.

Acting chief of staff at the City of Tswane, Jordan Griffiths, says officials who are not political will guide political administrators in terms of key decisions that need to be taken to facilitate the flow of business in the city and support them in terms of re-shaping administrative focus.

“Every Executive Mayor that is elected will likely come in with their manifesto and particular vision and immediately they would get the work of making sure that the administration aligns the goals of the administration with the political objectives of that particular political party or executive leadership and so that does take some time and that will inform the budgetary process and the next development plan,” says Griffiths.

Another complication that may arise – is that of coalition governments following the results announcement – which will mean there are two or more political interests sharing power, focusing on different outlooks.