The key political mandate of the ANC in Legislatures and Governance is to advance the national democratic revolution, building a developmental state in pursuit of our vision of a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society.
The preparations for the 52nd National Conference were informed by a discussion document, which outlined a strategic approach in dealing with matters of Legislatures and Governance from 2007 to 2012. The objective of that paper was to provide enduring and useful guidance for the ANC as a whole, but in particular for those cadres deployed to government and the legislatures whose responsibility it is to implement ANC policy.
Since the NGC is a mid-term review the discussion document on Legislatures and Governance anchors itself on the four attributes of a developmental state:
Its strategic orientation that is people-centred and people driven change;
its capacity to lead in defining a common national agenda;
its organisational capacity that its structures and systems facilitate the realisation of a set agenda; and
its technical capacity to translate broad objectives into programmes and projects.
Progress since Polokwane:
At Polokwane in December 2007 discussions revolved around: the nature of our electoral system; floor crossing; the single public service; transformation of the judiciary; a review of provincial and local government; and ethics and integrity. In addition there were four other key issues referred to the incoming NEC for processing.
The progress report to the NGC submitted in June 2010 reflects that substantial progress has been made since Polokwane and that a number of our resolutions have in fact either been completed or are in process given the complexity of some of the resolutions. Our achievements since Polokwane include:
The development of a clear programme of action to implement both Polokwane decisions and post Polokwane NEC decisions.
Ensuring the political efficiency and effectiveness of the political governance arm of the NEC, the sub committee on Legislatures and Governance, which included refining its role and scope.
Preparing for the National General Council through discussion documents that both reflect progress but equally raise questions derived out of the experiences over the past two and half years and crafting recommendations to the NGC.
This has meant among many other activities:
political assessment of the state of local government;
transformation of legislative institutions (which remains an ongoing process);
review of the report and recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee into Chapter 9 and associated institutions;
legislation that abolished “floor crossing”.
The NGC informed by the above noted as follows on current and urgent challenges:
Cadre Development in the Public Service and Local Government
Cadre development for all spheres of government and organs of the state must be enhanced by a broader approach, which includes political education, training in ethics and training on the constitution and relevant legislation.
Cadre development must be informed by the ANC principles and norms enshrined in Political Education.
That a targeted cadre development programme should aim at building minimum standards for deployment in government structures.
There is need for assessment of Ward Committees along with an assessment of community development workers.
On the local government turnaround strategy the NGC further instructed the NEC sub-committee to apply its mind to the strategy and ensure that the constitutional structures of the ANC are fully conversant with its recommendations.
To ensure service delivery and sustainable municipalities, the executive system chosen by municipalities must reflect the will of the voters. The NEC sub-committee must ensure necessary mechanisms and guidelines to give effect to this principle.
The separation of powers at local government level must be implemented, in particular the strengthening of the legislative function to ensure effective oversight. This matter should form part of the Local Government Review Summit.
Where there is national intervention in a municipality, there must be due process in respect of the constitution, appropriate legislation, and the involvement of the MEC. No intervention should take place without consultation.
The NEC must review the current interventions and consider their implications for the next local government elections.
With regards the Parliamentary Constituency Offices (PCOs) there is a need to review structures of the PCOs to enhance the one-stop model. The location of public representatives at different PCOs needs to be reviewed and streamlined instead of creating new structures.
Capacitating of both human and technical capacity needs to be addressed.
The NGC supports the formation of an Integrity Commission to ensure a coordinated approach in dealing with ethical conduct and corruption in all spheres of government.
It is necessary to enhance the gendering of programmes across local government and in national departments whilst at the same time involving key stakeholders.
Convening the Summit of Provincial and Local Government
There is an urgent need for the implementation of the Polokwane resolution on the Review of Provincial and Local Government and in particular the implementation of a summit as part of the process in the development of a White Paper on Provincial Government and to review the Local Government White Paper.
The Municipal Systems Administration Bill and all key legislation affecting local government must be presented to the summit.
The Summit will be held within three months of the NGC. A discussion document must be prepared for the summit and circulated to ANC structures. The ANC structures and alliance partners must be properly represented and ensure quality inputs to the summit.
On demarcation boundary disputes it was acknowledged that there are processes in place and procedures that need to be followed in resolving these disputes. The NEC is urged to speed up the finalisation of these matters.
The Commission expressed unhappiness with the Municipal Demarcation Board. Further, the Demarcation Board must be informed by a principled approach on demarcation, which takes into account not just a numbers ratio approach but a philosophical appreciation of what underpins the human settlements approach.
The role, functions and location of the Demarcation Board must be reviewed.
Service delivery audits must be done in all three spheres of government. This must be completed before the elections
Programmatic issues and recommendations towards 2012
Single Public Service
There is support for the continuing process.
There is an urgent need for a review of local government legislation. This would entail a comprehensive review of local government legislation, specifically the Municipal Systems Act, Municipal Structures Acts and the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA).
On the two tier system of local government there were views expressed for and against. This will further be discussed at the summit. It was agreed that criteria must be developed, informed by an integrated approach; redistribution; access to services; and an approach to shared services. These criteria should inform the configuration of a new structure of local government. Further this process needs to be linked to the future of provinces.
There is an urgent need to review the current funding model of local government. This would include a review of the equitable share formula with the poverty index being used rather than outdated population figures.
That the entire intergovernmental fiscal relations need to be reviewed. This would include conducting an impact assessment of the abolition of the Regional Services Council (RSC) levy and its consequence on the ability of district municipalities to deliver on their mandate. Further, the Municipal Infrastructure Grant must form part of this review.
Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) must include the financial implications of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Provincial and National government must play a meaningful role in informing the IDPs.
With regard to working relations at local government level, there was consensus that these working relations must be harmonised, in particular between Chief Whips, Municipal Mayors and Speakers.
The Proportional Representation (PR) system must be retained. Public opinion can be sought but within the context of an ANC process. Further, that leadership and local government experience are essential criteria in determining who is elected.
There was consensus that the ANC at its next Policy Conference moves toward a retention policy, with respect to councilors, to ensure continuity and institutional memory.
There was strong consensus on the need for full time councilors.
Migration issues must be taken into account when planning at local government level. This would include implications on provincial and local government finances and human settlements.
We should support and promote cooperatives as primary sources of employment and producers of goods and services, and an integral part of local economic development.
Political office and senior management positions in government
The NGC agreed as a matter of principle that political office bearers in the ANC should not hold senior management positions in any sphere of government. This principle must ensure no contradictions of accountability nor conflicts of interest.
On the future of provinces it was resolved that there is a need for a deeper analysis and examination of the balance of evidence before any final decision be taken. Views within the Commission were expressed on doing away with provinces but in a phased approach.
The relationship of the future of the two tier system of local government must be linked to future reconfiguration of the provinces.
The role of the SA Local Government Association (SALGA) in the National Council of Provinces must change with SALGA receiving full voting rights
All Bills of strategic importance must go before the relevant NEC sub-committee for processing prior to them being submitted in Parliament. The same principle applies for provincial legislatures and PECs.
2011 Local Government Elections
There is need for deployment from national structures to particular provinces backed with resources. The resources for local government elections must be made available as a matter of urgency.
The tasks in Phase 1 and 2 of the presentation were endorsed.
The 2006 local government elections reflected over 30% of youth not registered to vote. The ANC branches must attend to this as a matter of urgency. A dedicated registration campaign with targets must be set.
Know your neighbourhood campaign
Conceptually the role of the ANC must be expanded way beyond the confines of ANC government. As a liberation movement the role of the ANC outside of government is to reintroduce the “Know your neighbourhood campaign” especially in the rural areas
Simultaneous elections for all three spheres of government
The Commission agreed that we should towards holding national, provincial and local government elections at the same time. This must not be based only upon financial considerations, but rather political considerations. A broader perspective needs to underpin the approach.
43.The ANC undertake research into the likely impact of simultaneous elections.
There needs to be guidelines laid down by the ANC on participation in coalition governments and the framework that will govern this.
On electricity distribution at local government level, the Regional Electricity Distributors (REDS) must be relocated under the municipalities. Electricity infrastructure funding must follow the relocation of function.