Political accountability SA's real challenge, says analyst

Political accountability and effective governance will be South Africa’s real challenges over the next few years, political analyst Steven Friedman told Free State farmers on Wednesday.

Friedman said that, due to the global economic situation, the government would play a far more prominent role in the economy of the country, which farmers as business people, had to accept.

“Business people, including people in agriculture, have been concerned for quiet a while about government effectiveness. however, this [government effectiveness] is going to be more important in the next few years than in the last few years.”

Friedman said organised agriculture should decide how it would make its contribution or voice heard to ensure more effective government service in the future.

He said President Jacob Zuma’s government had already shown that it would be more willing to consult and listen to groups, which would enhance effective government.

Friedman said that politically South Africa needed more accountability.

“Elected politician or senior officials must know people are looking over their shoulders.

“They should know that if they take the wrong decision or do not perform as citizens feel they should, there would be consequences.”

Friedman said if for some reason decision-makers do not believe there would be consequences, there would not be performances to the extent the country needed.

He said recent so-called service delivery protests in the country were not about services, but rather a protest against leaders who were “not listening”.

“In many cases, it’s not about the lack of services, but rather communities do not want the services dumped on them.”

Friedman said the country was not heading for a political “utopia” under Zuma, because there were still worrying signs.

“However, we are seeing two things that may create opportunities for business and other interests groups which are—greater dialogue with government and secondly politicians are starting to notice grassroots messages [protests],” he said.—Sapa


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