The chairperson of the African National Congress (ANC) in Mpumalanga, Mandla Ndlovu, has called for government and political employees to have an educational background in line with their field of work.
Ndlovu, who is also the Public Works, Roads and Transport MEC in the province, was speaking during the party's provincial lekgotla on February 12 and 13 in Mbombela.
“Resolution to the twenty-fifth National Conference on enhancing human resources says that CFOs and head of Technical Divisions should possess the required educational qualifications not an ANC membership as the highest qualification. As we are all here, we are going to resolve into deploying capable leaders; however, at the end of the day when we are in office comrades want us to use their struggle credentials and not their academic records. We must know our roles and responsibilities, which I think are huge, as those who are ready to work must be good in legislatures and debates, to be able articulate programmes of government and be good in lobbying pressure and interest groups,” he said.
The lekgotla is a forum to develop a concrete programme of action for the party, while also uplifting the ANC manifesto’s apex priorities to be incorporated and prioritised in the provincial and local government’s plans for the 2023/24 financial year.
Ndlovu said the Mpumalanga ANC Provincial Executive Committee was of the firm view that the work of the party in 2023 should grant the organisation much-needed leeway in campaigning for the 2024 General Elections.
“We must ask ourselves how do we convince our people that we going to give service to the people when we are unable to exhaust our budget and forfeit allocations to other municipalities because of non-spending [and] when we are failing to meet our own targets on our departmental annual performance plans,” he said.
He revealed that as MEC he had pleaded with the departmental treasury not to redirect monetary allocations to other provinces who spend far better than his.
He pointed out the perception that while the ANC had good policies and resolutions it lacked implementation.
“In all our meetings, we resolve that we will strengthen the capacity of the State to implement our programme. The question is do we have capacity to do so. We appeared before [the Standing Committee on Public Accounts] on Friday and they raised the very same question,” he said.
Ndlovu admitted that Mpumalanga had been stagnant in providing proper roads and rail infrastructure, services which he said were essential in promoting industrialisation.
“We have been stagnated in providing these services hence we are experiencing service protests all over the province and the country at large. So many comrades want to convince us that these protests may be politically deliberated to disrupt us from delivering services to our people as that is all they are yearning for,” Ndlovu said.
He further lamented on the excessive Eskom bills that many municipalities owed, as well as the lack of maintaining rivers due to non-budgeting.
“Municipalities don’t budget for maintenance of sewage spillage and dirty rivers because their revenue is zero and their Eskom accounts are ballooning. Certain municipalities in the province are paying higher salaries than metro municipalities,” he claimed.
In his State of the Nation Address last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the decision to appoint a Minister of Electricity.
Ndlovu welcomed the announcement.
“Our coal in the province has never been this important in the energy crisis. The economic sabotage on our power stations and transmission lines – it does not matter where it comes from but has created this energy crisis. The energy transition that the world is pushing has both negative and positive aspects as so many infrastructures have been centred on coal mining. We are not in opposition to sustainable sources of energy as we are of a view that our coal powered stations cannot be done away without consideration of our people and the economy of our province,” said Ndlovu.
The province was recently taken to court by civil society groups for planning to build coal-powered plants.
According to Ndlovu, the Mpumalanga ANC is in agreement with Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe’s move to support the Just Energy Transition but stressed that its implementation should not be rushed.
“We should acknowledge that coal-powered stations are currently operating below their capacity and with new generation added to the grid, the country can have sufficient supply of electricity as loadshedding continues to cost our economy approximately R1-billion per month. In this regard, we must also consider the importance of gas and how it can go hand in hand with coal,” Ndlovu said.