MPs approve bill to revamp councils

2011-04-12 15:38

Cape  Town - The municipal systems amendment bill finally got the nod in the National Assembly on Tuesday, after its passage through the house was delayed in March because of a lack of a quorum.

The bill received the support of all parties in the assembly on Tuesday.

Introducing the bill for debate on March 24, acting Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nathi Mthethwa said it sends a clear signal that municipalities had to be more professional in how they did their business.

It seeks, among other things, to ensure that competent and well qualified officials are appointed to provide the best possible service to the people.

In some cases municipalities, regardless of the political party in leadership, were staffed by employees not qualified to undertake their duties.

"It is for this reason that this bill makes it mandatory for municipalities to employ appropriately qualified and competent persons.

"The days of appointing book-keepers, teachers and social scientists as CFOs (chief financial officers) are over," Mthethwa said.

"We also hear some people criticising the ruling party's approach to the employment of key staff in municipalities. They say it has brought embarrassment to our system.

"We will recognise that in some instances we have made mistakes and some employees have not discharged their duties as required. Today we make a commitment that valid cases will be addressed as part of our performance management system in municipalities, and this legislation will assist us to do this," he said.

The bill also stipulates that municipal managers and those directly reporting to them may not occupy office in any political party.

Those appointed to manage positions in a municipality should exercise their responsibilities without fear, favour or prejudice and their focus should always be on making the administration function better.

"Let them leave politics to councillors who are deployed by their political parties to exercise political oversight."

Mthethwa said everyone would agree corruption is an enemy of development, as well as endeavours to eradicate poverty and unemployment.

"We are tackling this head-on (in the bill). We have taken a major step by regulating the re-employment of employees dismissed for serious misconduct."

Those found to have defrauded the state would have no space in the local government sphere. Officials found guilty of serious misconduct, such as fraud and corruption, could not be re-employed by any municipality for 10 years, Mthethwa said.

The bill further compels organised local government to consult with the minister and fiscal and financial commission before embarking on negotiations in the collective bargaining council.

"In many instances there are consequences for the entire municipal sphere and even on the national fiscus arising from the decisions taken in the bargaining council," he said.

The bill now goes to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence.

  • pop101 - 2011-04-12 15:45

    Why not just follow the DA example.

  • JudithNkwe - 2011-04-12 15:46

    Thank goodness - may be things can now be properly regulated and administered

      Logs01 - 2011-04-12 16:52

      @JudithNkwe: This is just "window dressing" for the upcoming elections. Don't get your hopes up, you will be disappointed. The ANC break, bend and manipulate the rules and laws everyday to the benefit of only themselves. THIS WILL NOT CHANGE, regardless of new "bills" Its not worth the paper it is written on!!!!

  • maxdude - 2011-04-12 15:53

    10 years, it should be cant be re-employed for life for fraud and corruption

      thinker - 2011-04-12 16:35

      you are missing the key word "found guilty"

  • happy_queer - 2011-04-12 16:01

    A very welcome move. Let's hope they don't fine 20 other ways of getting around cadre deployment and self enrichment.

  • SimonP - 2011-04-12 16:16

    "ensure that competent and well qualified officials are appointed to provide the best possible service to the people" whaqt a novel idea lol!

  • AA - 2011-04-12 16:21

    "to ensure that competent and well qualified officials" Sorry my friend this will be impossible as you are not allowed to employ whites.

      Sizwe - 2011-04-12 23:25

      @AA. You are clearly out of touch with the current Higher Education make up of student demographics. The irony in your moniker/name is that the assumption that only whites are competent is the very reason AA exists.

  • croix - 2011-04-12 16:31

    Too little, too late - 17 years of looting, bad service and gross incompetence! Mmmmmm - Election coming? Anyone with half a brain cell could have told you that (and we DID, about ten million times!)but as Rob said in another comment: "You would rather be ruined by praise, than saved by criticism". You have to qualify as THE most short-sighted government in history.

  • Mike@CapeT - 2011-04-12 16:47

    Someone has seen the light!

  • abrham - 2011-04-12 16:51

    the horse has bolted - 90% of muncipalities are bankrupt. in most cases 50% of the populace don't pay for services. kiss my ass!

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