ANC mismanagement harms cities – communities must strive for DIY solutions

The civil rights organisation AfriForum says that the ANC’s mismanagement has brought cities to the brink of collapse and that communities and community institutions must help repair their cities themselves.

Nhlanhla Nene, Minister of Finance, on 9 April personally admitted that many South African cities are on the brink of failure due to sluggish economic growth and mismanagement. Zweli Mkhize, Minister of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), also recently said that only 7% of municipalities are functioning properly.

“Nene, however, fails to point out that his own party – the ANC – is responsible for this although they are not currently in power in big cities such as Johannesburg and Pretoria. Coalition governments in control of these cities have inherited enormous backlogs and corruption after more than 20 years of continued and intentional ANC mismanagement. The sluggish economic growth is also largely attributed to the ANC-controlled national government’s mismanagement,” says Dr Eugene Brink, Strategic Advisor for Community Affairs at AfriForum.

According to Brink it is possible that the ANC will regain control of various cities, which are currently in the power of highly unstable coalitions, in the foreseeable future.

“The ANC has wind in its sails again with Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa at the helm and the party is positioned well to win back millions of urban voters who did not go to the voting polls in 2016. It also seems that the EFF would rather forge coalitions with the ANC than with the DA. This will harm good governance even further, because these parties have the same destructive ideologies of, among others, cadre deployment.”

Brink says although cooperation with the state regarding service delivery and management issues is desirable and must be pursued, it is oftentimes not possible.

“Communities and civil institutions will eventually have to find DIY solutions for problems in their neighbourhoods and municipalities, because the state often does not have the ability or will to do this. AfriForum’s many successes in this field shows, for example, that community power is stronger than state power,” Brink concludes.

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