DA challenges ANC to public debate before local elections
The Democratic Alliance (DA) mayoral candidates in four of the country’s big cities have challenged the ANC to a public debate before the local government elections on August 3.
Addressing the media in Johannesburg yesterday, Herman Mashaba for the City of Johannesburg, Solly Msimanga for the City of Tshwane, Ghaleb Cachalia for Ekurhuleni and Athol Trollip for Nelson Mandela Bay, vowed to topple the ANC in all these metros, saying the governing party has failed to deliver much-needed services.
The ambitious DA says it wants the ANC to announce its mayoral candidates and be open to debate on governance before the elections. On Tuesday, the ANC said it would announce its mayoral candidates in strategic municipalities in two weeks time.
The ANC has seen its grip on the metros decline over the past few years. It managed to secure just over 50% of the total votes in Tshwane, Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay in the 2011 local elections.
The official opposition said it was unacceptable that cities run by the ANC have collectively wasted almost R20-billion in unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure since 2011.
In contrast, the DA said, the City of Cape Town, which is under its control, only lost R1.4-million over the same period.
The DA believes the ANC has not revealed its mayoral candidates because it wants to shield them from the public scrutiny and having to answer questions about financial mismanagement in the cities the ruling party governs.
“The voters of South Africa deserve to know who the ANC’s mayoral candidates are, and who in the ANC will take responsibility for fixing the mess they have left our cities in,” said Trollip.
Msimanga said: “The DA has a plan to turn these ANC metro financial failings around in government after the August 3 elections, and the ANC must reveal its candidates to debate these plans.”
The DA’s 15-point plan includes:
- An immediate ban on all office bearers, councillors and their families from doing business or getting contracts from the metros;
- Filling critical vacant positions; and
- Reforming the service tariffs structures so that the poor will benefit from more free basic services.
Not all ANC-controlled metropolitans have performed badly. Rating agency Moody’s recently upgraded the credit ratings of the cities of Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg. Ekurhuleni’s four-notch upgrade is the highest investment grade by Moody’s Investor Services, implying that the city had an “extremely strong” capacity to meet its financial commitments. The City of Johannesburg received a global scale rating of Baa2, the highest possible rating that can be achieved by institutions for credit quality.
Auditor general Miki Makwetu is expected to release the financial performance of municipalities for the previous financial year on Wednesday.